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Can butter cause acne?

by (126)
Updated 27 minutes ago
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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4176 · May 20, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Well! How about that. I don't get nearly as much sun as everyone around here gets (I have an autoimmune disorder where my body attacks itself with sun exposure - fun). However, I have been cycling in more liver. I am going to skip a week and then add it in again and see if there is a difference. Argh, so many variables!

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2048 · May 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Liver is also a huge rosacea trigger.... Makes me regret all the times I choked down yucky liver because I thought it was helping my skin...

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9
2048 · May 20, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Redness around right nostril --- I had the same thing, as well as what I thought was occasional acne, but NO! It was actually rosacea! You might look into rosacea especially if you are of Northern European background. My right nostril used to get really red and swollen and I didn't know what was going on. Paleo didn't help. As it turns out, many things people recommend for acne are NOT recommended for rosacea. (Sun is the biggest one!) Dairy is also perhaps the best-known rosacea trigger...

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5232 · August 04, 2011 at 8:18 PM

The formal paleo greeting: Hello! How are your stools?

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7967 · August 04, 2011 at 5:59 AM

WaveHunter: it's possible to OD on retinol which is dangerous, toxic levels cannot be excreted, retinol uses the same pathways in the body that vitamin D does and thus can contribute to D deficiency, and it's very easy to get much much more than RDA from real food. Based on all that I think huge amounts of supplemental retionol are a bad idea.

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812 · July 30, 2011 at 5:50 PM

nice sounds like your good on a and d

244293be0b369882b5de4c5cc2efa6ce
126 · July 30, 2011 at 2:42 AM

I eat about 2 or 3 pounds of liver a week already. and I take 4000 IU Vitamin D every day, 2000 IU if I get a lot of sun.

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1811 · July 30, 2011 at 1:52 AM

I find that fermented raw milk dairy has the opposite effect on my skin - it actually improves my acne. A recent review making the paleo circles (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21281494) discusses the benefits of yogurt and CLO on acne.

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1811 · July 29, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Weird. I have issues with dairy but I find raw, grass-fed dairy actually improves things.

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7967 · July 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Since I started with the occasional zinc supplement I don't have the spotty white nails for the first time in my life... not that that was a problem really, but it's interesting. I get slightly over RDA many days of zinc from all the red meat I eat, but RDA is a pretty rough guideline and it may be that many people need more, or much more, of a certain nutrient... especially if they were formerly deficient.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083
2399 · July 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

What a great app.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083
2399 · July 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Antibiotics usage ? How are your stools ?

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812 · July 29, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Why would you advise against 'massive' supplementation of vit A?

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24271 · July 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Ditto on the zinc. You can have my bottle when you pry it from my cold dead hands. Also supplementing D, B3 and B5 have shown good results for many.

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7967 · July 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

I would advise against massive A supplementation of this nature, but I think maximizing retinol consumption in whole foods is a great first step. I go very far over my RDA of retinol daily from heavy cream, eggs, liver and other animal products.

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1072 · July 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Same here, I'd been dairy free for months then caved in and had some greek yoghurt - skin blotches on my face overnight. Back to coconut cream...

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812 · July 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM

And for you it could not be vitamin A, it could be vitamin D. Or even zinc or iodine like AnimalCule said. Or it could be PUFA detox. There are a lot of variables that you have to control.

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d
812 · July 29, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Grass fed beef fat and marrow barely have any retinol. Liver has a lot but unless you're eating 1lb per week you probably need more Vitamin A. I personally get Vitamin A Supp from Whole Foods derived from CLO which is really cheap but has maybe 1/4 gram of soybean oil which I'm not worried about.

244293be0b369882b5de4c5cc2efa6ce
126 · July 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Well, I think I get plenty from all the grass fed beef fat, liver and marrow that I eat. I can eat liver more often if that would help, my source is cheaper than CLO.

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13 Answers

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867
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7967 · 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.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867
7967 · July 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Since I started with the occasional zinc supplement I don't have the spotty white nails for the first time in my life... not that that was a problem really, but it's interesting. I get slightly over RDA many days of zinc from all the red meat I eat, but RDA is a pretty rough guideline and it may be that many people need more, or much more, of a certain nutrient... especially if they were formerly deficient.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc
24271 · July 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Ditto on the zinc. You can have my bottle when you pry it from my cold dead hands. Also supplementing D, B3 and B5 have shown good results for many.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad
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56606 · 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.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083
2399 · July 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

What a great app.

