Milk for Health but what about Acne?

Milk and dairy, in general, is great for health what is not good for health, is how our milk is processed. In this article which is in addition to the anti-aging health guide, we discuss the health benefits of dairy while addressing the associated problems with acne sufferers

There is no doubt there are links between dairy and Acne, too many clients and general members of the public see a decrease in breakout when cutting out dairy-based foods. Recently we outlined the basis of good dietary health which does include dairy. If there is a modern wrong information pandemic, it is that which is incubated by the United States. Every day I ready blanket statements that people eat up and is wholly and entirely a U.S concern. Despite this, many people forget to think does this relate to where I live. A good example of this is the dairy industry, Milk and derivatives of dairy in nearly all cases that originate from America are not permitted for sale in the EU, and for good reason. Their usage of growth hormones, additives to milk like thickening agents (carrageenan), monoglycerides, diglycerides, vitamin A acetate and the list simply continues.

The American system is one of the largest incubators of ill health and premature death.

Sponsored research leads their industries to reach a conclusion to support industry, and their FDA guidelines are questionable at best with what they approve or promote as a good practice. From GMO based food (genetically modified) through to growth hormone usage in dairy cows, and the conditions that at best is animal cruelty.

It is tough to hold any logical foundation that modern food production means are anything but, bad for health. Over the last 20 years and even more so, the last decade, more research is surfacing that American ideas on health and food production are a leading cause of obesity and premature death.

Despite this, it is not just America but many ‘industrialised countries’ putting “efficient” agricultural practises ahead of the wellbeing of populations. Even the EU plus Irish agriculture and health bodies fueled by big company money are (trying) to ban raw milk sale in Ireland (and the greater EU)

Over the last decade, we have started to see a significant trend in many Westernised countries, and the trend is, organically produced, traceable origin and the rise of Raw, Paleo, Perfect Health and Peatatarian diets. A sizable shift in thinking is creating a worldwide movement away from processed foods, away from mass farmed produce and into the new culture of traceable organics and artisan sourced food.

The Rise of Raw Milk

Despite the fear mongering from Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), clutching to the coat tails of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), that drinking raw milk (RDM) has a diverse microbial flora which can include, pathogens transmissible to humans. [see attached PDF]

First, let’s open with some facts, not cherry picked fear mongering

The greater percentage of people that grew up from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s that lived in rural and semi-rural locations were brought up on raw milk. (my husband being one of them) They were not all dying from or even sick from transferable diseases, in fact, they are some of the healthiest generations the world produced.

One study cited that you are (10 times) more likely on a per serving basis to pick up a food borne illness than drinking raw milk. (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Sept. 2003, page 17). In a very detailed write up “Those Pathogens, what you should know by Ted Beals, MD he cited you are 35,000 times more likely to gain a foodborne illness from anything but, raw milk; sort of, puts it into perspective, don’t you think? [4]

Some U.S data that you might find interesting, I recommend you read the above mentioned ‘Those Pathogens‘.

Putting raw milk illnesses into perspective

illnesses per person among the whole population and the population of raw milk drinkers.


Raw milk from dairies tends to be healthier cows with good hygiene practises. Why? Because the farmers understand that cow happiness and feed quality impacts the quality of the end product, and they are selling raw milk.

Understanding milk

Milk Proteins

What is that white liquid is a highly complicated mixture of elements that all come together making milk. Protein in milk is mainly casein, and the other part is whey protein. When milk is processed (pasteurised with heat), these components become damaged creating allergins. The process makes them difficult for your body to process and seen as foreign invaders.


Lactose is a sugar contained in milk and dairy products. The small intestine, the organ where a large amount of food digestion & nutrient absorption take place produces an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose. The body metabolises the simpler sugars feeding them into the bloodstream.

Raw milk is generally tolerated very well by both allergic and lactose intolerant individuals since the natural bacteria in it produces lactase to help you digest the lactose.

The catch word of the day is ‘lactose intolerance’, although this is a label that needs addressing. You have an inability to process lactose due to what could be many reasons. What is often not taken into consideration is people with hormonal imbalances, excess estrogen, hyperinsulinemia, or hypometabolic can lose the ability to process lactose. Lactose intolerance is a problem of processing protein strings. [9]

Lactase is needed to process lactose, and if you are low on that enzyme, it can cause lactose intolerance. What is not talked about enough, is reasons you might be lactose intolerant including the way milk is processed or the additives in the dairy products you are consuming. Symptoms of other conditions such as Coeliac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Studies have shown that even when diagnosed “lactose intolerant” people are capable of consuming modest amounts of dairy, tolerating an average twelve grams of lactose when served in a single dose ‘the lactose content found in one cup of milk’ with little to no symptoms.

“Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine can be caused by hypothyroidism (Lauritano, et al., 2007), and the substances produced by these bacteria can damage the lining of the small intestine, causing the loss of lactase enzymes (Walshe, et al., 1990).” [9]

Can you cure lactose intolerance?

Studies are surfacing forming a positive outlook for lactose intolerance, [14, 15, 16] supplementing yogurt with probiotics. On the caution side, there can be some problems with yogurt being an inflammatory agent and can be a metabolic burden. [16] With more reading cited for you, eating yogurt enriched with certain bacteria, can lessen the intolerance of lactose. The probiotic bacteria modify the metabolic processes in the colon, possibly producing their own lactase enzymes while eating lactose from dairy. Eventually decreasing the intolerance to lactose with a reduction of symptoms and better digestion. For a more in-depth look at the possibility of reducing lactose intolerance, you might like to read Chris Kresser’s article “How to cure lactose intolerance”.


This is when milk is quickly heated to kill off any (apparent) harmful bacterias, what this also does is destroy most of the health benefits that milk has by destroying the nutrients. It also denatures the proteins creating the allergy responses furthermore, making it increasingly difficult to digest and becomes highly allergenic.


Is the root of all evil in milk production, crushing milk fat globules into droplets too small to rise to the surface of the cream layer. The entire homogenised process was to make the industry more profitable, easier for packaging. When you buy homogenised milk, you are not buying whole milk. Milk from the cow has a fat content of around 4 to 5.5%. The homogenisation process allows the cream to be calculated precisely, removed and then blended back into the milk again. Whole milk as advertised is not whole milk at all, rather a shadow of its former self. With destroying the fat layer, it allowed for the discontinuation of glass bottles and new cheaper cardboard packaging.

You could be wondering why the firm position on the consuming of dairy, what about all the cultures that do not consume dairy?

Evolution and geographic location are an amazing adaptation of human beings, we touched on this in the article Vitamin D deficiencies, and why you are so pale living in Ireland, It is believed that some ethnicities physically adapted to low calcium diets. [10, 11] Although not always in the best of ways, for example, Chinese people once generations are exposed to a westernised level of calcium often grow taller. In addition to this, many cultures consume dishes that you and I may not find that appetising, fish heads, animal skin dishes, chicken feet, animal bones from a variety of methods to name but a few.

A westernised diet without the consumption of dairy makes it very difficult to gain the required amount of needed calcium. Although fat soluble A, D and K2 reduces the amount of calcium an adult needs to maintain bone structure and health; it can be challenging at best to gain enough calcium from leafy greens and bone-in-fish. Or if you are like me, the mere presence of a fish bone has me finding a gag response. Several studies have shown [6, 7, 8], that individuals with lactose intolerance have a lower bone density, have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, fracture bone easier, all related to the lower availability of calcium via dairy. There is also a strong indication that as grass fed dairy is one of the best sources of K2 it increases the likelihood of the development of osteoporosis.

Grass fed cows are the leading source of A, D and K2, with all the vitamins being fat soluble and provided by nature, in my mind it is kind of logical to take nature’s lead. While Goose liver does provide a similar level of K2 it ‘s hard to source and for many not very palatable. Dairy is also one of the only possible means to gain trans-fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), that is considered an active anti-cancer acid. [12]

Acne and Dairy it is no coincidence that A is for Acne & Vitamin A

Why does milk aggravate acne?

One of the reasons that milk products aggravates acne is due to milk containing hormones. Cows that give the milk are pregnant and milking most of their lives; these hormones are not injected into the cows; they are natural hormones that cows make during every “menstrual” cycle, but throughout pregnancy, these hormones are produced continuously at high levels and so are found in all cows’ milk. Because acne in many cases is caused by hormonal balance or sensitivity to hormonal changes; the reason many of us suffer during our own menstrual cycle, the natural hormones in the milk trigger acne breakout.

When you consume dairy it heightens the metabolic processes, with increased metabolism the body requires extra vitamins. A vast number of acne sufferers are low in Vitamin A, (this is also why Skin Accumax contains the maximum level of Vitamin A)

If dairy is giving you or increasing your breakouts:

Are you drinking whole milk? Or are you drinking that terrible fat reduced milk that then has vitamins added back into it, increasing allergic problems?

Are you increasing your intake of Vitamin A? – Increasing Vitamin A in acne sufferers with a supplement like (Skin Accumax), what we use here at Zest for all Acne & Rosacea suffers is a good idea.

