Milk and Spots Update

milk pustules

There was really a very impressive response to my post last weekend about milk and spots. If you didn’t read it, then I can sum it up quickly for you (or click here to read the full post): I realised that my breakout problem had completely cleared up at the same time that I stopped drinking so much milk. I had been drinking a half pint every day either on cereal or mixed into my porridge, but from mid-December I stopped. Not on purpose, just by fluke. It wasn’t until recently that I made the connection, and so I wrote about it to see if anyone else had experienced something similar.

Well it certainly seems like lots of you have – I was honestly quite taken aback when I read the comments! There were over 100 of them at last count and they are still trickling in, so I thought that the best thing to do would be to write an update post (this one) rather than repeat myself in answering everyone individually. I hope that’s OK – I also wanted to address a few quibbles and issues that seem to have popped up as a result of my post. So here goes.

1) Yes, the above photo is a picture of milk bottle sweets that have had rudimentary acne spots photoshopped onto them. It’s quite a gross concept…  But just look at those rhubarb-and-custard colours! I’m a creative soul when I put my mind to it, I tell you. Some might say “insane” – I say talented. Move over, Van Gogh, move over.

2) On a more serious note, I’d like to say this: I’m in no way asserting that there’s a link between dairy and acne. I have no real scientific proof whatsoever, and acne is a complicated and temperamental old beast. It can be caused by a whole host of things. What I do know is that when I stop drinking milk, my breakouts clear up. Last week in Paris I had cream (and about seventeen kilos of cheese) and guess what? Whopping great cyst-like spot on my cheek. I just don’t think that it’s coincidence. But although I am convinced that milk is a trigger for me, it might not be for anyone else – it’s a personal thing and I’m by no means trying to scare people off dairy or suggest that they don’t drink milk!

3) I think that it is only really milk, the liquid white stuff I pour on my cereal and use to make porridge, that causes the breakouts with me. Cheese and yoghurt seem to be OK in sensible amounts. I saw from reading your comments and emails that many of you think the same thing. Good to know! Thanks to Meg for offering to give suggestions on lactose-free options – I do think that I’ll take you up on that!

4) No, I don’t miss milk in my tea or coffee because I don’t drink either of them. I never have done. It’s not a lifestyle choice, I just never tried them and then got to being an adult and couldn’t be bothered! I drink the odd herbal tea, but nothing else. What I do love, however, is a hot chocolate. I bloody love it. Apparently it’s good with hazlenut milk and I shall be trying that shortly! (Occasional treat, not daily habit.)

5) I had thought that my spots were stress-related and to a certain extent, I don’t think that my stress levels were helping the matter. I’ve no doubt that it was probably a combination of lots of things, but – see above for latest milk/spots evidence. I’m back to working my usual 700-hour weeks and trying to do everything at once and my skin has stayed very clear apart from last week’s little blip.

6) Skincare routine: I have been using the new Alpha-H Rejuvenating Cream every other night, alternated with La Roche-Posay’s Resurfacing Serum to try and fade the marks left by the deeper spots. Both are brilliant – I have tested them separately, too, for three weeks each, but I’ll do some reviews very soon with more details.

Please do continue to comment and share – I find it all fascinating, and it’s good to get different opinions on the matter. Thanks so much for all of the feedback on this, it’s quite valuable to me if not anybody else!

(Image from – ironically, for a skincare post – ““. Bastardized, obviously, but still. Credit where credit’s due and all that!)

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  1. ClareFin
    February 8, 2013 / 6:42 am

    Thanks for the update. There is one acne-related topic that I would love you to cover – pregnancy acne. It has happened to me (leaving me with worse skin then when I was a teenager) and it seems to be very common. It is so distressing and being pregnant you can’t use so many of the usual treatments (salicylic acid, BHAs). I guess this would be tough to cover unless you are pregnant, but you are so knowledgeable about skincare that I’m sure you would do a great job. And who knows, it might come in handy for your one day.

