How Quitting Dairy Saved My Skin

How Quitting Dairy Saved My Skin

Acne has plagued me since my teenage years & I thought I would have to live with it forever. I thought wrong. All it took was a change of diet and a new mindset.

15 years old, dorky, but athletic – I had my first run in with acne. Oh well right? It will pass in a few years, I just need to get through high school and then it will be gone.

18 years old, still playing sports in college, and I have a huge crush on my future husband – I had my first experience with cystic acne. It’s because of college stress, bad eating habits, and having bangs; it will go away once I get a good exercise and eating routine, right?

20 years old, no more college sports, in a relationship for a year, and working at Wendy’s part time while going to school – my forehead has cleared, but the acne has traveled to my chin, chest, and back. It’s because I am working in a fast food restaurant around heat, grease, and fryers all the time; it will clear once I get a different job, right?

24 years old, engaged, working my big girl job, exercising regularly & running races – I have been on prescription medicine and seeing a dermatologist for almost 3 years now, I am sick of taking the medicine (I HATE taking medicine), my cystic acne returns monthly on the dime, and I can tell you exactly where it will return at on my face.  It finally hits me that this isn’t going away. It’s been nine years and I am an adult with embarrassing cystic acne. When I talked to people, they looked at my acne. I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously at my job because I looked like a teenager.
I was sick and tired of feeling this way.

Me, on my wedding day with clear skin for the first time since I was 15 years old.

25 years old and 1 month away from getting married, I found an article about a girl who eliminated dairy from her diet and cleared up her skin; I was intrigued to say the least. I immediately stopped eating dairy – I drank Silk almond milk, started eating Silk dairy-free yogurt, stopped putting butter on my food, and tried my hardest to stay away from cheese (a big weakness for me). Would you believe that my skin cleared up right in time for my wedding? It’s true. I was flabbergasted.

But of course, since I finally had clear skin, I thought I could go back to eating normally and not have a problem. Boy was I wrong. My skin IMMEDIATELY flared up and I had cystic acne for three and a half months following my wedding. Everything that I worked so hard for was destroyed by a weekend of cheese, milky alcoholic drinks, butter, and ice cream. I found myself slathering my face with cover up, liquid foundation, powder foundation, and trying every skin clearing remedy on Pinterest.
Why did I do this to myself again? 

September 2016 compared to November 2016
September 2016 compared to December 2016










I am still 25. But I am a twenty-five year old who rarely eats dairy. Which is still hard for me – I am a dark chocolate fiend and sometimes I crave a really tall glass of cold milk. But what I crave more is the confidence that having clear skin gives me. I can set aside the cheese when making a dish and I have learned to say no to butter and milk chocolate. It’s a struggle but it is a positive lifestyle change that I want to achieve, no matter the difficulty.

January 2017 – Only scars remain.


How can dairy eff up your skin so much?

  1. Dairy is a natural source of sugar.

    Sugar can raise the glycemic index and it leads to breakouts. Milk sugars can shoot rapidly through the bloodstream.

  2. It’s Proinflammatory.

    Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods you could eat. Animal proteins contain inflammatory proteins (whey and casein) that have not only been linked to disease, but also to most skin problems. Fun fact: Casein protein is linked to food addiction. Every wonder why cheese is so hard to give up?

  3. The skin is the body’s biggest organ.

    When your body can’t digest certain toxins, the skin takes the brunt of the damage. These toxins come out through the skin in the form of rashes, and worse, acne. Dairy is hard to digest.

  4. Dairy is packed with natural hormones.

    All forms of dairy, even organic and varieties without added hormones, contain natural hormones that lead to acne. Dairy comes from cows that are pregnant so you are eating & drinking hormones from both the female and the male cow involved in the reproduction process. There are 60 some hormones in your average glass of milk.

I used to dream of a pill that would cure acne, but every pill I took just put my acne at bay for a couple of weeks. I used to lay in bed and wish to wake up with clear skin, but every morning I would look in the mirror and still see the red bumps making their way to the surface of my skin. I used to pray and cry and hope that anything or anyone could help me, and finally, I realized that the only person who could help me was me.


  • jessica

    March 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm Reply

    wow, great post…i’m so happy you’ve found your culprit so you could make a change and have found the confidence clear skin gives you. thanks for sharing!

  • Danielle

    March 14, 2017 at 2:59 am Reply

    I feel you. I get rashes on my face and body when I consume dairy products. My stomach distends like you wouldn’t believe… I avoid dairy as much as I can or know that I will be red faced and bloated.

    • WayfarerWife

      March 14, 2017 at 3:28 pm Reply

      It’s amazing how a daily staple can ruin your life! I never would have guessed that dairy could be the root of my problems. I will be posting my favorite dairy-free recipes soon. If you have any I would love to hear about them!

  • Lauren

    March 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm Reply

    I have the same problems, and you are so right! I had to give up dairy when nursing my son, and the difference in my acne was amazing. It is terrible to give up cheese, but I can definitely tell how much it helps.

    • WayfarerWife

      March 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm Reply

      Cheese has been the hardest thing to give up by far. I have a slice of pizza every now and then but that is as much cheese as I will allow myself.
      I am glad you were able to figure out that dairy was the cause of your problems. If you have any good dairy-free recipes I would love to see them!

  • Sandy

    March 14, 2017 at 7:29 pm Reply

    I wonder if this is my daughters issue with acne. I never had acne issues growing up but I didn’t drink a or eat a bunch of dairy either. This gives me something to think about.

    • WayfarerWife

      March 14, 2017 at 11:22 pm Reply

      My parents don’t have many skin issues so when I started to have problems we couldn’t figure out why. It took me 10 years of having cystic acne to realize that dairy was the problem. I would recommend giving a low-dairy diet a try for a couple weeks to see if it helps!

  • […] mentioned in my How Quitting Dairy Saved My Skin blog post, in order to achieve the clear skin I have now, I had to make several changes including […]

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