Do You Have Dairy Face? Here's How to Fix It

Updated 11/18/16
US Dairy Export Council

As beauty editors, we're always on the hunt for the latest and greatest products that will give us flawless, glowing complexions, but sometimes these "magic elixirs" we come across just don't seem to cut it. Turns out this isn't necessarily the fault of our products, but rather the inner workings of our own bodies. Allow us to explain.

As the saying goes, you are what you eat, and that couldn't be truer. Your skin reacts to what you put inside your body, and in some cases, your diet can wreak havoc on your skin. Case in point: a phenomenon called "dairy face." Milk, cheese, and the like could actually be the main culprits for dark circles, under-eye bags, and white spots. Why does this happen, you ask? We turned to Maria Bella, owner of Top Balance Nutrition in NYC, to find out.

Bella explains that milk is a big aggravator for acne. What's fascinating is that people who eat Western diets (foods heavy in high-fat dairy, refined grains, red meat, and sugar) are much likelier to have skin issues than populations who don't eat dairy or refined carbs (like Pacific Islanders). Dairy, especially, results in an increase of sebum (the oily secretions that cause acne). Another issue? Milk hormones. These often cause inflammation of the skin, as well as premature aging and skin breakdown.

Yikes! Sounds like that late night of Netflix and Cherry Garcia is giving us dark circles for reasons beyond just staying up until we finish the series.

If you've noticed any of these issues on your own complexion, dairy may be the culprit. But what would happen if you cut out dairy entirely? According to Bella, it's not an issue: "There are no major risks on leaving dairy out." She explains that while adult women need 1000 mg of calcium every day, this can be achieved through foods like fish, beans, figs, collard greens, kale, soybeans, spinach, and hummus, among many others. You can also look into taking a daily supplement, like NatureMade Calcium Supplements ($13), but be sure to consult a doctor first.

Has your diet negatively affected your skin? How did you fix it? Please share with us below!

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