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:45 am

      You can’t use salicylic, you’re right – or retinol – but you can use glycolic. I think I touched on this with a Murad Q&A, unless it hasn’t published yet. I shall do a more in-depth one – good idea! x

  2. Grace
    February 8, 2013 / 6:44 am

    Does cream also triggers your acne or just milk?

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:44 am

      It seems that cream does, but I very rarely have it so not so much of a problem. x

  3. Lisa
    February 8, 2013 / 7:14 am

    I am so happy I don’t have this problem. I’m fully addicted to my morning latte and I’d die without cheese. I always assumed Ruth if you were having a breakout it was due to an ingredient in a certain product since you try so many for your work. But maybe there is a connection.

  4. February 8, 2013 / 8:44 am

    I can’t comment on milk & spots but what I do know is milk gives me eczema. I was diagnosed with many allergies in childhood and once they were eliminated from my diet I no longer had head to toe eczema. I’ve been dairy free for many many years. The great thing is that these days alternative milks are readily available, soya, oat, rice, coconut etc. The choice is brilliant it never was there when I was little. My soya milk was prescribed by the GP you couldn’t buy it at supermarkets. Do be aware that some hot chocolate powders do contain milk. I opt for a quick option and buy the chocolate flavoured soya or coconut milk and pop in microwave for a couple of minutes for an instant hot chocolate :)

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:44 am

      Yes, good point – though I think the one I use is just dark choc shavings. Must check. x

  5. February 8, 2013 / 8:44 am

    I didn’t realise La Roche Posay had a resurfacing serum – it looks bril. I’ve looked for it online but can’t seem to find it. Is the Derm AHA only available in the States and Canada, do you know, Ruth?

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:43 am

      Not out yet I don’t think, hence delayed review posting! I’d hate to be a tease….it is VERY good. x

  6. Marina
    February 8, 2013 / 9:15 am

    After your post I am going to try cutting out my 200ml a day, for a week. I am still having the odd bit in 1 cup of tea a day but that’s it. As well as acne I hope it will help my fatigue and PMS symptoms as I’m pretty sure it’s making those worse too. I’ve done research and drinking milk from another animal as an adult is actually quite weird when you think about it!

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:46 am

      Might take a little longer to make a difference, if it is that, but always worth a try. It’s free, at any rate, so a win-win situation! x

  7. February 8, 2013 / 9:22 am

    I’ve been staying away from dairies as well and I gotta say: I do feel better. My skin cleared up a bit (I wasn’t suffering from acne before but I had a few spots here and there..) and I feel overly better – probably also because I started eating more healthy anyway.
    I’m a huge fan of porridge in the morning and I always make it with almond milk and water, it tastes amazing, try that! Of course you can also use almond milk only, or try soy or coconut! I guarantee you, you’ll love your porridge even more ;)
    xx Leonie

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:46 am

      I hated soy, but almond is bearable! ; )

      • Leslie
        February 8, 2013 / 2:09 pm

        Ditto on the almond and coconut milk, and coconut contains a lot of potassium (bonus!) My midwife and doctors have warned against soy, as it can contain hormone disrupters (much like cow milk.)

  8. Mary
    February 8, 2013 / 9:31 am

    I had exactly the same thing – not full on acne, but at least 1-2 deep, paintful cystic spots at any one time. About 2 years ago I read about the dairy connection, gave it up and I’ve never looked back. For me, cheese and milk are the worst. So I steer clear of them as well as yogurt, butter, ice cream etc. I’ve just reintroduced milk chocolate on occasion (because black chocolate just doesn’t cut it sometimes) and all seems to be going OK. Cutting out dairy was the best thing ever for my confidence! And so easy to find alternatives these days.

