It may not be the chocolate and pizza that threatens many teenage girls’ complexion but milk- skim milk, in particular may be the more likely culprit.
The message is that milk is a biological fluid, the consumption of which may have effects on consumers beyond its nutrient contents. This does not mean teenage girls, or boys for that matter, should stop drinking milk. Milk is a traditional part of the diet in most homes. Moderate consumption of any type of milk is recommended, Health News reported.
To determine whether milk or other dairy products is associated with acne outbreaks, researchers from Harvard University analysed survey responses from 47,335 women.
The women were asked about their diet in high school, particularly the frequency with which they consumed dairy foods and whether they usually drank whole milk, powdered milk, low-fat milk or skim/nonfat milk. They were also asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with severe teenage acne.
Although most (61 percent) of the women drank whole milk as teenagers, 20 percent drank low-fat milk, 7 percent drank skim milk and 2 percent drank powdered milk.
Those who reported drinking more than three servings of any type of milk each day were 22 percent more likely to report having had severe acne than those who drank only one or fewer servings per week.
Women who consumed two or more daily servings of skim milk, in particular, were 44 percent more likely to say that a physician had diagnosed them with severe acne during their teen years than those who drank one or fewer servings per week.
While whole milk and low-fat milk were not found to be as greatly associated with teenage acne, other dairy products, such as instant breakfast drinks, sherbet, cream cheese and cottage cheese were associated with acne. Women who ate one or more servings of such products per day as teenagers were up to 63 percent more likely to say they had severe acne during their teen years.
Contrary to what some might think, chocolate candy and soda were not associated with teenage acne. Those who regularly consumed French fries and pizza also did not appear to be more likely to report having had teenage acne.
Since skim milk was more greatly associated with a history of teenage acne than whole milk, the acne was probably not due to the milk’s fat content, the researchers speculate. They hypothesize that the association may instead be caused by the hormones in milk.
Despite the above findings, the researchers suggest that further studies are needed. In the meantime, teens should continue to drink moderate amounts of milk, even if they wish to avoid skim milk based on the current findings.