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When Dairy Free Isn’t Helping Your Skin


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Today’s blog post and video is for you if you’ve gone dairy free for clearer skin, and it’s really not doing much to help clear up blemishes and breakouts.

In last week’s blog post, When Your Diet Not Clearing Up Breakouts, I talked about how I was a vegetarian for a little over 25 years, and during most of that time, my skin was terrible. At points I went dairy free and even vegan, but it did nothing to improve my skin. As my friends got flawless complexions from eliminating dairy, my skin only got worse. When I eventually went on a raw vegan diet and my skin cleared up, I realized that there was two additional steps I needed to follow along with being dairy free to really get the results I wanted.

In today’s blog post and video I’m sharing the 3 step protocol to try along with going dairy free to see if it will help improve your skin.

This could possibly make more of a difference if you are already eating a healthy diet.

Best to follow all 3 steps that I outline in the video and blog post below for at least one month.

And try to follow the guidelines perfectly (no detours or exceptions).

After a month, I want you to come back and let me know how your skin is (and you’re certainly welcome to come back anytime before that to give me updates on your progress!).

How To Get Clear Skin From Going Dairy Free

Dairy free not clearing up your skin? Here's how to do it right to get clear skin.

3 Step Protocol For Clearer Skin Going Dairy Free

Be 100% Dairy Free (not 99%)

For A LOT of people, eliminating milk and dairy products is the only thing they need to do to get clear skin.

I don’t know a single acne sufferer who hasn’t seen some sort of improvement in their skin from going dairy free.

But, you must do it correctly. You must eliminate ALL dairy. Every trace of it, every drop.

You can’t make exceptions, like going dairy free “most” of the time, but still have things like milk in your coffee or the “occasional” ice cream here and there.

For most people with active acne, that won’t work.

You’ve got to commit to doing it perfectly and consistently, and you’ve got to do it for a while. It’s not overnight magic, but you should start seeing changes in your skin and get results within 2-4 weeks.

The trick is to make sure to read ALL the labels of the foods and drinks you are consuming, because you’d be surprised just how easily dairy products creeps into unsuspecting foods like salad dressings, drinks, sauces, dips, breads, and almost all processed and pre-made food.

I remember I used to go to this one place to get fresh juice. That is until I started developing tiny raised bumps all over my face. At first I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. None of the food I was making contained dairy or other acne trigger foods. I also always made sure to ask for no added sugar in drinks I would buy. That is until one day I saw a girl pouring milk syrup (canned condensed milk) into the blender of my fruit juice! I realized most of the fresh fruit juices I was buying from this one place was sweetened with condensed milk. And that’s one of the worst things for your skin (and health). Oi!!

So be diligent. Put the care and attention into being 100% dairy free – it’s worth the results you will get.

Don’t substitute with non-dairy alternatives

If you’re reading this blog post, and you’re thinking, “I’ve tried it already! I’ve been 100% dairy free for ages (like months and years), and I’m still not getting any results,” I want you to try this:

Don’t substitute dairy products with “non-dairy alternatives” like soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, hemp seed milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, soy cheese, coconut ice cream, and all those other milky/creamy vegan products.

Even if you make fresh almond milk yourself – take a break from ALL non-dairy milk alternatives (store bought and homemade).

Because, for some of you, those dairy free milk alternatives are just as difficult to digest as milk itself (if not worse), and could actually be giving you breakouts!

I learned this when I was on a raw vegan diet. As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, I was a vegetarian most of my life and I had terrible skin. It was only until I went on a super strict raw vegan diet could I clear up my skin while remaining a vegetarian. But, even after I completely cleared up acne, whenever I ate certain foods, even health foods, I would still get breakouts and painful cystic pimples. Over time I was able to track what those foods were, and one of the big culprits was anything that was creamy or milky, even if it didn’t have dairy in it.