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:45 am

      Thanks for that! x

  9. February 8, 2013 / 9:43 am

    First of all I have to thank you for recommending La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, it has been doing great stuff for my skin (and it has turned me to pharmacy skin care and I found a pharmacy with assistants who really know what they are doing, so a win-win-win situation all around). But as much as my skin has gone better it is still giving me a little grief around my jaw line (all month-round), and I remember that my skin does clear up considerably when I drink more tea which in my case means by extension that I’m cutting back on my milk intake. I have been contemplating to cut back on milk and see what happens and your post has nudged me over the edge :) I am also going to try almond milk as a replacement. Is it weird that I am really excited to see how this experiment turns out?
    Anyways, thank you so much for your recommendations, Ruth! Hope you’re having a lovely day :)

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 9:47 am

      Not weird at all! I love an experiment! x

  10. Annie
    February 8, 2013 / 9:57 am

    La Roche- Posay Effaclar line is a skin saver, I have the little spot treatment tube and you just put on some at night and the next morning it’s completely cleared out! I usually apply it all over my skin at night and the next morning my skin looks spot free. I have noticed too, that my skin reacts very bad to dairy in general. So I am kinda sorta trying to go dairy free whenever I can and eat as much fruit and veggies :) Milk tastes nasty anyway ha! xX

  11. AA
    February 8, 2013 / 10:24 am

    Please can you link me to the la-roche posay serum you are talking about?

  12. Lily
    February 8, 2013 / 10:27 am

    I read your post last week about this and suddenly realised I’d been eating lots of cheese that week due to staying with a friend (I never normally eat cheese) and also milk in porridge (I normally do it with water) and my skin was starting to break out. Gave it up and completely clear. Just use soya milk, it’s not a coincidence I’m sure of it, thanks for the post, would probably never have put the two and two together! Thanks Ruth, and LOVE your blog! Xxx

  13. Jess
    February 8, 2013 / 12:12 pm

    Do you know when the la roche posay serum will be out in the UK? Desperate for something to get rid of my scars! Great post!

  14. Najia
    February 8, 2013 / 12:33 pm

    What about skincare products which contain milk (such as milk cleanser)? Do you think the effect is the same as consuming milk?

  15. Nina Zieler
    February 8, 2013 / 12:53 pm

    Have you tried Kiehls Corrective dark spots solution serum? RAEview recommends it for discoloration and dark spots. I would love to hear what you think! x

  16. Joy Bryson
    February 8, 2013 / 12:54 pm

    Hey. I think I’ve commented before saying this, milk totally is a trigger for me. Whilst I still have it occasionally (and still have the occasional spot) swapping to soya milk has made the world of difference. With the amount of attention that food intolerances get now, there are plenty of versions of ‘non-milk’ to try. Personally I like Morrisons own unsweetened soya milk. Nice to see other people picking up on this though :) xx

  17. Jen
    February 8, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    Those puss-filled spots you conjured up in the article picture make me feel a bit queasy *vomits* Looking forward to the Alpha-H review.

  18. Robin
    February 8, 2013 / 1:12 pm

    Thanks for not making the illustration too graphic. also, it’s van Gogh. Being Dutch, I couldn’t let that one slip.

    • RuthCrilly
      February 8, 2013 / 8:49 pm

      What did I type?
      Oh YES! Sorry! *bad typo face*

  19. Iris
    February 8, 2013 / 1:22 pm

    I stopped drinking cow milk en began to use soya products. At the moment I use a 10-day-treatment with Vitamin C, from the Body Shop. My skin has never been clearer, softer, better.

  20. Mim
    February 8, 2013 / 1:48 pm

    Glad your skin is clearing up Ruth. Just be sure to take calcium tablets so you don’t get osteoporosis later in life.

    • Lelly
      February 22, 2013 / 4:29 pm

      Hey! There are plenty of ways of getting adequate calcium numbers without drinking dairy. In fact, milk is pretty terrible for calcium. It’s great for infants, but as we get older we need to be a bit smarter in our consumption of calcium rich products. Almonds and spinach offer a great alternative. Calcium is only readily absorbed when we couple it with vitamin D. I just trout I’d share this as I’m sure it’s something you know, but it’s an area I’ve really researched into and, being vegan, I thought I’d have trouble reaching adequate calcium levels but it appears I’m doing even better now than as a veggie. xx

      • Mim
        February 22, 2013 / 8:39 pm

        I wasn’t suggesting you HAVE to drink milk to get your daily calcium requirements; but merely pointing out that you need to look for alternatives if you’ve suddenly changed your diet.

