Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does drinking soy milk enhance melasma?"
Is there any evidence that soy milk has negative effects on your skin? Specifically, I've been noticing that my melasma seems to be getting worse, and I've heard that soy can do some strange things to your body. Should I avoid it?
Soy is a commonly talked about food in the medical community. There is much debate about the health benefits and harms of soy. Regardless, if you have a worsening problem with melasma I would suggest following up with your OB/GYN. In addition, a skin specialist, known as a dermatologist, can be helpful. Soy is a food product that contains estrogen like effects. Because of this, people have suggested that soy has effects similar to estrogen. There is thought that soy can therefore lower cholesterol, lessen menopause symptoms and maybe even reduce some types of cancer. However, these associations have never been proven. Melasma is a darkening of the skin during pregnancy. This is thought to be that estrogen or estrogen like hormones that are elevated during pregnancy stimulate melanocytes (skin pigmentation cells) to darken the skin. While it makes sense that estrogen like products in soy could worsen melasma, this has never been proven. It is unlikely that your soy intake is of significant enough quantity to cause a change in hormone levels that would effects melasma. While theoretical, soy likely does not change hormone levels enough to effect melasma. It is unlikely that you need to avoid it. Regardless, I would talk to your doctor to further address your melasma.