Acne, Milk And The Iodine Link
Dermatologists seem to agree that something in milk and dairy products may be linked to teenage acne.
But is it hormones and "bioactive molecules," as a study in the
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggested, or is there
University at Buffalo dermatologist Harvey Arbesman, M.D., says there could be something else: Iodine.
"It has been well-established since the 1960s that iodine intake can exacerbate acne," said Arbesman.
"Nevertheless, various studies have shown there is still a
significant level of iodine in milk in several countries, including the
U.S., Britain, Denmark, Norway and Italy.
"Farmers give their cows
iodine-fortified feed to prevent infection," he noted, "and they use
sanitizing iodine solutions on their cows' udders and milking
equipment. Consequently, there is lot of iodine in dairy products. For
that reason, I've advised my acne patients for years to decrease their
Arbesman suggests the connection between acne and dairy products
observed in the study could be secondary to the iodine content of the
"More importantly," he said, "the connection could be a combination of hormones and iodine."
It's important to bring the iodine connection to the fore to
encourage the dairy industry to address the issue, Arbesman said. He
suggested that future studies on the relationship of milk products and
acne should consider the role iodine content may play.