The Bottom Line: Will Protein Powder Cause Acne?

Will Protein Powder Cause Acne?

Are you a fitness enthusiast who’s been hitting the gym and religiously consuming your protein shakes and powder? Fear not, my friend! In this article, we’ll delve into the age-old question: will protein powder cause hormonal acne too? And we promise, we won’t just blame it on your teenage hormones. So grab a protein shake and let’s get into it.

What Causes Acne?

Despite acne prone skin being the bane of many teenagers’ lives, acne can also plague adults. It’s a little like getting a surprise visit from a distant cousin you don’t really like.

You can blame it on the usual suspects – genetics, hormones, and inflammation. It’s like a bad soap opera plot, but your face plays the lead role.

Then there’s more! Your diet can also contribute to increased risk of acne development. Who knew eating a mountain of donuts and washing them down with a gallon of skim milk daily, would have so many consequences? It turns out that consuming a diet high in refined carbohydrates and dairy products can increase the risk of developing acne.

Acne is like that friend who never leaves, always appearing uninvited, overstaying their welcome, and leaving a mess behind. But with a little knowledge and a few lifestyle changes, we can show acne the door and say, “don’t let the door hit you!”

For more information on managing acne, visit the American Academy of Dermatology.

Protein Powder And Acne

The potential relationship between protein powder and acne has yet to be established, however certain theories exist that hint at an association with protein supplements. High levels of protein supplements can cause elevation of insulin-like growth factor-1, which is related to acne.

Some choices of protein powder may also have added sugars and artificial sweeteners, further contributing to the problem.

Additionally, a person’s own diet could affect their susceptibility towards acne. If this is something you’re worried about, it’s best to talk it through with your healthcare provider.

Another very common weight loss myth that I hear is that eating too much protein will make you too bulky! If you are a weight loss and interested in learning about that I wrote an article called Debunking The Absurd Myth: Will Protein Make Me Too Bulky?

How Protein Powder Affects Hormones

The consumption of milk proteins dietary supplements of protein powder can lead to a variety of hormonal changes, such as the activation of muscle protein synthesis, resulting in greater in muscle mass and muscle growth due to milk consumption and its high concentration of amino acids.

It may also increase your levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which is associated with cell growth and division, although it has been linked to some health risks including cancer. Meanwhile, research indicates it can affect hormones related to hunger regulation, like ghrelin and leptin—often leading to reduced hunger and increased fullness.

However, the exact effects can differ depending on factors like type of blood sugar, of protein and individual characteristics such as age and sex; thus, speaking with a healthcare provider before beginning use is essential.

For may years there has been a very heated debate on whether eating or drinking any form of dairy products will help in acne breakouts. Some people believe that yes not all dairy products really does help cause acne, and others believe no, there is not evidence to support this claim

Acne is a super common skin condition among so many people, and you can especially se this in teenagers. It is usually caused by a combination of a few factors, some of which include excess oil production, clogged pores, inflammation, and bacteria. In terms of dairy products like milk and chess, some studies have shown that they could cause acne because inside they carry various hormones and other growth factors that could increase oil production and inflammation in the body.

On the other hand, there have also been many studies that show that there is no major link between acne and eating dairy products. An example being that a review of 14 studies published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2018 show that their was no strong evidence to say that dairy products cause acne.

Only factor that could affect this argument is that everyone’s skin is different and unique, meaning what works for one person might not work for the next. So while some people might find that reducing how many dairy products they eat will help with their skin, for you it might not.

If you are concerned about the relationship between dairy and acne, it is important to speak with a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They can help you determine the best course of action based on your individual needs and skin type. Additionally, it may be helpful to try keeping a food diary to track any potential triggers for your acne, including dairy products.

Other Factors To Consider

Genetics – Some people might have a higher chance to developing acne due to their genes.

Hormonal changes trigger acne- Hormonal can trigger acne: changes during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy can all contribute to acne.

