Do Plant-Based Milk Cause Acne? Which Plant Milk to Avoid?

Plant milk

No, plant-based milk doesn’t cause acne directly but can trigger or aggravate them. By making informed choices one can switch to plant-based milk minus the menace of acne. 

Can going dairy-free cause acne?

Dairy has the following characteristics which are capable of causing an acne breakout. 

  • Dairy is low on carbohydrates but still has the capability to elicit an insulin response. The dairy proteins casein and whey trigger large yields of insulin which in turn triggers mass production of acne causing hormones.
  • Dairy has a protein called casein which causes damage to the gut. As the undigested casein passes through the gut, it enters  the bloodstream from the intestine, thus activating our immune mechanisms to treat it as a threat and trigger an inflammatory response.
  • Dairy has high calcium content which does not allow for the absorption of zinc and iron. Since most people who are acne-prone are deficient in zinc, it makes sense for them to let go of dairy.
  • Dairy is also the single most common food allergen. Lactose intolerance triggers inflammatory acne.

So if acne is troubling you, it is a good idea to learn the different varieties of milk available nowadays and the ways in which they react to human bodies.

ALSO READ: Can you have yogurt on an empty stomach?

Which plant-based milk is best for acne?

Different varieties of plant milk have specific characteristics. So, there is no specific answer to this question. Acne is caused due to hormonal imbalance, digestive tract disturbances, excessive oil produced by skin glands that act as a skin pore clogger, and allergies. 

So, if you know what triggers your acne, you can steer clear of the particular variety of plant milk which will cause you more harm than good. 

The alternative choices available nowadays and in popular demand are Oat milk, Almond milk, Coconut Milk, and Soy Milk.

Does oat milk break you out?

Oat milk may cause a breakout depending on how much you consume. 

Oat Milk in general has a lot of carbohydrates which will be around 20g/cup. Our body uses carbohydrates by converting them into glucose which is then absorbed into the different cells of the body including the brain. This absorption is facilitated by insulin. So it sounds like a simple physiological process, so how does it cause an acne breakout?

Enter insulin resistance which is typically a nightmare for people susceptible to acne. 

When we consume more carbs than required, it builds up glucose in our blood. This extra glucose does not get absorbed as the cells are already fully charged, and hence, the body starts releasing more and more insulin to reduce blood sugar.  A vicious cycle is formed where even for small amounts of glucose, the body releases enormous amounts of insulin.

Insulin triggers the release of the following hormones which trigger a break out of acne.

  • Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) which blocks pores by increasing  oil production from sebum glands on the skin.
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein-3 (IGFBP-3) also blocks pores
  • Interleukin 1 Alpha (IL-1 Alpha) which promotes inflammation.

Does almond milk cause acne?

People with acne have lower levels of selenium and vitamin E. Since, Almond milk is rich in these nutrients along with zinc and copper, they help clear up acne and make the skin all shiny.

But here is a slight catch, almonds are a known source of nut allergy. 

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in abundance in almonds which are beneficial for our health but can cause inflammation if going overboard with consumption. They react with different individuals in different ways. For some, it may be a boon and for some, it may become an ache.

The best solution will be to drink almond milk in moderation and keep a food diary, so as to know the effect of this on your skin.

Does soy milk cause acne?

Soy milk can cause an estrogen-androgen imbalance in the body and this can trigger an acne breakout. 

Soy is loaded with phytoestrogen which mimics our natural estrogen but is only half as powerful as the human counterpart. The phytoestrogen when present in the human body attaches itself to the estrogen receptors and cause an estrogen-androgen imbalance. 

Another cause of acne is digestive disturbances caused by soy. This is because it is highly chemically manipulated and highly processed and for maintaining good gut health, we should steer clear of unnatural food products.

A good practice would be to consume soy milk in moderation and maintain a food diary to keep track of the acne breakouts.

Does coconut milk cause acne?

Coconut milk is made from coconut that is a tree nut and is an allergen. It’s very unlikely that you have a coconut allergy, but if you are, then it could trigger a breakout of acne.

Coconut milk has a high-fat content and is loaded with antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties due to the presence of lipid, called lauric acid. The brighter side is it can be applied to the face directly or added to our cereals 

Coconut milk is a common ingredient in skin products as it is known to cleanse the skin and remove debris hence, unblocking the pores. Its hydrating properties and the fat in it smoothes the skin cells and have a soothing effect on irritated red skin.

In conclusion, we as individuals should be making an informed choice of which plant milk will be best suitable for our bodies. Drinking plant-based milk in moderation, knowing what exactly causes our acne, and remaining stress-free is the key to having beautiful radiant acne-free skin.