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Got Acne? Limit your Dairy Foods Intake

Many experts estimate that Acne affects 85% of Americans making it the most common skin disorder in the United States. While it mostly affects teenagers, unfortunately, Acne can carry through to adulthood as well causing self esteem issues for anyone who has this particular affliction. With so many remedies available, what is an Acne sufferer to do? Dermatologists believe what largely determines whether a person develops acne are genetics and hormonal fluctuations, thus the tendency for it to occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Many folks believe that another contributing factor is chocolate and/or greasy foods, but dermatologists are not quite sure yet. Continued research has now revealed there is one food group that has now been shown to contribute to higher outbreaks. The food group is dairy products.

That's right, got milk? A study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology by a team at Harvard suggests that a diet high in dairy products can increase your likelihood of Acne. The researchers analyzed the habits and diets of nearly 50,000 people, looking especially at what they ate while in high school. Those who drank three or more cups of milk a day, the study found, were 22 percent more likely to experience severe acne compared with those who drank one serving a week or less. Skim milk had the greatest effect. Cream cheese and cottage cheese were also associated with outbreaks, while chocolate and greasy foods were not.

The researchers attributed the effect to hormones in milk; other studies have had similar findings. It is interesting to note the wide range of intake of dairy products for this study. Students who drank three cups of milk a day vs. those who drank one serving a week were the ones who were 22% more likely to experience severe acne. That is a huge difference in daily intake. Those in that group suffered “severe” acne. As you know, each person reacts to a specific food or medication differently. Taking this study into consideration, it proves that diet can have an impact on your acne breakouts. While dermatologists are in disagreement about chocolate and greasy foods, my own personal experience suggested that they did indeed impact my outbreaks. As an Acne sufferer, you need to monitor your diet to test if certain foods are contributing to your outbreaks.

Our diets and the foods we eat are significantly different that what we ate 25, 50 or 100 years ago. It is very likely that these changes have contributed to such a high percentage of the population suffering from Acne at some point in their life. So how can you tell which foods are causing your Acne outbreaks? Start keeping a log of the foods you eat and when Acne outbreaks occur. While this may sound simple enough, it will require some diligence on your part to truly keep an accurate log. Pay special attention to foods that are not natural. For example, it is unlikely carrot sticks will cause an outbreak, but that big bag of Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles might. I know from my own experience, it seemed like anytime I ate a chocolate bar, I had an outbreak within 1-2 days. When keeping your logs, pay close attention to these patterns. If you are a heavy consumer of dairy products, you may want to pay special attention to your intake in this area and modify your diet accordingly. Make sure to pay special attention to what nutrients you might be losing if you cut back on milk, such as calcium and vitamin D.

As always, consult your doctor and/or dermatologist if your problem persists.


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