Got Zits? … Got steroid hormones! from milk.

from Robert Cohen’s

Last year, the Harvard School of Public Health
produced this study:

JOURNAL: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
CITATION: Volume 58, Issue 5, Pages 787-793 (May 2008)
TITLE: Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys
AUTHORS: Clement A. Adebamowo, Walter C. Willett
OBJECTIVE: “We sought to examine the association between
dietary dairy intake and teenaged acne among boys.”



Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health,
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School, Boston
Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover


“We found a positive association between intake of
skim milk and acne. This finding suggests that skim
milk contains hormonal constituents, or factors that
influence endogenous hormones, in sufficient quantities
to have biological effects in consumers.”

This study confirms what scientific researchers
have previously determined.

Acne occurs when steroids (androgens) stimulate the
sebaceous glands within the skin’s hair follicles.
These glands then secrete an oily substance called
sebum. When sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells
build up on skin, pores become blocked, creating
a zit.

“As pointed out by Dr. Jerome Fisher, ‘About 80
percent of cows that are giving milk are pregnant
and are throwing off hormones continuously.
Progesterone breaks down into androgens, which
have been implicated as a factor in the development
of acne…Dr. Fisher observed that his teenage
acne patients improved as soon as the milk drinking

Don’t Drink Your Milk, by Frank Oski, M.D.
(Director, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine)

“Acne usually begins at puberty, when an increase
in androgens causes an increase in the size and
activity of pilosebaceous glands…if a food
is suspected, it should be omitted for several
weeks and then eaten in substantial quantities
to determine if acne worsens.”

MERCK Manual, Merck & Company, 2000

“Acne is an end-organ hyper-response to androgens…
These data show that sebaceous glands are stimulated
by androgens to varying degrees and support the
theory of an end-organ response in acne.”

British Journal of Dermatology, 1998 Jul, 139:1

“Acne vulgaris is a self-limiting skin disorder seen
primarily in adolescents, whose etiology appears to
be multifactorial. The immunologic response involves
both humoral and cell-mediated pathways. Further
research should clarify the role of complement,
cytotoxins, and neutrophils in this acne-forming

Postgrad Med J, 1999 Jun, 75:884

“Hormones found in cow’s milk include: Estradiol,
Estriol, Progesterone, Testosterone, 17-Ketosteroids,
Corticosterone, Vitamin D, insulin-like growth
factor, growth hormone, prolactin, oxytocin…”

Journal of Endocrine Reviews, 14(6) 1992

“We studied the effects of growth hormone (GH) and
insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), alone and with
androgen, on sebaceous epithelial cell growth…IGF-I
was the most potent stimulus of DNA synthesis. These
data are consistent with the concept that increases
in GH and IGF production contribute in complementary
ways to the increase in sebum production during

Endocrinology, 1999 Sep, 140:9, 4089-94

Dave would love to hear from you.

Robert Cohen

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