      • rika
        August 7, 2013 / 8:40 am

        :D Im glad there are smart people out there that know the truth about dairy! *high five*

  21. Molly
    February 8, 2013 / 2:00 pm

    I saw something about acne on television and Dr Christian said that there is a link between drinking milk and getting spots… I don’t remember any of the sciencey stuff but you are right, and obviously it isn’t just you!

  22. Agata
    February 8, 2013 / 2:06 pm

    Hi Ruth, I am absolutely positive that there is a connection betweet dairy and spots, or at least for many people. My fried gave up dairy a year ago and her skin improved drammaticaly, and every time she has any dairy product a spot appears. And also, in 2 months after going dairy free she lost 6-7 kilograms of unwanted weight, and has managed to mantain it since just by non eating dairy. As for me, i don’t have particular issues with my kin, but I give up drinking milk about 8 years ago for digestion problems, so maybe this is why. Also, as for calcium intake, dairy is not the only or not even the main calcium source, you can get plenty from fruit and vegetables! Much better than calcium tablets that are not fully absorbed. Good luck with your skin!!

  23. deborah
    February 8, 2013 / 3:35 pm

    Hello Ruth! I’m in total agreement about milk. I’ve actually been saying this for years….I’ve had dermatologists look at me like I was crazy! But then, if we figured these things out they wouldn’t have as many peeps seeking their help! I get white small pimples all over my forehead, sides of my cheeks, etc. along with my skin becoming red & inflamed. When I stop drinking milk…..voila, clear skin! Some may have stronger systems (or more toxic) and they just don’t notice. If it does that to your face…..what is it doing to your liver?!!

  24. Andrea
    February 8, 2013 / 3:56 pm

    Oh Ruth I love those milk bottle sweets, you’ve ruined them! I’m excited to see your posts about the scar-helpers as I’ve been left with a few nasty ones myself and they won’t budge x

  25. Flo
    February 8, 2013 / 4:10 pm

    My doctor had actually advised I stay of dairy and gluten to improve my skin. I found the gluten bit too hard but just switching to soya milk has I think made a positive difference, and I’ll definitely be sticking to it.

  26. Claudia
    February 8, 2013 / 5:38 pm

    acne has actually been linked to milk in many theories! most likely because of the hormones of the cows that produce said milk. I think I read it in “The Clear Skin Diet”, not sure though. but as always: everyone is different and there are lots of people who eat unhealthy stuff, smoke, drink and consume dairy and still have good skin. but they are in the minority ;)

    there are good alternatives like rice milk, almond milk etc. – they do taste a bit watery but are much healthier! I used to love soy milk but that’s sadly not as healthy as most people think.

  27. Sarah
    February 8, 2013 / 9:04 pm

    When you say spots, does this mean acne too? I hope so I’m so sick of it! Normal hormone levels so I dunno what’s going on with me! Convinced its all to do with the western lifestyle.. I’m off the milk with a week n think I see a small difference as the area is not as red or inflamed looking.. I hope to change my diet further even though I’m a super healthy eater!! V frustrating n I don’t want to b on these tablets n creams forever! Great post Ruth thank you :)

  28. Ajyoga
    February 8, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    I can’t look at that photo! Creeps me right out;-)

  29. Liz
    February 8, 2013 / 11:01 pm

    pretty sure they discontinued the rejuvenating cream :( I’m about to run out of my 100 ml bottle (much loved as you can tell) and tried to order a back-up. Nothing. So I went to the alpha-H website and it wasn’t listed there either. They did however list a 50 ml “liquid gold rejuvenating cream” very similarly priced to the former 100 ml version that won’t be available in the UK until April. Having a bit of mixed feelings right now, that cream did wonders for my skin, so sad </3

  30. Jdog
    February 9, 2013 / 2:34 am

    Do you think it could be the lactose (ie the sugar) in milk/dairy that your skin’s reacting to? I’ve never fully understood the science behind it, but I sometimes go through phases where my skin can’t handle milk at all, and other times where I just need to steer clear of lactose. I’ve just started on some Alpha-H products though so we’ll see what they do (I’m trying to introduce them slowly so as not to terrify my skin!). Good luck!

