Back when I started my dermatology training, there were still a number of older dermatologists who had trained before the era of widespread use of antibiotics, who told their acne patients to stop drinking milk to improve their acne condition.
That advice became unpopular for about 30 years, with the easy use of tetracycline to calm acne and avoid the issue.
But during the past decade, a study on nurses and then two subsequent studies on their sons and daughters (published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2005-8,) demonstrated a definite association between drinking milk, and especially skim milk, and acne occurrence.
The fact that skim milk had a greater association suggested that it was not the fats, but possibly the hormones in milk, which were causing the problem. Milk contains hormones like progesterone, because 80% of the cows producing milk have recently been pregnant.
But milk also possesses a number of androgen-related hormones that go on to influence the sebaceous gland unit to form an acne lesion. Dr. William Danby, who was involved with these studies and lectured on this subject at the recent American Academy of Dermatology meeting, pointed out that the androgens in cows’ milk cause acne, but are different than human androgens.
As a result, the production of the body’s own androgens are not turned off by their presence, as in a normal feedback loop situation. That would be like having another heater in your house not wired to the regular thermostat, and wondering why it was getting so hot. So cow’s milk androgens turn up the male hormone activity that is driving the acne. I will discuss other ways milk may aggravate acne in future blog.
Do your own dairy experiment by cutting it out of your diet completely and see if it has any effect…
I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed as a member of the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council, a leader in providing objective information on the various uses of herbs in both healing the body and in commerce I will act as an expert advisor on herbs and the skin.
Herbs are very helpful for a variety of skin issues. Many of the herbs I have been using for years are just now appearing in products on the exhibit floor of the American Academy of Dermatology national meeting. For example, licorice and curcumin are being incorporated into anti-inflammatory herbal preparations. Green tea extract and red wine resveratrol are being used as part of the antioxidant mix in anti-aging products applied to the skin.
I look forward to sharing more with you in the future on natural and herbal skin care.
The American Botanical Council (ABC) announces the addition of several new members to its Advisory Board. These esteemed individuals — with diverse academic backgrounds ranging from analytical chemistry, oncology, and pharmacognosy to environmental science, aromatherapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine — are committed to promoting healthier living through herbal and plant-based medicine. Advisory Board members volunteer their time to peer review articles that appear in HerbalGram, HerbalEGram, HerbClips, and various ABC publications. Additionally, HerbalGram editors seek feedback and advice from Advisory Board members on issues such as research questions, article ideas, ABC policies, book reviews, and much more.
The new Advisory Board members include an oncologist, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, a dermatologist, a nurse/aromatherapist, a nutritionist, a doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, a mycologist, a geneticist, two pharmacognosists, two family practice physicians, two natural product chemists, and two environmentalists.
“We are deeply grateful to include these experts on the ABC Advisory Board,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “For many of these individuals, receiving official ABC Advisory Board status simply formalizes an already established, long-term relationship in which many of these friends and colleagues have been contributing their time and expertise to ABC and many of its publications as expert peer reviewers. The wide spectrum of scientific and clinical expertise held by these individuals as a group reflects the increasing complexity and sophistication of the modern herbal movement and of ABC’s vital nonprofit educational mission.”