Dairy Free Diary Part 1: Does Cutting Down on Dairy Help Clear Acne?

Posted in Health
on August 20, 2017

You may have seen my last post, which was a recipe for my favourite overnight oats, and noticed that it was a dairy free recipe. I recently decided to reduce my dairy intake for 2 weeks because I have a problem with acne, and I wanted to see if it helped clear up my skin.

I was also pretty curious to see if I was capable of giving up cheese for 14 days. Spoiler: I’m not.


I started writing about my decision to cut out dairy, what I ate, and what happened to me during the 2 weeks, but it was ridiculously long, so I’ve split it up into 3 separate posts. Part one is just a short one; an introduction if you like.

Some of you may be wondering about the link between dairy and acne. It wasn’t something I was aware of myself until recently, which is strange because I think I’ve searched every corner of the internet for ways to treat acne.

I was being forced to watch yet another nature documentary with B a few months ago, and the presenter said something about how humans are the only species who drink the milk of another species. Right? And how breast milk turns teeny humans into slightly bigger humans who then start to eat solid big people food, but cow’s milk is designed to grow a little calf into a pretty big cow within about 2 years. Heifers weigh about 200kg by 8 months old. So, that got me thinking about what must be in cow’s milk to facilitate that.

Btw, I grew up around farms, if you’re wondering why I’m so clued up on cow growth!

Turns out that cow’s milk is pretty high in androgens (like testosterone), and lots of growth hormones. Of course, human milk also contains different hormones, but what I’m getting at is that cow’s milk isn’t designed with human nutrition in mind.


So when I starting Googling androgens in cow’s milk, I found some research linking consumption of cow’s milk (therefore dairy products) and acne breakouts.

Prior to this little experiment, I probably ate dairy with every meal, so giving it up was going to be fairly problematic for me.

I decided to give it a go, though, because something linked in my mind. I first remember having a problem with my skin when I was around 13. And this is also when I discovered pasta bake. Which I subsequently ate about 3 times a week for the rest of my life. Yes, cheese is so important to me that I remember the time I first had it melted all over my other love, pasta. But it is possible that, as my dairy intake has increased over the years, my acne has worsened.

All of this led to the decision to try to cut out dairy completely for a period of 2 weeks. Then, my mother pointed out that there wasn’t a chance in hell I could say 100% no dairy. So, I reconsidered and decided to cut out as much as I possibly could, and to not eat any obvious dairy. So, no cheese, soft cheese, cream, milk, or yoghurt. That’s not a very catchy title for a post, though.


Look out for the next part, where I tell you what I ate and if I noticed a change in my skin. In the meantime, I’d love to know if you’ve tried this and if you noticed any difference. Get in touch or comment below!


  • Peta

    Oooh this is very interesting, I look forward to hearing about your results! I haven’t had dairy for two years due to it making me very poorly.
    Peta xx

    August 21, 2017 at 14:05 Reply
    • North

      Ah thanks m’love!
      I’ve never really been one for cutting things out as part of a crash diet, but if it’s a legitimate thing like dairy making you poorly, or giving me acne then I’m all for it!
      I hope you’re ok by the way, saw your post on Instagram about you feeling a bit low today. Sending hugs! xx

      August 21, 2017 at 19:29 Reply
  • Alice

    I’m so excited to see if this makes a difference! Will definitely be keeping up to date. I don’t suffer from acne but I am trying to take better care of my body with less dairy, fat etc. I’m taking it slow, my first step is to switch out normal milk for almond milk as much as possible and I honestly prefer it! I’m hoping it’ll make even just a small difference x

    Alice http://www.accordingtoalicex.com

    September 26, 2017 at 13:53 Reply
    • North

      Thank you so much Alice! If you want to know what happened, you can find the last part of the little series here
      Definitely if you prefer almond milk, go for it! I think it’s just about making small changes like that, which are more sustainable, and you’ll notice differences in your body and health. Keep me posted on how you get on! x

      September 26, 2017 at 18:05 Reply

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