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78417 · 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.....

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb
1811 · July 30, 2011 at 1:52 AM

I find that fermented raw milk dairy has the opposite effect on my skin - it actually improves my acne. A recent review making the paleo circles (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21281494) discusses the benefits of yogurt and CLO on acne.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb
1811 · July 29, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Weird. I have issues with dairy but I find raw, grass-fed dairy actually improves things.

306905a32e76b5c0764a663ea7e88426
1072 · July 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Same here, I'd been dairy free for months then caved in and had some greek yoghurt - skin blotches on my face overnight. Back to coconut cream...

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4176 · 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.

23af3bd6a43affb8f3249cfe8cf9705d
0 · October 13, 2014 at 7:34 AM

I seriously just started considering this... I rarely eat any dairy EXCEPT Kerrygold, and as it's so delicious and Sisson-paleo approved, when I first went paleo I started including it in my daily diet. I have to say I used to have bouts of terrible cystic acne, and after I truly cut out all wheat for good, those awful painful ones cleared up.

 

BUT I still have tons and tons of tiny whiteheads around the jawline and chin (not visible to the casual observer but still). I guess I just wanted the butter to be good for me so badly because of the benefits of grass-fed butter I've read about, but since I've also been off ANY added sugar at all for two weeks, all grains and all other dairy... I'm starting to wonder if these white bumps (which I have a really bad habit of picking at) are because I eat a tablespoon or two of butter every day!

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb
4176 · May 20, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Well! How about that. I don't get nearly as much sun as everyone around here gets (I have an autoimmune disorder where my body attacks itself with sun exposure - fun). However, I have been cycling in more liver. I am going to skip a week and then add it in again and see if there is a difference. Argh, so many variables!

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9
2048 · May 20, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Liver is also a huge rosacea trigger.... Makes me regret all the times I choked down yucky liver because I thought it was helping my skin...

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9
2048 · May 20, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Redness around right nostril --- I had the same thing, as well as what I thought was occasional acne, but NO! It was actually rosacea! You might look into rosacea especially if you are of Northern European background. My right nostril used to get really red and swollen and I didn't know what was going on. Paleo didn't help. As it turns out, many things people recommend for acne are NOT recommended for rosacea. (Sun is the biggest one!) Dairy is also perhaps the best-known rosacea trigger...

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1436 · 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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11254 · 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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8933 · 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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812 · 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.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867
7967 · August 04, 2011 at 5:59 AM

WaveHunter: it's possible to OD on retinol which is dangerous, toxic levels cannot be excreted, retinol uses the same pathways in the body that vitamin D does and thus can contribute to D deficiency, and it's very easy to get much much more than RDA from real food. Based on all that I think huge amounts of supplemental retionol are a bad idea.

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d
812 · July 30, 2011 at 5:50 PM

nice sounds like your good on a and d

244293be0b369882b5de4c5cc2efa6ce
126 · July 30, 2011 at 2:42 AM

I eat about 2 or 3 pounds of liver a week already. and I take 4000 IU Vitamin D every day, 2000 IU if I get a lot of sun.

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d
812 · July 29, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Why would you advise against 'massive' supplementation of vit A?

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867
7967 · July 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM

I would advise against massive A supplementation of this nature, but I think maximizing retinol consumption in whole foods is a great first step. I go very far over my RDA of retinol daily from heavy cream, eggs, liver and other animal products.

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d
812 · July 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM

And for you it could not be vitamin A, it could be vitamin D. Or even zinc or iodine like AnimalCule said. Or it could be PUFA detox. There are a lot of variables that you have to control.

36b7a2776d028dc8d5743e2e56ece34d
812 · July 29, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Grass fed beef fat and marrow barely have any retinol. Liver has a lot but unless you're eating 1lb per week you probably need more Vitamin A. I personally get Vitamin A Supp from Whole Foods derived from CLO which is really cheap but has maybe 1/4 gram of soybean oil which I'm not worried about.

244293be0b369882b5de4c5cc2efa6ce
126 · July 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Well, I think I get plenty from all the grass fed beef fat, liver and marrow that I eat. I can eat liver more often if that would help, my source is cheaper than CLO.

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