fbpx

Does Ghee Cause Acne? (Hint: It’s Great for Acne-Prone Skin)

What’s the first thing people tell you when it comes to diet and acne?

AVOID DAIRY!

In 99% of cases, this is pretty good advice.  I wrote an entire article on why dairy is a nightmare for acne here, but in summary:

  • Dairy is high in hormones, including IGF-1 and insulin.  They block pores, make your skin produce too much oil, and trigger inflammation (which causes pimples)
  • Dairy makes your body produce a ton of insulin (an acne-causing hormone) on top of the hormones it already contains.  That’s double trouble for your skin!
  • Dairy protein (casein) can damage the gut and make digestion difficult
  • Dairy contains a lot of calcium, which can actually make acne worse
  • Sensitivity to lactose, casein, and whey are extremely common, affecting upwards of half the world population

Okay, okay, okay, we get it, dairy clearly isn’t the best for your skin.

But if dairy’s so bad for your skin, then why do I recommend grass-fed ghee butter in the GoodGlow Diet Blueprint and even include it in my top 5 list of healthy fats for acne-prone skin?

That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article.

What is Ghee (Clarified Butter)?

Some of you might not even know what I’m talking about when I say “ghee”.

Ghee butter (clarified butter)

Ghee, or clarified butter, is essentially butter minus all the “bad” stuff.

Butter contains milk solids, which means it has trace amounts of lactose and casein.  A lot of people are sensitive to both lactose and casein.  This damages the gut and triggers inflammation – both problems for those with acne-prone skin.

Ghee luckily doesn’t contain lactose or casein.

Ghee is made by simply simmering butter at a high temperature, waiting for the milk solids to caramelize and impurities to boil off, and then straining the pure fat that remains.

What you’re left with is basically 100% pure butterfat – no lactose, no casein, no whey.

Ghee is grainy and a little more nutty-tasting than regular butter, but all and all I wouldn’t say they’re too different in taste and texture.

Why is ghee safe for acne-prone skin?

As I mentioned above, when you make ghee you remove all the milk solids from butter.  By doing this, you eliminate any trace lactose or casein from the butter.

Ghee isn’t just safe for your skin, it actually contains some vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for acne too, including vitamin A, D, E, and K.

What does this mean for your skin?

  • It means that even if you’re sensitive to most dairy, you should be able to handle ghee just fine
  • Because there are virtually no carbohydrates or protein in ghee, it won’t trigger any insulin, an acne-causing hormone
  • Very low in omega-6 fatty acids, which can trigger inflammation (which leads to red, angry, inflamed pimples!)
  • Extra vitamin A – vitamin A is one of the single most important nutrients for clear skin.  It helps with wound healing, antioxidant functioning, skin oil regulation, and proper shedding of skin cells (there’s a reason grass-fed beef liver is our #1 recommended natural supplement for clear skin)

On top of these factors, ghee is also an extremely shelf-stable and heat-stable fat.

Ghee is good at room temp for months at a time, and even longer in the fridge Ghee is also safe for high-heat cooking.  It has a smoke point of over 450°F, which means it won’t oxidize (go bad) at high temps like other fats or oils.

Despite all this good stuff, there is one caveat: not all ghee is created equal.

The wrong type of ghee might still give you acne.

Why low-quality ghee can make you break out

Conventional dairy cows are raised in factory farm environments.

They are fed a diet of corn, wheat, and soy (all acne-causing foods), and forced to stay in extremely confined spaces.

The end result is a huge cow with a ton of hormones and toxins loaded inside it.

Don’t take my word for it, there is plenty of evidence out there that factory-farmed cows differ from grass-fed cows in their nutritional profile.

Grain-fed cows are:

  • Higher in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids – a recipe for acne
  • Lower in anti-inflammatory, healthy omega-3 fatty acids that fight chronic inflammation
  • Many grain-fed cows are given antibiotics, which can disrupt your gut and cause acne
  • Have less vitamin A, a crucial nutrient for clear skin

If you’re eating ghee from conventional butter and still getting acne, this could be the reason why.