I also noticed that whenever I had smoothies or foods containing non dairy milks, not only would I get big zits on my face, but something like a smoothie made with homemade almond milk would make my stomach ballon out like I was 8 months pregnant. In all honesty, those smoothies were so delicious, but they made me so uncomfortably bloated and gassy. Even to this day (almost 10 years later), I won’t drink smoothies made with dairy or non dairy milks, it’s like a bomb in my stomach and shows in my skin.

And yes, this is my experience. And not everyone has the same reaction to non dairy “mylks.”

If you are reading this and you have cleared up your skin, and you are eating and drinking things with dairy and non dairy milk products, that’s great, please continue. You don’t need to follow this protocol. These steps are for those of you who have cut dairy out of your diet, you’re eating super healthy, and your skin is still not good.

If you are wondering if you cut the almond milk, hemp seed milk, rice milk, etc., out of your diet; should you also cut out almonds, hemp seeds, rice, etc? The answer is no. Don’t cut the whole food out, just take a break from all the dairy and non dairy milks and milk products.

The reason why is because those milks are not easy to digest, either on their own or mixed with other foods. And if you have adult acne, that means something in your body is off balance, and you don’t want to strain your body more by burdening your digestive system with foods and drinks that are really hard to digest.

Once you’ve taken a break from them, and the acne and breakouts have completely healed, and your skin has been healthy for a while; then you can certainly start having small amounts of those milk products again if you wish. This is not forever. Your skin (and probably your digestive track) need to heal and get healthy again, and in this case, it needs a break from those stressing foods.

Double Up Green Vegetables

This step is the MOST IMPORTANT, so you must promise me you will follow it.

If you want clear skin, and glowing skin – this is a must.

Starting today, I want you to double the amount of green vegetables in your diet. Every day.

Examples of green vegetables are: salad greens, sprouts, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, celery, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, collard greens, fresh herbs, seaweed, algae, etc.

If it’s green, I want you to eat more of it.

Doubling the amount of green vegetables in your diet means you can double the serving, or eat green vegetables more frequently (like at every meal instead of just once a day).

Get creative, there’s so many ways of getting more green vegetables in your diet, like having:

  • Green salad (with homemade dressing)
  • Raw vegetables with guacamole or homemade dip
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Stir fry
  • Freshly pressed green vegetable juices
  • Green smoothie
  • Poached or boiled vegetables
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Homemade salsas (with fresh green herbs!)
  • Homemade Soups

If you double up the vegetables you are eating, you will see it in your skin.

Green vegetables in particular contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids – all of which are the building blocks for clear healthy skin.

When you flood your body with nutrition, you will see it in your skin. Plus, all these nutrients found in green vegetables are anti-inflammatory and help with tissue repair – which means they’ll help your skin heal a lot faster.

For best results…

I want you to follow this 3 step protocol for a minimum of one month, starting right now.

And do your best to do it perfectly.

Don’t worry about making other clear skin diet changes (unless you really want to). I always find it’s better to be consistent with one thing and do it well, rather than attempting 50,000 things and stopping half way through.

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About the Author

Natasha St. Michael is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Health Educator accredited by the Institute For Integrative Nutrition. She is a member of the American Association For Drugless Practitioners. For over a decade, Natasha has been coaching her clients how to improve their diet, lifestyle and skin care routine to reach their health goals and have clear youthful skin.


This blog is for information purposes only. The content is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Should you have a medical or dermatological problem, please consult with your physician. None of the information or recommendations on this website should be interpreted as medical advice.

All product reviews, recommendations, and references are based on the author’s personal experience and impressions using the products. All views and opinions are the author’s own. 

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  1. Hello
    I have comption skin what I should use for cream
    For dry skin or oily or sensitive
    I get pimples on my chine all the time don’t know what to do i tried lots off things

    • Hi Maha,
      For a moisturizer, how about trying 2-3 drops of grapeseed oil or jojoba oil. Oils can be a very gentle moisturizer that won’t affect your breakouts.
      As for the pimples on your chin, this is hormone related. Best to work on improving your diet by eating healthy food, avoiding sugar and dairy.