    Oh and by the way, it’s Van Gogh without a U. ;)

    • Guest
      February 10, 2013 / 11:56 am

      it can be lactose, especially of you’re lactose-intolerant (I’m sadly speaking from experience, haha) but milk comes from nursing cows so there are lots of hormones in it which leads to problems in many people’s skin or bodies.

  31. Adelle
    February 10, 2013 / 10:48 am

    I’ve switched to a dairy, gluten and wheat free diet and my skin is one of the things that have seriously improved. I feel like maybe I had a slight intolerance, because now that I’m no longer spotty or bloated all the time I’m wondering if this is what normal people feel like!

  32. Smi
    February 10, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    I used to have bad acne until I started taking once a day Omega 3 Fish Oil Pills. In addition to that, before going to bed I apply few drops of Argan Oil to washed/dried face. This cleared my acne totally – I have acne free skin and a few left over spots that seem to be gradually fading away. I do drink coffee with full fat milk, chocolates, cheese.. :) give it a try, maybe it would help you too.

  33. Daniella
    February 13, 2013 / 8:20 am

    I agree with you 100%. In 2011 I had the WORST breakouts ever…I was drinking a lot of milk daily (whole milk). I read an article about the links between acne and dairy somewhere so I cut down and incorporated other items in my diet to boost my calcium. My skin improved in 2 weeks and now I’m back to occasional breakouts : )

  34. Maan
    February 13, 2013 / 2:42 pm

    I had the same problem with milk when I moved to US since I was drinking milk straight from the bottle, which I never did before. We are used to bringing the milk to a boil and let it rise before consuming it. Reverted back to the old technique and no more spots.

  35. Ilary
    February 15, 2013 / 1:03 am

    Hi Ruth! I’m from Italy and I really love your blog! You’re so nice and always give good advice :) I’ve been suffering from acne for four years (I was 21 when it started, always wondered why at that age and not sooner), I tried every kind of product, also very expensive, I’ve seen a dermatologist who gave me medicins that didn’t work… At the end, I gave up… But after reading this post I wanted to have a try and stopped drinking milk and eating dairy… and…. now I don’t have any new spot, and my face is starting to improve! :) Can’t believe my eyes… it’s so wonderful to touch my face and feel it smoother and softer! I really want to thank you, Ruth, because if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have known that milk could cause spots…

  36. EJ
    February 15, 2013 / 2:59 am

    I dropped milk just this Sunday and already I’m seeing wonderful results! My redness has reduced immensely which means I don’t have to apply so much concealer. I have also not seen a single new spot since then, so I don’t have so many blemishes to worry about (or any new ones forming). Your tip has both saved my money, and my time! Thank you so much!

  37. Jenn Laoire
    February 16, 2013 / 4:33 pm

    I’ve gone from veggie to full vegan this year and my skin is so much better. Before I would have a pimple continuously somewhere on my face, now just a week a month.
    My decision was to do with being lactose intolerant, there is little lactose in cheese and yogurt which might be related to those of you who recognise a link with pimples and whole milk. I could eat cheese and yogurt products but since i’ve stopped, my skin is much happier.

    Really love the site and channel on youtube, an introduction to helpful products and brands I have never heard of, my skin is experiencing a renaissance !

