According to a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, milk consumption may be associated with an increased risk for acne.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 13 observational studies (9 case-control, 4 cohort; n=71,819) identified through a literature search on Pubmed, Embase, Medline, and Cochrane Library databases.
The pooled results of all trials showed an increased risk for acne in milk consumers vs non-consumers (OR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.09-1.24). A subgroup analysis of different milk forms showed that skim milk consumers (OR, 1.24; 95% CI,1.13-1.37) had a higher risk for acne vs low-fat consumers (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.08-1.22) and full-fat consumers (OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.05-1.21). Higher milk intake was linked to an increased risk for acne vs medium milk intake (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.01-1.24 vs OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.00-1.17). Milk intake was positively associated with moderate to severe acne risk (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.01-1.37), but not with mild acne risk (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.86-1.51).
According to the authors, components of milk are known to target and influence rapamycin complex 1 (mTOCR1) signaling, which further promotes synthesis of gonadal hormones and androgen, enhances androgen bioactivity, and stimulates androgen receptor signaling which may have a role in the pathogenesis of acne. They call for further research to compare the effects of skim milk versus full-fat milk in activating mTORC1 signals and to explore the effect of milk processing, pasteurization, and microRNA bioavailability on acne pathogenesis.