Is Eating Yogurt Causing Your Acne?

Updated 12/1/17. Yogurt is so popular these days; Greek, custard, frozen, drinkable, the list goes on and on. From the extensive selection found in the grocery stores to all the frozen yogurt shops, Americans are eating yogurt more than ever before. These days, when I ask clients about their intake of dairy, many tell me they are eating yogurt up to several times a day whereas 30 years ago when I first became an esthetician, yogurt was almost non-existent in the American diet.

With this trend, I have seen an increase in my client’s skin with cystic acne—the type of blemishes that are hard, sore bumps under the skin that are known to be associated with eating dairy. They usually appear on the chin and jawline and can linger for weeks.

As a licensed esthetician and skin care expert with 30 years of experience, I have long known about the association between dairy and cystic acne. When a client comes to me for help with clearing his or her skin, if I see acne cysts on the lower half of the face, I always ask, “How much dairy are you getting in your diet?” For some it may be a lot and for others it may be very little, but I will still always suggest they cut out all forms of dairy. More often than not, the valuable feedback I hear from clients is how their skin cleared up once they eliminated dairy from their diet. Read why dairy may be the cause.

The best way to determine if your acne cysts are directly related to your intake of yogurt is to completely eliminate dairy for three full weeks. This includes not only yogurt, but cheese and milk too. If you don’t develop any new cysts in this three week time period, then this might be the solution to your problem. To determine if your body can tolerate any dairy at all, slowly introduce dairy back into your diet and if you start breaking out again, then this is your body’s tolerance level. Some people can still eat a fair amount, whereas others literally can’t have any without their skin breaking out. For me, I can eat small portions of yogurt and cheese daily, but when eaten in excessive amounts, I will definitely get acne cysts. For anyone trying to determine the cause of breakouts, you might consider keeping track of your every move with this calendar.

The good news is you may have just discovered the cure for your cystic acne, but the bad news is, you may have to give up or cut back on your favorite yogurt.

If you do get a cystic blemish, here’s the best plan for getting it to go away quickly:

Once a cyst appears, you have three options for treatment.

1. Get a cortisone shot injected into the cyst by a dermatologist. The downside of cortisone injections for cystic acne is that they are expensive, plus the time spent waiting in a doctor’s office, and more seriously, the skin can atrophy in the injection site and can end up looking sunken in. It usually is temporary but it can sometimes take up to a six months to bounce back naturally.

2. Dab on Renée Rouleau Anti Cyst Treatment immediately when the cyst forms and it will dramatically flatten the bump and reduce the visible healing time at least in half. Trust me, it’s truly a miraculous product to treat cystic blemishes. In fact, an Elle Magazine beauty editor said it best. “Anti Cyst Treatment saves me from pricey cortisone shots.”

3. Apply ice to reduce inflammation. If you don’t have a bottle of Anti Cyst Treatment, applying ice to the cyst can help take down swelling to reduce soreness. This won’t be a big miracle but it can help ease some inflammation.

Want to learn more?

How to prevent adult hormonal breakouts

11 common causes of breakouts

8 tips to prevent chin and jawline breakouts

Can foods cause my skin to breakout

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  1. Avatar

    What about dairy free and lactose free yogurt is that ok

    Posted By: Acne proned  | 

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      That can vary from person to person. I would say check with your primary care doctor, allergist, or dietician.

      Posted By: Ella Stevenson  | 

  2. Avatar

    I think it’s primarily the yogurt for me. Cheese seems okay, milk in moderation seems fine, but the yogurt is,not good. I tend toward the sweeter kind, Noosa brand. It’s delicious, but bad for my skin. Perhaps a half container once or twice a week would be okay. Dairy is such a good source of fat and it adds so much to other foods, I’d hate to lose it completely. I cut the majority of bread out, that was another culprit for me.

    I quit these things, then went back, then quit, then went back a few times. They are hard to let go of. I don’t think a person has to quit them completely to see and maintain results, but trouble foods should certainly not be on the daily menu. Once or twice a week. Obviously people are different and can handle different foods in different amounts. It becomes easier to let go of the ones you really liked when you finally see the proof of what they do to your body.

    Posted By: F  | 

  3. Avatar

    Is drinking yogurt bad for acne, as I’ve been having lots of zits after drinking milk, I am surely afraid of getting a lot again.and is putting yogurt on the face good for skin tone.

    Posted By: Julia jules  | 

    • Avatar

      Yogurt might have a calming effect on the skin but if you’re finding that drinking yogurt is causing you to get blemishes, then consider discontinuing it.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  4. Avatar

    Hi Renée;

    I was wondering if applying yogurt on your face as mask has the same effect as eating it?

    Posted By: hajar  | 

    • Avatar

      No, it would not have the same effect at all.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  5. Avatar

    While I was in grad school and was under a lot of stress, I discovered eating diary caused my cystic acne. I actually never had acne before this.

    I used to consume kefir everyday for breakfast and when I had stopped that, after two weeks I noticed I didn’t get any new bumps or blemishes. So I continued to avoid dairy for a year and my skin dramatically improved!

    I started to eat dairy again and I don’t have any problems with cystic acne but I try not to consume much dairy.

    Posted By: Michelle  | 

  6. Avatar

    Hi Renée,

    Will your product also remove scars from old blemishes?


    Posted By: Bridget  | 

  7. Avatar

    Finally, the answer I’ve been looking for! Thankyou!

    This is probably a silly question, but is lactose free milk still bad? I assume it is, as it’s not the lactose which is causing the acne?

    Posted By: James  | 

    • Avatar

      You’ll just have to experiment but generally, it is still problematic for people.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


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