  38. Filipa
    February 17, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    I also stopped drinking milk and I feel that has contributed to a clear skin. At the first week it was a little difficult because I really like milk, but now I’m ok without it. kiss

  39. Kat
    February 19, 2013 / 11:20 am

    I have been dealing with the same problem and it took me a long time to figure out the problem was milk and other dairy products. I’ve always had desert dry skin but also very nice complexion but when I discontinued taking the birth control pill after a year or so the problem started with clogged up pores and cysts forming underneath the skin. I went to a dermatologist and started using products for this peticular skin condition by Avene and La Roche Posay, which are good products but never quite cleared up my skin.

    I don’t drink large amounts of milk or eat loads of cheese and such, usually it was just the milk in the one coffee (latte or cappuccino) per day and one slice of cheese or creamcheese in the morning for breakfast. Even worse I am the most picky vegetarian and since I am now trying to cut out milk and dairy, there’s hardly anything tasty left to eat. Gladly I like soy and all other types of milks (oat and almond milk are superb, though are not as tasty in coffee as “the real deal”), but it will still be very hard to change my diet and still get enough nutrients. Especially getting enough calcium will be quite the task for me since the calcium source in all of the nut milks is usually a type of algae, which increases the amount of iodine in the product and I am incredibly sensitive to iodine due to an autoimmune disfunction of my thyroid gland.

    I would absolutely love it if you would update these posts and let us know what your observations are.

    • rika
      August 7, 2013 / 8:37 am

      Do some research online :) There are vegans and raw eaters out there that get their calcium from veg and fruit. And I have done my research and have to say its quite interesting what information is out there about dairy ;) you would be surprised! After extensive research of about over a year I cant even look at milk now :/

  40. VioletB
    February 19, 2013 / 1:37 pm

    Hello- I am exactly the same with spots. I was really congested and had a few nasty jaw spots. Got stomach flu and had to stop milk for 2 weeks and my skin was flawless! I think as we’re one of the only animals who drink another animal’s milk it’s not really that good for us. It does taste nice though and my gosh, I like a bit of cheese so I’m trying to balance things out a bit now!

  41. Viola
    February 26, 2013 / 3:11 pm

    I really am starting to think that I’m having the same problem. I have pretty dry sensitive skin that is generally quite clear. But lately I’ve been battling with some brakeouts, as soon as one zit was gone a new friend showed up! Updating my entire skincare did help a lot, though at the same time I started consciously cutting milk and yoghourt (but not cheese) out of my diet. Was not too hard as I don’t drink much milk anyways… But last week I had some again and BOOM: spots all over the place! It’s so bizarre that I never had this problem before but I’m glad I’m not alone! This is a perfect example that milk just isn’t ideal for humans (I mean, would cows drink human breast milk?…)

  42. Kharina Sterner
    February 28, 2013 / 10:50 pm

    I stopped using milk 9 years ago and stuck to soy until 4 years ago when I switched to oat milk. It’s tasty and works well with tea. AND great with porridge, obviously. No spots, no gas. ;)

  43. jen
    March 5, 2013 / 3:51 pm

    In ermany we have a quite delicious alternative: spelt-almond-milk. It looks like milk, tastes like sweet almonds but is based on water. You can drink your Coffee with it or make your porridge. I like the taste but it will depend on each person. Give it a try!

  44. RuthCrilly
    March 5, 2013 / 11:33 pm

    Thanks, I’ll take a look! x

  45. March 24, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    Firstly, I love your blog, it’s got so many helpful tips!

    I’ve been lactose intolerant my whole life, but have started reacting to it more as I’ve got older, and I know that if I have too much of it, my skin breaks out like crazy.

    The probable reason that you’re not reacting to cheese is most cheese doesn’t contain lactose, or only minimal quantities. If it’s been aged over two years, then it contains no lactose at all, if it hasn’t been, it only contains 2% of the original amount of lactose. The fermentation of yogurt breaks lactose down so it’s more digestible

    As for alternatives, porridge tastes good just made with water, or soya milk (though use a brand like Alpro Organic Unsweetened, which only contains Soya beans and water, rather than most, which have a list of suspect ingredients). Coconut milk can also be an occasional nice change. You can also get a brand of milk called Lactofree which is really great on cereal, as it’s actual milk that has been filtered to remove half the lactose, and then lactase is added to process the rest, and nothing else tastes quite the same on cereal! It’s also a good way to figure out whether you’re sensitive to lactose, or casein (the milk protein.)

