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Can butter cause acne?

by (126) Updated July 12, 2013 at 7:09 PM Created July 29, 2011 at 3:53 PM

So I'm usually pretty strict about eating a good paleo style diet. I mostly eat grass fed beef(i eat marrow often, and liver once or twice a week) along with sweet potatoes(or yams) and sometimes I'll heat up some frozen vegetables. Anyway, I still have a lot of pimples. I can't imagine that it's the beef, sweet potatoes or vegetables themselves, but I do use a LOT of butter with the potatoes and veggies(sweet potatoes with butter are delicious). By a lot, I mean sometimes I go through a stick and a half in 1 day. Should I try cutting out butter to see if that helps?

Oh, and it's usually organic store bought butter, or kerrygold, which is grass fed.

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7741 · July 29, 2011 at 4:17 PM

When I was VLC and didn't eat a lot of vegetables, I still had acne (although it was better than it had been in many years).

Dairy products such as yogurt and cheese seemed to aggravate my skin. When I cut those out, but still ate lots of butter and cream, it improved.

Now I am moderate carb 'primal' (still eat butter, cream, but restrict solid dairy products ETA: just in case, and because they make me phlegm-y. When I do indulge, I do not get pimples any more) and eat lots of veggies. My skin is clear and beautiful for the first time since I was 14. I also take a zinc and kelp supplement irregularly, and D when I am not getting sunshine. Zinc and idodine are both factors for those of us who struggle with acne.

It's a delicate balance and IMO it goes far beyond one particular food aggravating the skin. It's much more to do with having good nutritional and hormonal status, and a varied whole foods diet is the best thing for that.

It took over a year of primal eating, and lots of experimenting, before my acne was cured. How long have you been doing this?

ETA #2: I consume up to a pint of heavy cream per day, go through 3-5 pints per week usually. Again, my skin is gorgeous, so that is definitely not causing me problems.

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55320 · July 29, 2011 at 4:04 PM

I you have an android phone there is an app called Task:Life that's supposed to remind you to do daily tasks and record your success in % days accomplished. I bet they have something like it for iphone. Either way, I wanted to test whether nuts made the skin on my legs break out, so I put two daily questions:

  1. Did you eat nuts?
  2. Did your skin breakout?

Of course to really test this a nut-free (butter for you of course) and a nut-full week or even a month would be good, but once you have the data you can see if there is a correlation at least. I don't have enough data points to do that yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

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77348 · July 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM

one more person chiming in to say that dairy messes up my whole system! i'm mildly lactose intolerant, but can eat hard cheese or common butter (where there's still a bit of lactose, unlike cultured butter or ghee) without getting a stomach ache. but... it gives me terrible acne, and slows down bowel movements, produces excess phlegm, and leaves me with a funky taste in my mouth for about 24 hours.

make sure the butter you're using is high quality, or fermented. or ghee! or just switch to coconut oil.

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930 · July 29, 2011 at 5:33 PM

I believe dairy causes skin issues. My husband has psoriasis and tried a raw milk fast for 3 days and his psoriasis and acne flared up tremendously. Since going off and eating a strict Paleo diet he is seeing relief now. He was surprised because in his mind he always linked the skin issues to gluten/grains.....

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4145 · May 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

I haven't had any dairy other than butter for a few months but I am still having some skin issues. I am mildly lactose intolerant so I didn't think anything of it. Well, I've eliminated it for three days and my skin is noticeably improving. Acne improved somewhat but the biggest thing is I have this redness around my right nostril that has been there forever and it is finally fading. Who knows if this is related to something else, but I am going to keep away from butter for another month and then reintroduce and see if my face skin blows up. Now I am just embarrassed that it took me so long to consider butter dairy... stupid, stupid, stupid.

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1449 · July 29, 2011 at 5:33 PM

The only way to be certain would be to eliminate the butter while keeping the other variables the same. Try a 30-60 days butter free and see if you're still having problems. I'm going through the same thing (shoulder acne) but eliminating other things first, and hoping it's not the butter :)

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11251 · July 12, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Yes. I think Kerrygold's process leaves more casein in the butter than other brands. One woman found Irish made butter caused acne while some other brands didn't. Ghee or clarified butter is even better because the process gets the remaining proteins out.

I think there is a big cross reaction going on between casein, something in wheat (gluten or gliadin), and whatever the hell is in soy (even soy lethicin can cause problems). These can all cause acne.

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0 · July 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Hi! I've been on the Virgin Diet since the beginning of 2013 (it eliminates dairy for 3 weeks (along with other foods!) then you reintroduce them and see what it does to you...I systematically DON'T EAT dairy (bar an occasional treat) and my face is SO clear!! I can tell you from my experience Ghee and butter does the same to my face! So I would 100% believe its the butter you're eating....I would switch to bacon fat or coconut oil! Love them both!! Good Luck!!

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10 · May 08, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Hi, Any sort of fatty foods (chocolate, candy, McDonald's and, yes, butter) can give someone acne.

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0 · August 04, 2011 at 8:16 PM

If you look at the writings by Loren Cordain, you will see that both the potatoes and butter could be your problem. By his definition, if you are eating either, you are not eating paleo. He describes the details of how grains, milk products and legumes all contribute to acne ... and nuts may be a factor as well.

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8883 · July 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I stopped getting acne after vitamin D supps, cod liver oil, zinc, tons of coconut oil in my diet, no carbs except vegetables, and by living a non-stressful life. I also drink rooibos tea, go out a lot and wash with dead sea salt. I use sangre de grado and aloe vera to heal skin.

The difference between my skin now and my skin 2 months ago is enormous :) I actually thought about eating butter because it has vitamin K2 in it, but I decided not to do it because I hate the smell of ghee.

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154 · July 29, 2011 at 4:59 PM

It did for paleo pepper, she blogged about it not long ago.

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809 · July 29, 2011 at 4:08 PM

How much vitamin A do you consume from liver, CLO, or supplement? If zero that could be part of the problem.

Vitamin A is important for the skin and I basically cured my low level skin acne from large doses of vitamin A. I do about 20,000-40,000 IU in supplements daily.

Vitamin D is important too and interacts with Vitamin A.

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