Milk and other dairy products do have some health benefits, however more and more people may decide to go dairy-free for various reasons. Some good reasons would be for health as many are intolerant of lactose in milk, and dairy is a common cause of acne. Milk is also a common food allergy, and others may choose to do it for environmental or animal welfare purposes.
Why Dairy Causes Acne
For people who are dealing with acne, there are more and more studies linking together a correlation between dairy consumption and increased acne. This is because cows milk naturally contains a high amount of sugar. Having a diet high in sugar without much fiber can lead to insulin hormone spikes which worsen acne. Dairy milk also has hormones and proteins that get broken down in the body into a hormone called IGF-1. This hormone is known to increase acne breakouts.
Does Soy Milk Cause Acne?
In order to help clear up acne, we may choose to eliminate milk and replace it with a different dairy-free milk substitute.
Soy milk, along with other soy-based products like tofu, soy cheese and yogurt are also good sources of iron and fiber, which you can’t get in dairy. It also has health benefits including a reduction in risk of certain hormonal cancers because it has phytoestrogens, but these plant estrogens are the very thing that can worsen acne especially if we have a hormonal imbalance of excess estrogen.
However, the downside of phytoestrogens are that it can potentially cause hormone imbalance. That's because phytoestrogens are antioxidants which mimic the hormone estrogen in our body.
A cup of plain soy milk also provides your body 7 grams of protein. You also have to know that soy contains all nine essential amino acids that our body assembles into new proteins. This includes antibodies essential for immune system function, enzymes that help your cells produce energy and structural proteins that hold your tissues together.
If you believe your acne is hormonal, you may want to avoid having too much soy or using soy milk as your dairy substitute since it could be contributing to acne worsening. Some people may quit dairy and replace with soy and notice their acne is the same or worse - that could be because they're simply replacing one hormone source with another.
Dairy Substitutes Without Hormones
Almond milk comes from pressed almonds, and some come with added sweetener and preservatives. Try to look for unsweetened almond milk as sugars can spike up insulin hormone levels. You may also want to avoid carrageenan - which is a binder made from seaweed as it has been linked to cause inflammation in the digestive system for some. Leaky gut or an inflamed gut can also contribute to acne.
Oat Milk is a great dairy-free substitute if you have acne. Oat milk is free of most common food allergies like lactose, gluten, and nuts. Oat milk is also free of hormones and high in vitamins like B vitamins, and plant based protein.