Full cream milk not implicated in teenage acne

Dairy and its potential link to acne continues to be debated and now a recent US study has found it’s the type of milk teens drink that may affect their acne.

The study found no relationship between the consumption of full fat milk and acne in the 14-19 year olds.

However teenagers who drank low fat or skim milk regularly were more likely to have moderate acne than other teenagers.

Interviews with the teenagers found no other significant differences between their diets such as total dairy intake, saturated or trans fat intake, total energy intake or glycemic load. Similarly, there were no differences in body mass index between the two groups of teenagers.

The study supports other evidence that skim milk may be more problematic than regular milk for teens with concerns about their skin. However it is not clear whether processing regular milk removes protective factors along with the milk fat or simply concentrates constituents in milk that can promote acne.

Sydney dermatologist and All About Acne co-chair Dr Jo-Ann See said milk consumption results in a significant increase in insulin and a growth factor known as IGF-1, which can stimulate oil production in the skin.

“It’s perhaps not surprising that components in cow’s milk or our metabolism of them can interfere with the delicate balance of hormones in some teenagers,” she said.

“However milk is an important source of calcium and protein in a teenager’s diet so we would certainly not recommend removing it without good cause or discussing it with your doctor first.”

For people with acne, All About Acne currently recommends a low glycaemic index (GI) diet including:

Reference: LaRosa, CL et al. Consumption of dairy in teenagers with and without acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology; 75(2): 318-22.

The All About Acne team – the authors of this site – are a group of medically-trained skin experts from across Australia who have an interest in acne management. Our experienced team of leading dermatologists guarantees the information on this website is independent and based on the highest quality research available.

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