How To Prevent Acne From Whey Protein


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The Importance Of Protein For Acne

Does Whey Protein Cause Acne?

While many people think of protein as a way to get more energy, its actually a major problem when you consider its potential side effects. While protein is essential for your health, it is not good for acne. Some sources of protein you should avoid include milk, soy, and whey. These are all known to increase sebum, which can worsen acne breakouts. In order to prevent this from happening, try switching to vegan protein powders.3

It is important to remember that dietary protein can have a negative impact on acne. In addition to dairy, whey is the most common cause. While plant-based protein doesnt have the same bad effects as animal-based protein, it can be problematic for those with acne. Whey has been shown to increase the production of IGF-1, which stimulates oil glands and triggers the production of excess androgen hormones. If youre concerned about this, consider limiting your intake of whey protein and switching to an egg-based or plant-based supplement.4

In addition to whey protein, other protein sources can also contribute to acne. Whey-based supplements can increase insulin-like growth factor 1, which causes overproduction of sebum, the oily secretion that causes pimples. In addition to triggering insulin, whey also causes a spike in sebum and androgens, which over-stimulate oil glands and cause acne.

Now Does Plant Protein Cause Acne Too

Long story short, No, it does not. Since vegan proteins are completely plant based, they are a safer and healthier alternative to whey protein.

It is much easier for our body to breakdown, and digest plant based protein rather than dairy based ones.

The best plant-based/vegan protein powders dont contain any heavy metals.

There are various types of plant-based protein powders available in the market today, its best to look for something that will still be high protein value.

Seeds, grains, and legumes are the most common sources of plant protein.

Vegan protein powders can come in many forms like:

How Whey Protein Causes Acne

Lets start with a brief look at how whey causes acne. It comes down to a hormone known as insulin like growth factor 1 . IGF-1 is a growth hormone and thought to accelerate muscle growth, unfortunately it also accelerates acne.

  • Studies have found a correlation between IGF-1 and sebum levels, so the higher the IGF-1 levels the more sebum the skin produces.
  • IGF-1 reduces transcription factor FOXO1 in the skin cells. Acne-prone skin is already deficient in FOXO1, which is linked to all the major factors behind acne . So this moves the needle to the wrong direction.

To put it shortly, IGF-1 puts hormonal acne into overdrive.

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Lets Look At Some Research:

One study looked at five teenagers who ate whey protein. They stopped taking whey protein and their acne disappeared. When one of the boys continued to take the whey, his acne flared up again.

Another study looked at five older men. One stopped his whey protein habit, and his acne disappeared after six weeks. The other four men continued to consume whey protein, and their acne continued.

A third study looks at men and women. They all used protein powder, most of which was whey. Researchers found their acne before starting protein powder, one month into regular protein powder consumption and then two months in without it. At the start of the study, approximately half of men and women had acne. At the end of the investigation, they all did.

The study is not responsive to the difference between whey and other forms of protein, but it may be because the sample size used was too small to show any considerable difference.

It is important to note that when all of these studies can be small and uncontrolled, so we cannot say categorically that whey protein causes acne in everyone. However, these studies have shown a trend which means that it may be worthwhile to examine whether whey protein is a problem for you.

Protein Powder That Doesnt Cause Acne

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There are many protein powders on the market that dont cause acne. However, its important to choose one that is right for your skin type. If you have oily skin, for example, you may want to avoid protein powders that are high in whey protein. Instead, look for protein powders that are made with casein or plant-based proteins.

Thousands of people post complaints on the Internet every year about their protein powder making them break out. Because of the byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, protein that comes from whey and casein can cause acne. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum is produced by the bodys sebaceous glands and is an oily, waxy substance. Consuming food additives can result in gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. They spend more time in your gut than food should, so your gut bacteria can eat more. Artificial sweeteners, in addition to altering the composition of your gut microbiota, are among the most harmful additives over time.

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Whey Protein And Pimples

Whey protein is one of the two main proteins in milk – the other is casein protein. Whey is the liquid part of milk that settles out when cheese is made. To be processed into Whey Protein, the whey goes through a multi-stage filtration and drying process. Protein powders with Whey are especially popular with strength athletes. The protein it contains helps build and maintainmuscle.

Since Whey is a dairy protein and there is a controversial link between dairy and acne, many people believe that Whey protein shakes cause pimples or even acne. There are only a few case reports of acne associated with the use of Whey protein supplements in bodybuilders and strength athletes. However, these do not provide strong evidence to support the claim that whey protein powder causes acne or pimples. Unlike a controlled study, these few case reports lack a control group, so evidence of specific causes of effects is very limited.

However, due to genetic factors , some people are more prone to develop acne when they consume certain foods, including protein from Whey protein shakes. In addition, oily skin, humid environments, hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, obesity, and high-fat and high-sugar diets are associated with an increased risk of acne.