  2. The difference between hormones in meat and milk, and why adult women get acne from milk, has a lot to do with the naturally occurring growth factor found in milk (these are naturally occurring hormones found in all milks that help babies grow). For some people (especially those with hormone-related conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), the growth factor hormones throws their already imbalanced hormones more off balance. And of course the added antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and other injected substances found in mass produced farm animal milk only makes it worse. So that’s why a lot of people with adult acne get breakouts from all forms of milk, doesn’t matter if it’s organic, raw, pasteurized – it’s just the very nature of milk containing growth factor that throws some people’s hormones off and affects their skin.

    If it’s an issue with having an allergy to milk (or something in it), or a digestive issue; and you have no problem with raw milk, than great, go with that!

    • Hi Natasha!

      First of all, what did you think of Dr. Axe’s article on raw milk?

      Secondly, speaking of hormones, what about eggs? The vegan camp says, “When you eat an egg, basically you’re eating a chicken’s period.” (Pretty gross, but I’m sure you’ve probably heard that one before.) But, yes, there’s a potential baby chicken there just waiting to be fertilized, so there’s got to be plenty of hormones.

      And if you want to get technical, plants also contain hormones.

      Here’s a really great article on what stress does to the skin:

      Personally, that’s where I’m at. The stress from wondering what to eat and what not to eat is maddening!!! I’ve listened to so many so-called “experts”, doctors, etc. and nobody can agree. They’ve all got their “science” and everything, and if you lump them all together, then EVERYTHING is bad to eat!

      Then add the stress of raising a large family. I try to feed them right (whatever that means), but compromise is necessary for a happy home and sometimes things are brought home after a shopping trip that I wouldn’t buy myself. My will-power can only hold out for so long, especially when my sanity is barely hanging on with raising lots of children. I will never win this and I’m just in survival mode.


  3. Hi Sheri,

    Thank you so much for sharing all this info and links about raw milk.

    I personally have never met anyone who cleared up their skin from drinking raw milk. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but from the people I know who’ve tried substituting pasteurized milk with raw milk products, their acne didn’t get better.

    I really believe this is case by case, everyone is different, and the results someone would get depends on how healthy their overall diet and lifestyle is. Currently we do have one of our subscribers who’s doing an experiment to see if it makes a difference in her complexion if she consumes raw milks products instead of pasteurized. It’ll be interesting hearing back from her, and I’ll definitely let you know!

    Thanks again Sheri for sharing all this information with us, the more options and things to try, the better 🙂

    • Thank you, Natasha! It’ll be interesting to see how it works for her. I know that raw milk has been crucial for healing in many people, but because of current outdated government regulations, it’s difficult or impossible to get raw milk for many people, either that or they’ve just never even heard about raw milk and so they think that all milk is the same. As far as acne, specifically, is concerned, here is a video where a young man tried everything to clear up his severe acne, even Acutane, and nothing worked. Then he gave up pasteurized milk and started drinking raw milk and his acne started clearing up. He says that the more he drank the better his skin got. The part about his acne starts at about the 1:45 mark.

      Yes, every body is different and what works for one may not necessarily work for another, but it definitely worked for him! And seeing how raw milk has healed a variety of ailments in many people, it’s no wonder that it can heal the skin as well.

      As you know, people have been drinking raw milk for thousands of years. Since we were blessed with the invention of photography in the 1800s, we have the opportunity to see the skin of some of the people from the past. I’ve always been amazed as I’ve looked through my grandparents’ photo albums and seen them as young people with all their friends, etc. and they all have beautiful skin! I’ve never seen a photo from the distant past where a young person has acne or any other type of skin problem. I’ve always found that incredibly intriguing, especially since skin problems seem so common among the young (and up) today. This is why traditional diets (i.e. based on Dr. Weston A. Price’s 1930s worldwide research) are of such great interest to me. Obviously, they knew things that have been lost to us today. But, thankfully, many are starting to recognize this and are turning to the old “forgotten” ways.

    • Ps. The reason why milk doesn’t clear my acne and lots of acne sufferers (despite what’s ever form of animal milk) is the casein.

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