Studies linking the consumption of dairy to breakouts date back to the 1960s. In fact, doctors used to treat acne by recommending patients give up milk, says Alan Dattner, MD, a holistic dermatologist who practices in New York and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). But then, as medication to treat pimples became more effective and available, Dattner says, there was less of a focus on preventing breakouts through dietary changes. That didn't stop the evidence (and the anecdotes) from piling up over the years, and in 2010, an influential research review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found an association between dairy consumption and acne. Now the AAD suggests that acne sufferers talk to their dermatologist about limiting dairy to see if that helps.
Try this: Consider cutting back on skim milk, Dattner says, which has shown the strongest link with skin flare-ups. (Yogurt seems to have the weakest effect.)