FYI, Your Skin Screams For Non-Dairy Ice Cream

We asked a food writer to rate grocery store non-dairy ice creams--because everyone deserves to hoover a pint of ice cream without worrying about getting a cystic zit.
Publish date:
August 13, 2014
cystic acne, dairy, food and acne, ice cream, non-dairy ice cream, Renee Rouleau

That pint of ice cream you polish off in front of the TV may feel oh-so-good in the moment, but, according to some skin care professionals, your complexion may pay a price.

“When you get too much dairy for your body to digest, it can come out in the form of cystic acne on the chin and the jawline,” says Renée Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician. While Rouleau recommends treating breakouts, especially cystic acne, with everything from receiving Cortisone shots to dabbing on her Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment, there’s a simpler (and cheaper) solution: don't overdo it with dairy.

Since abstaining from ice cream (or eating a tiny scoop and feeling unsatisfied) is just too sad, I tried four non-dairy ice creams (and one non-GMO, more on that below) that can be indulged with abandon. Some were more delicious than others.

Purely Decadent

One taste of Purely Decadent’s vanilla flavor convinced me that non-dairy ice creams could match up with some of the best ice creams. Each spoonful was silky and rich; it made me second guess whether the ingredient list, which includes organic soy milk and brown rice syrup, was true. I didn’t think about it too long because I wanted to finish the whole container.

Almond Dream

As an ice cream base, almond milk works. The nut milk lends a hint of almond flavor in every bite and the texture is light and smooth. Bits of pecan studded the praline crunch flavor I tasted, which was just sweet enough.

Trader Joe’s

The downside of Trader Joe’s non-dairy strawberry ice cream, which is made from coconut milk, is that it has a somewhat artificial taste. The texture was more comparable to frozen yogurt than ice cream. On the upside, the overall flavor was clean and the recipe used the right amount of sugar.

So Delicious

While this flavor of So Delicious also used coconut milk, the balance was much better than the Trader Joe’s pint. The mint chip ingredients were bold and the consistency was smooth. For a non-dairy option, this popular brand is a perfectly fine substitute.


Talenti sources top-notch ingredients for its gelatos and sorbets, which shows in its nice balance of flavors. The texture can be a bit grainy, but you can taste the quality of the ingredients; the pistachio flavor wasn’t cloyingly sweet or artificial tasting. Yes, the gelato is made with milk, but the source of an ingredient matters: Talenti doesn’t use GMO products, and as Rouleau pointed out, most dairy cows are given growth hormones that have been linked to oil production in the skin.

What are your favorite non-dairy ice creams? Have you noticed a link between breakouts and overdoing it with dairy?