Also, we have an in-depth look at nutrient deficiencies and their role in acne & rosacea suffers in addition, an in-depth guide to how acne forms and how to avoid severe acne breakout.

Vitamin A the friend of Acne Sufferers

Vitamin A is a crucial vitamin for skin health and avoiding premature ageing. Vitamin A boosts the immune system is essential for cell reproduction, bone growth and helps your vision. Whole milk is a good source of this vitamin and so too are many fruits, (mentioned in the anti-aging diet guide).

Skin health is dependent on the good availability of vitamin A and is another reason acne suffers often lacking in this vital nutrient. If you lack in vitamin A, you may experience flaky, dry, itchy skin; increased acne breakout and greater flare up of Rosacea, Psoriasis and Eczema.

Skin Tissue. Vitamin A helps your body repair your skin tissue, so it is stronger it also helps regulate sebum production this makes you less likely to break out and will help your body control breakouts should they occur.

Antioxidant Protection. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant, having a diet rich in vitamin A foods can help you neutralise free radicals in your body so they cannot damage the epidermis. In addition, it will support the fight against premature ageing and is known to lessen the chance of developing cancer. It will also increase the outer barriers of the skin so it will be easier for the cells to combat bacteria that cause blemishes.

Immune System. Fortifying the immune system enabling it to operate and peak performance. Aids in helping the bodies metabolism find balance and wards off bugs like the everyday cold.

Skin Cell Growth. Vitamin A is crucial for your body to produce healthy cell generation making the epithelial cells that form the mucous membrane of the skin. A healthy metabolism is essential for protein synthesis allowing the skin to regenerate and replenish. Digestive and urinary health is maintained allowing for better absorption of nutrients plus ridding the body of toxins.

So what is your best advice for acne and dairy?

Acne is predominantly hormonal and or dietary related, our diet affects our hormonal balance if you have a bad diet then just cutting out dairy is the wrong place to start. Despite adjusting your diet and improving and balancing where you can, you may still find no choice but to remove dairy from your diet.

As I like to say no two skins are alike and that is the same with clients that suffer from acne. Before cutting out the dairy I would look at the quality of the dairy you are consuming. It is a good idea to stabilise before cutting out, if you are consuming any low-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt firstly change to full fat and if you can change to raw milk; we have a resource at the bottom of the page of where you can buy raw milk.

Increase your vitamin A intake, I would suggest you start taking Skin Accumax, it is what start all clients on that suffer from Acne & Rosacea. (Note: if you take Skin Accumax you cannot take any other Vitamin A supplement) More information about Skin Accumax. Lower your intake of gluten based products and cut out or lower PUFAs.

Foods with a high (GI) glycemic index may aggravate acne breakout

There is research that suggests that insulin may play a role in acne. In a 2007 study, researchers explored a possible link. The study included 43 teenage boys and young men with acne. For three months, some ate a diet containing foods with a low glycemic load (which is a measure of how foods affect people’s blood sugar), and others ate a carbohydrate-loaded diet without being concerned about their glycemic index. Those who ate the low glycemic diet had more improvement in their acne.

Before removing all dairy from your diet

  1. Increase the quality of the dairy you consume
  2. Before removing dairy, go gluten free
  3. Before stopping dairy,remove polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3s are both inflammatory when the balance is out. Omega-3’s lose their anti-inflammatory benefits when a high Omega-6 diet is in place (most people’s diets) and you might like to read the article on good fats versus bad fats
  4. Before stopping dairy take a Vitamin A supplement like Skin Accumax

If you still continue to break out remove dairy products

Where can I buy raw milk in Ireland?

Raw Milk Ireland is a good resource with current farms and stockists. Irish Government, the agricultural governing bodies and the EU bodies have all been trying along with big company interests to ban the sale of raw milk. So far it is (STILL LEGAL) to buy and sell raw milk “and we add a voice upholding that right”. There is also a facebook site with latest developments and a growing community supporting the raw milk industry

Raw milk, produced from their Jersey cows is available to purchase from Ballymaloe Cookery School Farm shop in Cork.

