Dairy is seen as a staple food in most Western cultures but it can play havoc: In. Some. Bodies.

Read – not all.

Love it or like it?

I’m not addressing this subject because I’m an anti-dairy evangelist. This is for those who are thinking about dairy and suspect they may not be tolerating it well. It’s just that I’ve been noticing an increasing awareness and sensitivity to dairy more and more lately. I’ve also been learning more about it as part of being a holistic health coach. Personally, I’ve both included it and excluded it in my own victuals. The result? I do better and feel better when I don’t eat it. (Most missed when I’m excluding? Castello and parmesan cheeses! – sob 😭)  

When my goddaughter had her second child he was dairy intolerant. This meant she had to stop eating dairy while he adjusted. Was he naturally showing that cows milk is for baby cows not for humans? I don’t feel qualified to definitively call that one – I don’t think anyone is 100% – but it’s something I hear a lot! 

Did you know? 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.

Are you 40+?

I attended an evening not so long ago with a bunch of girls in their 30s and 40s. It was interesting that some of them were avoiding dairy now and then only. However, when they did their skin improved.

Now that I work with 40+ women on the daily I can see that perimenopause alters their digestion. Sometimes when this happens they develop issues with dairy. Many become intolerant to the lactose and casein found in it. It doesn’t happen to everyone – everyone’s body is very different – but it’s quite common. In fact, our 21-Day Hormone Detox program is dairy-free because of this.

via GIPHY              

We’re all about happy hormones for a happy life!

Did you know? The casein in dairy is meant to be as addictive as sugar or cocaine, which explains why it can be one of the hardest things to give up if you choose to go vegan.  

The Official Recommendation



The simple truth is dairy is pervasive in the standard Western diet and you’ll find it in everything from lattes and ice cream to pizza and cheeseburgers. Goodness knows down under its lauded as an essential part of traditional Australasian lifestyles. It’s interesting though that the recommended daily amounts have reduced over time. The NZ Nutrition Foundation and EatforHealth Australia recommend 2-3 serves per day.   



Does dairy contain hormones? 

There’s a lot of talk about the presence of hormones and antibiotics in dairy. Cow’s milk apparently contains naturally occurring bioactive hormones like insulin-like growth factor IGF-1. Those in the biz say this is OK though health researchers are exploring it. And unlike the United States, adding hormones to milk is banned down under and in the EU. (Thank goodness, this is awful.) The industry is also not allowed to supply dairy that has been exposed to antibiotics. 

As dairy alternatives such as almond milk, coconut yoghurt, and vegan cheeses have become increasingly accessible in recent years it’s become easier to live a dairy-free lifestyle. It can be more expensive, but it has become easier. And contrary to popular opinion your protein and calcium needs can be met with a plant-based diet. If you want to know more on that just email me here.  

So...drum roll….  

How Can Dairy Affect Your Skin? 


Despite its widespread consumption, scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that dairy products in the diet can have adverse effects on skin health and exacerbate certain conditions. Understanding the ways dairy relates to the complexion and using or avoiding it accordingly can be a powerful tool for achieving healthy skin. 


 Dairy is an inflammatory food and can irritate skin that is already prone to breakouts. When the body stays in a constant state of inflammation, its ability to naturally heal itself is compromised. Because dairy comes from pregnant cows and naturally contains hormones, it can cause hormone imbalance in humans, leading to adult acne, oily skin and breakouts.  


Casein, a protein found in cow’s milk, can be a trigger for eczema which is also known as atopic dermatitis. Switching to goat and sheep’s milk products which do not contain casein may be a good alternative for those with eczema who do not want to cut out dairy completely, although the inflammation caused by dairy products of any kind can still contribute to flare-ups. 


Consumption of pasteurised dairy has been linked to premature ageing of the skin due to the oxidisation of proteins that occurs during the process. Digestive enzymes found in dairy are also destroyed during the pasteurisation process which decreases the body’s ability to absorb all of the nutrients properly. This can lead to digestive trouble and contribute to skin breakdown. Switching to raw, unpasteurised dairy products can lessen digestive problems for those with lactose sensitivity. 

Using Dairy Topically Can Benefit Your Complexion  

Despite the adverse effects of dairy products for some bodies when consumed internally, some types of dairy, particularly yoghurt, can be an invaluable addition to skincare when applied externally. This can partially be attributed to the living cultures found in yoghurt which act as pre- and probiotics, balancing the levels of bacteria found on the skin. 


(meaning: looking the best you can for your age.)

When applied topically, antioxidants found in yoghurt fight free-radicals which lead to premature ageing and wrinkles. Dairy also contains lactic acid which acts as a gentle exfoliator while tightening pores to give the skin a firmer appearance.  

Brighten and Correct Blemishes  

The lactic acid found in dairy also works to lighten discolourations and even skin tone. A yoghurt face mask provides moisture to the skin, leaving it soft and supple rather than red and irritated as often occurs after harsher blemish-correcting treatments.   

Decrease Acne  

Because of its ability to balance levels of good and bad bacteria on the facial biome, a yoghurt face mask can help to clear skin by killing acne-causing bacteria. Although dairy is considered an inflammatory food, yoghurt applied topically acts as an anti-inflammatory treatment, decreasing facial redness and minimising the appearance of breakouts.  

How To ‘Do’ A Yoghurt Facial Mask 

The best way to reap the benefits of dairy is to apply a layer of plain or Greek yoghurt to the face and leave on for about 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Yoghurt sourced from organic, grass-fed dairies should be used to avoid contact with unwanted contaminants. While yoghurt can be used alone, other ingredients can be added to boost results. Mix yoghurt with a teaspoon of raw honey for extra moisture or the juice from half a lemon for added brightening power.  

Essential oils such as lavender can be added in a base of almond oil to increase the calming effect on sensitive or inflamed skin. For best results, and to avoid irritating the skin, use a yoghurt face mask before applying makeup, or after washing your face before bed. 








Hand photo by ian dooley on Unsplash




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