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Can Lactose Intolerance Cause Adult Acne?

author image Derek Buckner
Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.
Can Lactose Intolerance Cause Adult Acne?
Lactose intolerance does not cause any type of acne.

Adult acne can be just as embarrassing as teen acne, and the cause of acne at any age is generally the same. Adults can get acne all the way into their 50s and there are different types of adult acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The type of treatment method depends on the type of acne. Lactose intolerance, food allergies and diet do not cause acne. If your adult acne is troublesome, see your dermatologist.

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Lactose Intolerance

The American Academy of Dermatology states that diet has no impact on any type of acne. Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed on the symptoms alone, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain and bloating, gas, diarrhea and nausea. Symptoms typically appear within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or any type of milk products. Lactose intolerance is most likely to affect premature infants and older adults.


There are two different types of adult acne: persistent and late-onset. Persistent acne is acne that still has not cleared by your mid 20s. This type of acne can cause inflamed pimples and nodules that are tender and deep-seated. It tends to develop around the lower half of the face. Late-onset acne develops in those who have not had acne in years and suddenly see a rise in deep-seated pimples and nodules. Both types of acne tend to occur more in women than men.


Adults can get acne for a variety of reasons; however, diet is not one of them. Diet has no impact on acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The main culprit is fluctuating hormones, which is why adult acne tends to occur more in women. Women have fluctuating hormones due to their menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. Birth control pills can also change a woman’s hormone levels. Other causes of acne include a family history of acne, stress and products that are used on your hair and skin that clog pores and trap dirt, debris and bacteria under your skin.

Warning Signs

Adult acne can appear as a warning sign that you have an unknown underlying condition, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne can occur as a sign of polycystic ovaries or hyperplasia. You could also have a hormone-secreting tumor located on your pituitary gland, adrenal gland or one or both of your ovaries. The only way to know for sure is to have your doctor perform tests to rule out these conditions as possible causes of adult acne.

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