For decades scientists have searched for the causes of acne. Now, for the first time, a dramatic picture is emerging showing that milk is a major cause of acne. An article by Sanjida O’Connell (How a Pinta Causes Pimples, The Independent, May 8th, 2007, USA) shows graphically how milk causes acne.
In the article, O’Connell explains that Julianne has never suffered from spots as a teenager, but by the time she was 28 she had terrible cystic acne along her jawline and across her neck. An American, she had travelled to Europe to learn to become a cook.
She decided that on her return to the States she would open a deli as well as a restaurant. So before she returned Julianne toured Europe, sampling just about every cheese she could find. As she recounted this to the dermatologist Bill Danby, something clicked: “Oh my God, it’s the cheese,” she realized with horror. For the next six months, she cut out all dairy products. During that time she became 85 per cent free of acne, and her skin has now cleared up.
According to Danby, a skin expert, “The ability to develop acne is partly genetic and partly the result of hormone exposure [e.g. hormones from dairy milk]. I tell my female patients that genetics are the key to the fact that Paris Hilton has lots of money and no zits and my patients have lots of zits and no money.”
In teenagers acne peaks at between 16 and 18, although it can affect anyone at any age. Up to 98 per cent of people in Western countries are affected. A clear link between acne and dairy milk has been noted by researchers because acne is much higher in parts of the world that consume more milk. Acne makes the skin sore and uncomfortable, and is socially excruciating – $5 billion is spent worldwide each year treating it.
This is how milk causes acne: hormones in dairy milk stimulate the glands of hair follicles, making them secrete more sebum than they normally would. As a consequence, hair follicles stick together and form a plug in the pore of the skin – the first visible sign of acne. As the plug ‘pinches’ the sebum canal it prevents the free-flow of sebum to the skin. The result is acne.
Milk is full of hormones: not only ones intended to help the calf grow, but also those produced by the placenta to aid the cow’s pregnancy. Another worrying hormone, as far as acne is concerned, is IGF-1. Both humans and cows make IGF-1 in their bodies. This hormone peaks at age 15 in girls and 18 in boys, coinciding with peak acne levels.
It is thought that IGF-1 works with testosterone and DHT to cause acne. It is heavily present in all types of dairy milk: nonorganic, organic, raw or pasteurized. By consuming any kind of cow’s milk, this greatly increases the amount of IGF-1, and this in turn causes acne.
The evidence that cow’s milk is one of the biggest causes of acne is confirmed by several studies. For example, Dr Walter Willett led a team of researches at the Boston Harvard School of Public Health in a study of 47,000 women. The women were part of the ‘Nurses Health Study II’ (a major well-publicized project).
As part of the study, 47,000 women were required to complete questionnaires concerning their diet as teenagers, and to indicate whether they ever had severe acne. The study found no links between foods such as potato chips or chocolate and acne, but they did find a strong link between women who had acne and those who had regularly consumed milk.
Other research clearly confirms this:
* IGF-1 [in milk] contributes to the increase in sebum production during puberty.
* About 80% of [dairy] cows are throwing off hormones continuously [milk is] implicated as a factor in the development of acne teenage acne patients improved as soon as milk drinking stopped. (Frank Oski, M.D., Don’t Drink Your Milk, Teach Services, Inc).
* About 80% of cows that are giving milk are pregnant and are throwing off hormones continuouslyDr. Jerome has found that acne improved as soon as the teenagers stopped drinking milk. (George J. Georgiou, Ph.D., Clinical Nutritionist, Milk – A Recipe for Disease, Nov. 2002, worldwidehealthcenter.net).
There is, of course, a simple solution to help prevent acne: switch to non-dairy milk. You can buy commercial non-dairy milk such as soy and rice milk in some supermarkets. Better still, make your own non-dairy milk. When made correctly home made milk is super-nutritious and truly delicious, and of course, it does not cause acne.