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Mara Kofoed

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Mara Kofoed is a wife, New Yorker of 12 years, and former entrepreneuer (Harvey Faircloth). She is planning for a family and blogs about her past struggle with infertility and divorce at her personal site, A Blog About Love.

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How I Took 5-10 Years Off My Face

By Mara Kofoed |


wedding day ice-cream cone

It’s about time I came clean with this….

It’s just too effective.

It’s too dang transformative.

No, we are not talking about all that blah, blah love stuff. (There will be plenty of time for that later :) )

We’re talking about how to look younger. How to reduce wrinkles. How to say good-bye to that haggardly, dry-patchy, perhaps red-y, splotchy skin.

And how to stop googling “how to unclog pores.”

You better believe I have tried every product on the market. All of them.  Prescription products, too. And so-called natural wonders. And Clarisonic-dermabrasion-chemical peel please help me miracles.

But nothing – nothingever, ever, ever changed my skin more than this…

I went dairy-free.

That single thing has changed my skin and appearance so dramatically, I can’t even believe it. My doctor did an allergy test and said I had a dairy sensitivity. Who knew. I sure didn’t. No other symptoms whatsoever. Just a lot of inflammation on my face (and likely throughout my body, unbeknownst to me.)

Since going dairy-free, I actually look in the mirror sometimes and can’t believe that I have THAT skin. I have THAT skin that I always stared at and coveted on my gorgeous European friends. It may not be quite exactly like theirs, since I have years of damage from bad skin. But…for me…my skin has never been clearer, brighter, and happier and I’ll take it.  I still feel like a European goddess because I know what my skin used to look like.

And – pinch-me-now – sometimes I don’t even wear foundation like all those women I secretly envied.

Now, getting there required a cold turkey approach. 100 percent. If I ever have a morsel of dairy — say in a dessert that a friend makes for me that I can’t pass up…well…I just brace myself for my old skin. It comes back in a jiffy. The next day I’ll look at the mirror and see the pores. I’ll see the uneven color. I’ll see the inflammation. I’ll look older. At least until I can get that dairy out of my system.

So, if you’re not totally happy with your skin, I can’t recommend enough to try going dairy-free. You just might have a sensitivity to it like I do and it may be worth a try for you to see if it works. In fact, the chances of this working for you are pretty high. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, “in 2009, a systematic review of 21 observational studies and six clinical trials found clear links between acne and dairy. Two large controlled trials found that cow’s milk increased both the number of people who got acne and its severity.” (You can read Dr. Lipman’s very informative article, here.)  Now, be warned that you might feel withdrawal symptoms when you go off of dairy (headache, anxiety, jitters, depression). I did. I felt like a drug junkie. Not that I know what that feels like. :)   But my doctor said that’s what I should expect. So just carry through for a few weeks. And stock up on almond milk and coconut milk ice cream (the peanut butter swirl is amazing.)  And things may just get a lot better!


P.S.  I say still buy a Clarisonic and any Kiehl’s product you can get your hands on. Because now those wonders of the world will actually be able to do their job since they don’t have to deal with inflammation everyday.

Note: Going dairy-free worked for me, but make sure (as always) to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

Photo credit: Rachel Thurston

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10 simple food swaps to make recipes healthier
100-calorie snacks for your next midnight craving 
10 beauty secrets every woman should know

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About Mara Kofoed


Mara Kofoed

Mara Kofoed is a wife, New Yorker of 12 years, and former entrepreneuer (Harvey Faircloth). She is planning for a family and blogs about her past struggle with infertility and divorce at her personal site, A Blog About Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Mara's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “How I Took 5-10 Years Off My Face

  1. Alysa says:

    Haha, awesome! This is not what I was expecting to read. And yet I completely agree with you. My toddler son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy close to a year ago. He is now completely dairy free and the rest of us have cut way back. His skin, so sensitive and plagued by eczema before, is a million times better. MY skin is better and I’ve lost weight and have more energy. We do soy milk and soy butter, since the little dude also has nut allergies. Great advice!

  2. MilkFreeMom says:

    When I gave up dairy to accommodate my son’s allergies, I right away saw a huge improvement in my skin. I also dropped 5lbs with no other efforts! Check out my site where I talk all things non-dairy. P.S. You’ve convinced me to finally try out some Kieh’s products!

  3. Naomi says:

    I’ve been vegan since I was 13, and I never had to deal with the break outs and acne that all of my friends had during those years. I just bought my first tiny tube of foundation 6 months ago, for the occasional pimple that pops up! And there are so many dairy replacement products out there that are way more delicious and much healthier than the dairy options!

  4. Sarah says:

    This is so interesting! I have terrible skin, so I am for sure going to give this a try. How soon after going dairy-free did you notice a difference?

  5. [...] point. It’s not good for me. I don’t know how I know really, but it all started with this post from a blogging gal I like. Now, I’m not trying to say that I’ve got huge problems with [...]

  6. Saskia says:

    This is really interesting! I would have a hard time giving up my morning yoghurt & muesli for breakfast, but I’ve been experimenting with homegrown hair & skin remedies lately and this could fit the bill! Two questions:
    1. How long did it take before you started noticing changes in your skin, especially on your face? Are we talking one week, two weeks, a month? If I do this experiment I would give up dairy for a month and see what happens, unless you say it takes longer!
    2. What are your experiences with other types of animal milk– such as goat’s milk or cheese?

  7. Isabelle says:

    Thank you for the dairy free tip! I started eliminating nuts and already see a difference, next thing to take off my diet is dairy. What I can’t agree with is Kiehl’s products, they have great marketing but are in fact full of toxic chemicals. Better are organic skin care products. Keep on blogging, its amazing! x

  8. Erin says:

    Thanks for sharing! How long after going dairy free did you notice a difference? And were you suffering from clogged pores in addition to actual blemishes? If so, did these clear, too? That’s my main issue right now.

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