Whey Protein Might Be Related To Breakouts But Specific Research Is Inconclusive

Dermatologist Dr. Kathleen C. Suozzi, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine, told us in an e-mail that no large-scale controlled study has been done to determine if whey protein directly causes breakouts. There are, however, reports that show there is an association between whey protein and acne. This means that although the two are related, there is no definitive proof that whey protein causes acne.

Suozzi told us that the reports in question often focused on bodybuilders. These patients drank the equivalent of six to 12 liters of milk daily and had acne mainly on their chest and back. Suozzi noted, however, that there are other variables that could have caused this acne flare-up. Bodybuilders, for example, typically have a high use of anabolic steroids and high BMIs both associated with acne, Suozzi said.

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Not A Problem For Everybody

We can say that whey protein increases the risk of getting acne, but its obviously not going to give acne to everybody.

IGF-1/insulin pathway is just one way to get acne. For some people acne is more inflammatory and more tied to gut issues and food sensitivities. For these people whey protein may not cause any problems.

Heres a checklist of things that put you into high-risk group as far as whey and other protein powders are concerned:

  • You have oily skin. This means you either already have elevated insulin and IGF-1 levels or that your skin is very sensitive to these hormones.
  • You are insulin resistant with elevated post-meal and fasting blood sugar levels.
  • Your acne is aggravated by eating sugar and simple carbohydrates.

And keep in mind that you are not powerless in this struggle, see the oily skin remedies post for more.

Does Plant Protein Cause Inflammation

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Generally, plant-based proteins do not cause any sort of inflammation. However, recent studies have found that some plant-based remedies are actually helpful in reducing inflammation. They may even help improve your immune system. Organic plant-based proteins, those whose cultivation does not require the use of GMOs or chemical herbicides or pesticides, are even less likely to cause an allergic reaction like acne.

Now, some people are allergic to things like whey protein or soy. If consumed, these foods can trigger an immune response that could result in headaches, bloating, hives, nausea, inflammation, shortness of breath, and stuffy nose. In these cases, it would be prudent to avoid anything that might trigger that type of allergic reaction. Otherwise, plant-based proteins have not been shown to cause undue inflammation.

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What Is The Best Vegan Protein Supplement For Bodybuilders

A great alternative to whey protein is pea protein itll give you both a pre-workout energy boost and improve your post-workout muscle recovery. Pea protein also has a complete array of amino acids, including high levels of branched-chain amino acids . Peas are also free of both animal and soy proteins, and so theyre super ideal for people with lactose intolerance and vegetarians with soy allergies. Peas are also free of both animal and soy proteins, and so theyre super ideal for vegetarians with soy allergies .

Vegan non-dairy protein supplement for people with acne-prone skin can be made of pea protein, soy protein, and hemp protein.For the best options, you can try this type or this type.

The Recommended Dosage For Whey Protein

Commonly, health experts recommend around 1-2 scoops of whey protein which is around 25-50 grams daily after the workout. However, one must be aware of their regular diet as well. If the latter contains high protein content, the supplement can be avoided. Since whey proteins are a high source of protein intake, they shall be consumed only if the everyday diet lacks it.

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Drink Plenty Of Water

Water is essential for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. Dehydrated skin may actually produce more oil to make up for lack of hydration .

Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Bored with plain water? Sparkling water could be your new best friend. You can try carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go as a reminder.

What About Soy Protein Powder

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Although soy protein is a complete protein, it does have a couple of drawbacks:

Some research suggests it can have oestrogen-like effects . This can be helpful if youre a post-menopausal woman, but its not necessarily appropriate for everyone else.

Soy protein contains phytates, which can hinder the absorption of essential nutrients .

Neither of these issues is a biggie if youre eating a normal amount of soybeans and fermented soy foods. But, like whey protein and dairy, soy protein is a highly concentrated version of soy. More research is required before we know its sensible to consume soy protein isolate in large volumes.

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How To Choose A Quality Whey Protein Supplement

Whey protein supplements remain popular for supporting muscle growth and fat loss.

Unfortunately, substances known to cause acne, such as anabolic steroids or anabolic steroid precursors , have been detected in dietary supplements, especially those marketed to bodybuilders .

While illegal, the adulteration of dietary supplements with controlled substances or ingredients not listed on the label commonly occurs.

Therefore, its essential to be an educated consumer when it comes to whey protein and other dietary supplements.

There are generally two types of whey protein supplements available on the market whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate.

Compared with whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate undergoes more processing, which results in a higher protein content, lower calorie count, and less lactose and fat.

For this reason, whey protein isolate is more expensive than whey protein concentrate.

However, unless youre lactose intolerant or closely watch your calories, a whey protein concentrate works well for most people.

To ensure youre purchasing a quality product, look for those that have been third-party tested for identity, potency, and purity by an organization like NSF, USP, or Informed-Sport.

Supplement manufacturers do not require third-party testing, but many voluntarily choose to undergo testing to demonstrate their commitment to safety and quality.

