Many of us have heard that regular milk can cause acne. While that is heavily debated, there is some merit that dairy can affect people with acne-prone skin. But, does almond milk cause acne? All milks aren’t created equal, so it’s worth investigating its effect on the skin.
Read on to learn a dietitian’s take on whether almond milk and acne are actually related. Plus, learn which plant-based milks are best for acne-prone skin.
Does almond milk cause acne?
There is no evidence showing that almond milk can cause acne. However, almond milk can signal breakouts in some individuals.
But why? Many believe that almond milk is better for your skin than dairy milk.
In some regard, almond milk could be viewed as healthier than regular milk. After all, almond milk has less calories, sugar, and fat compared to whole cow’s milk.
Nevertheless, regular milk and almond milk can affect the skin in different ways.
Regular milk vs almond milk
Regular (cows) milk has earned a bad reputation for its effects on skin health. But how so?
Regular milk contains two main proteins: whey and casein. When the body digests these proteins, a hormone called IGF-1 is released. This hormone can trigger breakouts by interacting with the body’s hormones and confusing the endocrine system.
On the other hand, almond milk does not trigger the IGF-1 hormone.
So then, how exactly does almond milk cause acne?
Almond milk and acne
First, it’s important to keep in mind that there is virtually no evidence that directly links almond milk to acne. However, for a select few, almond milk may indirectly have negative effects on the skin.
For instance, almond milk is made from almonds, a nut that has a relatively high omega-6 fatty acid ratio. Research shows that eating a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids is linked with acne and high levels of inflammation.
As a result, it can be inferred that individuals who consume large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, from almond milk and other dietary sources, can experience acne.
The good news is that almond milk is unlikely to cause acne in individuals following a diet with a good omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio.
What to drink instead of almond milk for acne prone skin
If you suspect that almond milk is negatively impacting your skin, swap it out for a different type of milk. Fortunately, there are plenty of skin-friendly milk choices available.
The best milk for acne prone skin:
1. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is high in essential amino acids and antioxidants that can help soothe the skin.
2. Oat milk
Oats boast dermatologic benefits because of their low inflammatory profile.
3. Macadamia milk
Macadamias have an ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, making this milk a good alternative to almond milk.
Other ways to support clear skin
Dietary changes can help support healthy skin considering that the main connection between almond milk and acne is a diet high in omega-6’s.
First, focus on improving your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. You can do so by prioritizing foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
- Seeds (chia seeds, flax seeds)
- Plant oils (canola oil, flax oil, soybean oil)
Additionally, it can be helpful to take a closer look at other foods that you’re consuming other than almond milk. Ask yourself, are there other foods that may be triggering my skin? Many everyday foods can take a toll on the skin when eaten in excess.
Examples include foods that are:
- High in sugar
- High in saturated fats
Last but not least, how’s your gut health? The skin reflects the health of the gut. If you’re digestion feels off or you feel like your gut health is lacking, consider these methods:
- Add fermented foods to your diet (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha)
- Eat more fiber
- Drink enough water
- Consume more fruits and vegetables
- Incorporate a probiotic
To summarize, almond milk can’t directly cause acne. But, it may contribute to breakouts – in people consuming high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
It’s worth noting that there isn’t any current research assessing the effects of almond milk on the skin.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to improve breakouts, try eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can also consider skin-friendly milk alternatives and focus on gut health.
All in all, almond milk is a relatively safe milk for people with acne prone skin.
Gaby Vaca-Flores is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Santa Monica, CA. In merging her passions for nutrition and skin, Gaby created Glow+Greens to provide her readers with science-backed education + digestible wellness tips.