On the flip side, grass-fed and grass-finished beef is among the healthiest meat you could eat, and luckily it’s becoming more and more affordable to go grass-fed.

Where can I buy grass-fed ghee?

There’s two options when it comes to getting high-quality ghee:

  1. Make it yourself
  2. Buy pre-made, organic grass-fed ghee online or at a local health foods store

I’ve done both, and the end result with each is about the same.

I personally really like 4th & Heart Himalayan Pink Salt Grass-Fed Ghee Butter.

4th & Heart Grass-Fed Ghee Butter

I recommend 4th & Heart for a few reasons:

  • Sourced from grass-fed and grass-finished cows in New Zealand
  • Antibiotic and hormone-free
  • Cooked via traditional methods
  • The “Himalayan Pink Salt” flavor tastes incredible.

I’ve used it in Bulletproof Coffee and pretty much any dish that involves cooking.  On occasion, I’ll just eat spoonful or two of it plain.

How to Make Your Own Ghee

You can also make your own ghee if you’re trying to save money or have a solid grass-fed butter supply.

If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, load up on Kerrygold Butter.  Not only is Kerrygold affordable for the quality (~$3/stick), but it’s grass-fed, grass-finished, and organic butter from Ireland.

Making ghee is crazy simple, all you need is butter, a pot, a cheesecloth or filter, and something to put the ghee in when you’re done.

Here’s how I make ghee (or check out the video below):

  1. Put 2-4 sticks of butter in a pot and heat on medium
  2. Wait 20-25 minutes until butter is 260°F+ (if you don’t have a thermometer, check the bottom of the pan for browned milk solids)
  3. Let the ghee cool for 5 minutes
  4. Scrape off any white cream from the top that you can
  5. Pour the melted ghee through a cheesecloth and into your mason jar or container

Congrats, you just made ghee!

Putting it all together

Dairy can be a real problem for your skin:

  • It contains hormones that cause acne (IGF-1 & insulin)
  • When you eat dairy, your body releases even more acne-causing hormones (insulin)
  • Dairy intolerance is extremely common

Ghee gets around these issues by being pure butterfat.  However, low-quality ghee from grain-fed cows may still contain antibiotics, hormones, and omega-6 fatty acids that cause acne.

For this reason, it’s crucial to get high-quality ghee, either made at home from high-quality butter (Kerrygold is the best) or online through a high-quality supplier.

All-and-all, grass-fed ghee is among the safest fats out there for your skin.

Be careful though – everyone is different.  Even the trace amounts of dairy hormones may trigger acne in certain individuals.  Listen to your body and trust your instincts – ghee might not be for you.

Want more on eating for clean skin?  Check out my top 5 healthiest fats for clear skin (ghee is in there!) and my 9 top natural supplements for clear skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does eating ghee causes pimples?

No, ghee does not cause acne. In fact, ghee has lots of nutrients including vitamins A, K, E, and omega-3 fatty acids that help with the production of collagen.

Is ghee comedogenic?

No, ghee is not comedogenic. Because it does not contain lactose ghee can actually be used as a non-comedogenic.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

Get The Clear Skin Resource Kit

Everything you need to get permanently clear skin, including:

250-Page Comprehensive eBook​

Clear Skin Food & Drink Database​

Members-Only Content​


sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook! I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health. I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on. This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it. As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”. After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts. In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy. Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself. After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅 While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently. To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.


Leave a Comment

Optin-Splash

FREE Clear Skin Blueprint

Get the Diet + Supplement Blueprint and start your journey towards clear skin today!

- Food To Eat Guide
- Foods to Avoid Guide
- Meal Balance and Shopping Guide
- Supplement Guide

Close
Optin-Splash

FREE Clear Skin Blueprint

Get the Diet + Supplement Blueprint and start your journey towards clear skin today!

- Food To Eat Guide
- Foods to Avoid Guide
- Meal Balance and Shopping Guide
- Supplement Guide

Close