Why Quitting Dairy Saved My Skin & My Favorite Non-Dairy Products
Hi friends, long time no chat. I wanted to type up this blog post, because I realized it’s been over 5 months since I removed dairy from my diet in an effort to clear up my skin. While I’ve talked about this on my Instagram stories a few times, I wanted to address it here on the blog as well.
Here’s a little background for those of you who aren’t familiar with my skin history. I have been pretty lucky to have clear skin most of my life. Of course, we ladies get the occasional blemish during certain times of the month, but for the most part, that was my biggest issue. I ate like crap in college (pizza, alcohol, sugar, fried foods, etc.), and never faced crazy problem skin. However, the year after graduating something changed. I developed hormonal acne (characterized by acne along the chin/around the mouth), which was painful, embarrassing and frustrating. This was so new to me that I completely freaked out and tried almost every topical product under the sun. Some would work for a bit, others would cause more harm than good, and most didn’t work at all. This became an increasingly frustrating cycle, which I dealt with for over 2.5 years.
Several people suggested I try cutting dairy from my diet, but I always wrote it off as unnecessary, and definitely thought I didn’t eat enough dairy to upset my skin. I have been tested for a lactose and dairy intolerance, which I am not, so I assumed my skin was also tolerant of dairy. Boy was I wrong.
My friend and on-call dietitian Carli Kilgore suggested for the sake of my digestive system and skin, I cut dairy. I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong, so I said bye to dairy for a month. Well, much to my surprise, after a week of no dairy, I saw a HUGE difference in my skin. The number of “active” pimples I had reduced significantly, and I wasn’t getting any new zits. I was SHOCKED, but not convinced. I kept dairy out of my diet for 3.5-4 weeks, and re-introduced it only to find those same pimples returning. This was eye-opening for me, and really showed how sensitive my system was to dairy.
I’ve had some dairy since cutting it out in February, and each time I let myself have a little, I am faced with the same symptoms. Small bumpy pimples, and a few larger cysts. I’ve come to realize that AS DELICIOUS as cheese and ice cream are, they simply aren’t worth it for me to have zits as a result.
So why am I telling you this? Good question. I wanted this post to be a resource for anyone (not just people with acne) who is considering quitting dairy. At the end of the day, we don’t need milk and dairy. In fact, we are the only species that continues to consume milk after infancy. I hope you find this post helpful, even if it is just a guide for non-dairy products. Below is a list of my current favs, which hopefully you can find in stores near you! **Note: I do not purchase products containing soy due to the genetically-modified nature of these “foods”. Always try to stick with real food options if possible (i.e. nut-based/minimal ingredient).
Kite Hill Cream Cheese Spread in Jalapeno and Chive (made with almonds)
Parmela Creamery: Sharp Cheddar Style, Pepper Jack Style (made with cashews)
Nuttin Ordinary: Spicy Cashew Cheese (made with cashews)
The Coconut Cult
CoYo Coconut Yogurt
Anita’s Coconut Yogurt
Califia Farms Almond Milk
Oatly Oat Milk
*Photo credit: Sarah Miller Photography