  46. Dave
    March 28, 2013 / 6:40 am

    You want to know something interesting? Milk in Europe does nothing to me, it’s the milk in America (where I live) that gives me the acne. After a week in Italy, eating dairy as I would, my skin cleared up.

    • Alex
      August 5, 2014 / 10:57 pm

      Same here! I was in Italy for three weeks, eating cheese, coffee, gelato… All dairy products. But I had none of the acne problems that I get from eating dairy in America. Do you think this might be caused by the fact that American dairy is more processed? Is Italian cheese just more natural?

  47. April 20, 2013 / 10:24 am

    I would be interested in seeing he post on fading the marks that are left after the spot has gone. Have googled the La Roche-Posay prouduct you mentioned above “Resurfacing Serum “…….but cannot find it. Is it the pigment control serum?

  48. Heather McDonald
    April 22, 2013 / 3:41 am

    having too much yeast in your system can also cause acne before you notice anything and need to go to a gynecologist. not the prettiest idea but totally true for me and a lot of people. Easting a lot of yeasty breads and such can be awful for the skin. I also noticed a strangely dramatic improvement when I switched to NARS sheer glow foundation, which is gluten-free. I have used other gluten-free foundations before and it seemed that using gluten-free brands went right along with the times when my face was the most clear and easy to maintain. My sister lives a completely gluten-free lifestyle, so I may share her intolerance to a small degree. Hourglass is the other gluten-free foundation brand I used, and my skin seemed extremely healthy.

  49. Heather Hernandez
    June 4, 2013 / 10:59 pm

    I came across your blog looking for articles about this and completely agree! I am 38 and all of a sudden started getting breakouts really bad and I have never had issues with my skin. I tried different facial wash etc..until a friend suggested maybe I was allergic to something? So I found the articles about the possible links of acne and dairy. One week no dairy and it cleared up amazingly!

  50. Guest
    August 6, 2013 / 7:12 pm

    i always had at least one cyst on my face at a time, usually on my chin and then i started getting 2-3 at a time so i went to the doctor who just gave me an antibiotic for 2 weeks to get rid of them which did not help. i went to see another doctor and he said try birth control and i did not want to. then i read this post so i tried cutting milk off and i can thankfully say i have had NO ACNE since! its been 2 months and i also think its just the milk because i eat cheese and ice cream and nothing, but i had milk as an experiment and got a cyst on my chin again! so now im off it for good and have absolutely no acne left! thank you ruth, this post literally changed my life :D<3

  51. August 18, 2013 / 8:37 am

    Hi Ruth, this was a very interesting article to read, thank you for sharing. I did have a similar epiphany regarding my spots a while back, but unlike yours, it wasn’t diet-related — It’s from my hand/nail cream. To elaborate, I have very weak nails that I moisturize religiously every night before bed, and while it’s helped my nails somewhat, I would unconsciously touch my face while I’m asleep (or half-asleep) and I would definitely get a pimple right on that spot. Just thought I would share, because it is a pretty weird thing to have — And someone else who reads this comment and have tried everything to clear their skin out might have missed that. Cheers. :)

  52. Concerned
    August 20, 2013 / 8:29 pm

    I used to have terrible cystic acne along my jaw line & chin. I never drank much milk but drank a ton of diet soda. I though it was the caffeine. I stopped all caffeine & switched to water & my skin cleared up amazingly. I recently started drinking flavored water & it flared up again. So I think it may have been the artificial sweeteners

