Dairy is a bit of a hot topic when it comes to your skin. 

Some would say dairy is bad for the skin and some would say dairy makes no difference.

Well, which one is it? What is best for you?

Let me share my story - 

Since changing my diet a few years back, my skin has never been better.
 Part of this has been giving up dairy... I now opt for delicious plant-based alternatives such as almond, oat and coconut milk. I also avoid gluten and opt for more real food.

Today though, we're just looking at dairy. 

Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter have long been staples in many diets across the globe. Annnd, the age-old story is that we should have two to three servings of dairy a day as part of a balanced diet. Some dairy products contain essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and protein, which contribute to overall health. However, some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that dairy consumption might influence skin health in various ways.

As time has gone on though I think it's really important to mention that, good old fashioned 'dairy milk' from our 'dairy cows' is not what it used to be. A far cry from our happy dairy cows living on (and munching on) the pastures of family farms, our cows are now given increasingly high amounts of grains, growth hormones and antibiotics. 

These hormones and antibiotics have been proven to move through the food chain into our bloodstream. 

I am not here to tell everyone to give up dairy – I still sneak the odd square of chocolate, I'm only human! 

What I'd like to do though, is explore the ways that dairy relates to the skin, so that you can decide what is right for you. 
Ok, let’s get to it.

Acne
Dairy for some people can be quite inflammatory, anybody with an intolerance or unexplained symptoms such as inflamed acne, may want to consider the effect dairy may be having. When the body is in a state of inflammation, its ability to naturally heal itself is compromised, meaning it can slow down the healing on your skin as well. This is attributed to the hormones found in milk, which can stimulate oil production and inflammation, leading to clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Eczema
Casein, a protein found in cow's milk, can be a trigger for eczema. Switching to a non-dairy alternative can reduce the severity of eczema flare ups for some people.

Ageing
Digestive enzymes found in dairy are destroyed during the pasteurization process which decreases the body's ability to absorb all of the nutrients properly. This can lead to digestive trouble and can contribute to skin breakdown, including our collagen stores. Switching to a non-dairy alternative can help improve your skin. As we know, our skin often reflects what's happening on the inside.

Food sensitivities
Food sensitivities (not just limited to dairy) can show on your skin in the form of acne, rashes and or rosacea. If you have a persistent skin issue, consider seeing your health care professional about your diet, before resorting to skin medications. The problem could be right in front of you.

Diary and dairy
I have lost count the amount of times that I have mistyped dairy while writing this, and typing diary instead. Ha! It got me thinking though – a diary might just be of help to you! If you suspect that dairy may be part of your skincare challenges, I encourage you to keep a food diary as these can be very helpful when looking for patterns between the skin and your diet.

If you are experiencing any of the above skin concerns, this does not mean giving up dairy will be your cure-all, it could simply be ONE piece of the puzzle. 

The relationship between dairy and skin health is intricate and varies from person to person. While some individuals might experience improved skin by reducing dairy consumption, others may not notice any significant changes. It's crucial to strike a balance between the potential benefits and downsides of dairy consumption, considering your individual needs and preferences.

If you decide to reduce your dairy intake, please do so with the help of your healthcare professional and be sure to increase other vitamin and mineral sources in your diet!

Written by: Anne Marshall
 
Written by Anne Marshall

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