Things To Keep In Mind To Avoid Acne

There are many other things you can keep in mind to help avoid or deal with acne breakouts:

  • Avoid wearing poor quality makeup as that often clog the pores on your skin allowing for the oils to accumulate and form pimples
  • Reducing stress I have great benefits as it is one of the primary lifestyle reasons for acne
  • Drink enough water daily to ensure your system is cleared and flushed out regularly and there is no accumulation of harmful toxins.
  • Avoid excessively high protein diets which contain too many animal and dairy proteins. Try to create a balance between plant based and animal/dairy proteins.

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Pimples After Protein Shake

Theres no definitive answer to this question since everyones skin reacts differently to different products. However, some people may find that their skin breaks out after drinking a protein shake, especially if its a whey-based shake. This is because whey protein can be quite drying and irritating to the skin. If you find that your skin breaks out after drinking a protein shake, try switching to a plant-based protein powder or adding a little more moisture to your shake .

If you consume a protein shake containing dairy, you may develop an allergic reaction. Milk contains two proteins in addition to casein and whey. Whey stimulates the production of the hormone IGF-1, which is similar to insulin. When you drink this, you may experience inflammation in your body, particularly your skin. Skimmed milk contains more milk proteins than regular milk because it is made with extra milk proteins to improve its taste and thickness. Re-wearing athletic gear, using a dirty towel, or sharing protective equipment are all common causes of acne flare-ups. Wear moisture-wicking clothing, take the shower, and avoid getting acne flares if you exercise.

How To Prevent Acne Breakouts Caused By Whey Protein

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  • Avoid wearing tight clothing during exercising. It may cause accumulation of sweat and sebum, leading to acne.
  • Shower immediately post-workout. Avoid using dirty towels and clothes to prevent bacterial growth and dirt accumulation in the skin pores.
  • Reduce the intake of whey protein. You may reduce the quantity or frequency and check how it is working. If there is no improvement, stop consuming it and look for alternatives.
  • Use a medicated acne treatment to reduce inflammation. Talk to a dermatologist for product suggestions.
  • Use a non-comedogenic cleanser, preferably with salicylic acid, to unclog the pores.
  • If you have acne-prone skin, avoid consuming foods with a high glycemic index like sugar, processed food, and carbohydrates. Also, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • You may check out vegan proteins instead of whey protein. Here are a few alternatives you may try to minimize the acne lesions without affecting your muscle-building goals.

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    The Debate On Vegan Proteins And Skin Health

    People are becoming more aware of the environmental effects of meat production as they become more aware of their health. Nonetheless, there is debate over whether vegan protein is as effective as animal protein in terms of skin health. According to some evidence, vegan proteins may be beneficial for skin because they do not contain the same hormones that boost oil production. Furthermore, plant-based proteins are high in antioxidants and fibre, which can aid in the maintenance of the skins health.

    How Can Whey Protein Make Your Acne Worse

    Whey Protein can make acne worse because it increases the production of a hormone called IGF-1, which stimulates oil glands to produce more sebum. This makes it harder for the skin to clear itself and makes acne worse.

    In addition to this, whey protein can also overstimulate oil glands. Overstimulation causes skin inflammation and irritation, which leads to more acne.

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    Does Whey Protein Cause Acne Protein Products & Skincare

    Lets face it. For a lot of us, whey protein is one of our go-to supplements when we want to build muscle mass. We take it with us to the gym, when we eat lunch–some of us will even use whey protein as a substitute for breakfast! But does whey protein cause acne?

    Any questions that you might have about whey protein and acne are going to be answered in this post. As one of the leading male skincare providers in the industry, its our responsibility to answer any questions that you guys might have. So does whey protein cause acne? Lets find out!

    How I Reviewed Each Protein Powder

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    As I put together this list, I wanted to make sure that I wasnt going for a one-size-fits-all type recommendation list. While I personally prefer animal-based protein powders when Im trying to up my efforts at the gym, Im aware that many of my readers follow vegan or vegetarian diets. So, Ive listed various categories and given appropriate recommendations accordingly.

    Ive also reviewed each protein powder according to what I consider to be the most important metrics for someone dealing with acne and not wishing to aggravate it further:

    • Does the protein powder contain any ingredients known to aggravate acne or acne-prone skin
    • Does the protein powder contain artificial sweeteners?
    • Is the protein powder laden with sugar or artificial flavorings?
    • Is the protein powder easy to buy and budget-friendly?

    Based on the above criteria and my own personal experiences trying these protein powders for myself, Im recommending what Ive found to be the best protein powders for acne that you can buy in 2022. Ive scoured ingredients lists from old tubs sitting in my cupboard, read certified reviews from buyers and analyzed each and every product in comparison with one another so that you can make a confident purchase.

    So, whether youre on a budget, a vegan or simply want the best overall acne-friendly protein powder, Ive put all the top options below.

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