  53. clare marshall-scott
    September 7, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I’ve came across your blog recently after discovering myself that milk doesn’t particularly agree with me either.
    I’ve had spots/acne since i was a teenager (25 now and I’ve tried every different skincare/makeup product on the market from clean & clear, oxytetracyclin prescription, clinque, clarins, bio-oil, everything!) and have never been able to find a cure. I too, found by fluke that milk may be my downfall from not having any in the fridge for my breakfast (I had a good 5+ cystic spots at the time) and the next day they were all gone after not getting my usual breakfast fix, redness was still there obviously but the soreness and size, gone. I thought it was sheer magic!!
    In the past week I’ve swapped my usual semi-skimmed milk to unsweetened almond milk, and I can happily say, I’ve had zero cystic spots. I’ve had 1 or 2 normal white heads, but it’s almost like a different face!
    I think once all the redness has gone, hopefully my skin will even out and be the flawless skin I’ve always dreamt about!
    I hope it’s still working well for you and thanks for such a good blog!

  54. tim
    October 17, 2013 / 8:35 am

    hi ruth, do you use benzoyl peroxide? i heard it causes cancer and the fda agrees, what should i use? btw are you saying that milk not cheese caused acne. i love cheese and i could easily give up milk but why would milk be any different to cheese. thankyou :)

  55. February 17, 2014 / 11:49 am

    Hi! Thanks for sharing the issue and your own experience. I’ll try a week or two to see if my acne has the same origin.

  56. February 24, 2014 / 6:59 pm

    I’ve just found this post from Pixiwoo’s blog. I suffer from acne, but only on the left hand side of my face and jaw – I am unsure whether it is linked to endometriosis on my left ovary though, but going to give this no milk thing a go for a few weeks.
    I read someone’s comment too saying that milk is full of hormones, which could also be aggravating my endo, bladder problems and bloating. I would love for it all to be linked back to milk!
    I haven’t tried almond milk before, but have heard that soya can cause problems with endo too, so think I’ll opt for the almond milk.
    Thank you for posting about this, it has been really informative and helpful.
    Laura x | Life and Lipstick

  57. June 27, 2014 / 9:14 am

    It’s completely true that milk causes acne! Lactose cannot be digested for many people, so it rots in the intestines, the toxins surface through the skin!

  58. Karen Hanrahan
    January 9, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    Happy New Year Ruth!

    I have been a big fan of your blog & have always found your recommendations to work wonders (especially Effaclar Duo!! HOLY GRAIL PRODUCT!!). Unfortunately adult acne has decided to hit me hard at the age of 28 and from looking at your how to treat acne video (in which you kindly show a quick shot of your chin/cheek acne) it’s pretty much spot on identical to what I have.

    So this brings me to your Milk theory above….seeing it’s now three years on, what is your take on this now? Does the theory still hold true? I’m seriously considering removing Dairy from my diet in a bid to save my skin and I’d love to hear your 2016 verdict for SKIN VERSUS DAIRY!!


    Karen (Dublin, Ireland) :)

  59. Bexy
    February 1, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    I condemn dairy products. When i came to singapore to work its very easy for me to buyfoods with all these dairy like ice cream whip cream cheese one of my favorite, pizza, any food that contains milk and all i got was the worst skin of my life, countless cystic acnes all over my face and it came into a point where i just wanna die seeing my face full of bumps i didnt went to dermatologist i just wanna die at that moment. All my self esteem flush down in the dump, i dont wanna face the world amymore. Then i surf the net one day and i saw dairy can cause acne and that was it i gave up dairy for 2 weeks my face gradually cleared up then i cheated i ate yogurt!! And men there are 5plus new cystic acne the next day and i think i wanna cry again but on the brighter side i know the culprit of my acne. On mu teenage years my face can tolerate dairy i eat cheese alot but now on my adult years this dairy is a no no for me not only acne it can give me but i also suffer from stomach bloating and cramps that i never had before iny teenage years. I think i need to be totally careful in what i eat because my acne comes and go all i want is clear skin for the rest of mt life. Thats all this implies for i think some people and i think hypotetically that dairy really causes bad skin.

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