025 31310
Produce and bottle raw milk, Kefir and Yoghurt from their herd of pedigree Friesians

All the farmers listed below are Organic and operate as part of
They all sell raw milk from Farm Gate. Best to contact in advance regarding availability and best times to call…

  • Bill George 087 6189260
    Coolanowie, Ballickmoyler, Carlow
  • Jenny Young 087 6785269
    Narraghmore, Athy, Co. Kildare
  • Bat Sheehan 087 2323771
    Ballmounteen, Ballynoe, Coona, Fermoy, Cork (40 Minutes from Mallow)
  • Sean Condon 087 8009978
    Fanningstown, Crecora, Co Limerick
  • John Lyston 087 9471632
    Dunnamun, Croom, Co Limerick
  • Pat Mulrooney 087 2899502
    manganstown, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Tipperary
  • Leo Barry 087 2517067
    Rackalstown, Kilmore Village, Co Wexford
  • Fintan Rice 087 4145518
    Evardsgrange, Fethard, Co Tipperary
  • John Boohan 086 1022918
    Glenogra, Fedamore, Co Limerick
  • Michael Keane 087 9661917
    Morgans North Askeaton Limerick

Honest to Goodness Market, Glasnevin

The Hopsack, Swan Centre, Rathmines

Corleggy Cheese Market Stalls
Nicky’s Village Market, Main St,Kilcoole Co. Wicklow
(Wednesday and Friday deliveries – arrives around lunch time)

They operate a farm gate collection system, and limited local deliveries are also available:
Garraun Lane, Cloughfordan. 087 239 8781

Known Stockists:
The Crawford’s milk is available in Sheridans Cheesemongers in Meath and Dublin
and is delivered once per week on a Friday

They operate a farm gate collection system, and limited local deliveries are also available:
Beech Hill, Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow. Call Arthur Craigie on 087 270 1675 to organise collection at the farm.

Local retailers including Swans on the Green in Naas also have availability (045)876544 – best to call in advance.

MAGPIE DAIRIES (Orchard Cottage Dairy)
Balinhassig, Co. Cork – Raw Goat’s Milk, 086 3037871
Eamonn McDonagh, Kilmaine, Co. Mayo (near Ballinrobe) Eamonn has two jersey cows that he hand milk, and has milk for sale year round. Telephone: 087 711 0650

The Organic Supermarket
Blackrock Village HQ
2c Main Street, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
t: +353 (1) 278 1111
Mon – Fri: 8am-8pm / Sat 9am-8pm/ Sunday: 12am-7pm
Rathgar Village Flagship Store
3-5 Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6
t: +353 (1) 598 9999
Mon – Sat: 8am-8pm / Sunday: 10am-7pm
Malahide Village
11 Townyard Lane, Malahide, Co. Dublin
t: +353 (1) 559 9200
Mon – Fri : 9am-8pm / Saturday: 9am-7pm / Sunday: 11am-6pm

Ireland’s regulatory position on hormones and antibiotics in general farmed milk

Hormones and Antibiotics Irish Milk

Fearmongering from the EU that we are all going to contract diseases by consuming raw milk

Scientific Opinion on the public health risks related to the consumption of raw drinking milk

Between 2011 and 13 there were 2223 foodborne illnesses of that 27 were dairy related

Foodborne Virus outbreaks EU

Adaptation of Inuit children to a low-calcium diet. What you thought you knew about calcium.

Adaptation of Inuit children to a low-calcium diet


1. The Truth About Pasteurization
Dr. Josh Axe

2. Lactose Intolerance: Often A Result of ‘Silent’ Wheat-Derived Bowel Disease
Paul Jaminet

3. 6 Reasons Why Raw Milk is Special
Lauren – Nutritionist

4. Those Pathogens, what you should know
Ted Beals, MD

5. How to cure lactose intolerance

6. Genetic predisposition for adult lactose intolerance and relation to diet, bone density, and bone fractures.
J Bone Miner Res. 2004

7. Lactose malabsorption and intolerance and peak bone mass

8. Lactose intolerance associated with fractures of weight-bearing bones in Finnish women aged 38–57 years

9. Milk in context: allergies, ecology, and some myths
Ray Peat pHD

10. Adaptation of Inuit children to a low-calcium diet

11. Artic Wildlife

12. Can Some Trans Fats Be Healthy?
Chris Kresser M.S., L.Ac

13. Effects of yogurt and bifidobacteria supplementation on the colonic microbiota in lactose-intolerant subjects.

14. Probiotics–compensation for lactase insufficiency.

15. The role of colonic microbiota in lactose intolerance.

16. Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer’s, Colitis, Immunodeficiency.
Ray Peat phD

Emma Ryall on EmailEmma Ryall on FacebookEmma Ryall on GoogleEmma Ryall on LinkedinEmma Ryall on Twitter
Emma Ryall
Educator, Proprietor, Aesthetician at Zest Skin Clinic & Laser Hair Removal
Licenced Aesthetician, CIBTAC, ITEC and CIDESCO accredited professional therapist with over 14 years industry experience, specialising in skincare. Emma is also a master trainer City & Guilds – Accreditation No: 500/5753/4
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