Do dairy foods cause or worsen acne?

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Acne is frequently associated with dairy consumption, although there have been conflicting findings in studies. The largest meta-analysis involving 80,000 young people revealed that consuming any dairy product, regardless of its fat content, is associated with a higher risk of developing it.

However, full-fat dairy appears to be less likely to cause it than low or nonfat dairy. Another meta-analysis found that all types of milk are connected to that, but cheese and yogurt consumption did not have any significant association with that, unlike the previous study.

The reasons behind dairy causing or worsening are still uncertain, but there are a few theories. One of them is that dairy cows are often injected with growth hormones, and pregnant ones can pass hormones, such as estrogen, into their milk supply.

These hormones may affect the body’s hormones and potentially trigger acne. Some studies suggest that the saturated fat and hormones in cow’s milk may cause inflammation in the body, leading to acne. Additionally, some individuals may struggle to digest lactose and casein present in milk, which could also contribute to inflammation and acne, an inflammatory skin condition.

Dairy consumption may also elevate insulin levels and contribute to insulin-like growth factor (IGF), linked to acne. However, it is important to note that the correlation between dairy and acne is not yet entirely established, and further research is required to confirm this.

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