Diet – Consuming vegan proteins with a diet high in refined carbohydrates and dairy products may increase the risk of developing acne. If you are interested in how much protein you should be eating I wrote a great article called Optimal Protein Intake for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts: The Ultimate Guide

Stress – High hormone levels because of stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and inflammation, which can contribute to acne formation.

Skincare routine – Using harsh or irritating skincare products can worsen existing acne or cause new breakouts.

Medications – Certain medications, such as steroids and birth control pills, can contribute to acne formation.

Environmental factors – Exposure to pollutants and other environmental factors may also contribute to acne formation.

Lifestyle factors – Lack of sleep, poor hygiene habits, and other lifestyle factors may also contribute to acne formation.

Tips For Preventing Acne

Eat a healthy diet with whole foods and avoid excess sugar

Use gentle, non-comedogenic skincare products and don’t pick at pimples.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Manage stress with techniques like yoga, meditation, or exercise.

Get enough sleep each night.

Don’t touch your face with your hands.

Use non-comedogenic makeup.

Consider prescription medications if over-the-counter treatments don’t work.

What Is Whey Protein and Why Is It Relevant

Whey protein supplements is the most common way to up your protein and dairy intake, because it not only is it a great source of protein but it is also convenient, but the question is does a whey protein supplement really cause acne or severe acne breakouts.

There is limited research on the direct relationship between whey protein consumption and acne, but some studies suggest that whey protein may increase the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that has been linked to acne.

Additionally, whey protein isolate is a dairy-based protein, from dairy products and some individuals may have a sensitivity to whey protein and dairy products that can contribute to acne breakouts.

Furthermore opting for a high-quality, whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, or milk protein isolate that is low in sugar and lactose may help lower the risk of acne breakouts. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, and practicing good skincare habits can all contribute to healthy, clear skin.

If you are concerned about acne and the various whey proteins or whey protein supplements you use, it may be helpful to speak with a dermatologist or healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice on managing acne, whey protein supplementation and incorporating whey protein into your diet.

Here are some additional resources for further reading on this topic:

Whey Protein Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to whey protein powder that may be less likely to cause acne breakouts, there are several options to consider:

  1. Plant-based protein powders – Plant-based protein powders, such as pea protein, soy protein, and hemp protein, are dairy-free and may be easier on the digestive system than whey protein. These protein sources may also provide additional nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidants.
  2. Egg white protein powder – Egg white protein powder is another dairy-free alternative that is also low in lactose and could be easier to digest than whey protein. It’s also a complete protein source, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs.
  3. Collagen protein powder – Collagen protein powder another great source of protein that also have benefits for skin health. If you want to learn more about this topic you can read this article called Collagen Supplements: The Missing Piece To Your Health
  4. Brown rice protein powder – Brown rice protein powder is another dairy-free alternative that may be easier to digest than whey protein. Plus it’s also a good source of fiber and antioxidants

When choosing a protein powder, it’s important to look for products that are low in sugar and free of artificial flavors and sweeteners. You may also want to consider using a protein powder that is specifically formulated for skin health, such protein powders as those containing collagen or vitamin C.

If you want to learn more about complete protein you can read this article called Complete vs Incomplete Proteins: Understanding the Difference

High Protein Food Option That Will Help With Acne Breakouts

If you’re looking protein calorie supplements eat enough protein in a day while also preventing acne breakouts, there are several high-protein foods that can help. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Fish: Fish is a great source of protein and also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and promote healthy skin.
  2. Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds, are high in protein and also contain healthy fats and antioxidants that can benefit skin health.
  3. Beans and legumes: Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and black beans, are a great vegetarian source of protein. They’re also high in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation.
  4. Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and also contains probiotics, which can help promote healthy gut bacteria and support overall skin health.
  5. Eggs: Eggs are a versatile and inexpensive source of protein that also contain vitamins and minerals that can benefit skin health, such as biotin and selenium. If you want to learn more about why eggs are so good for you you can read this article called The Super Food You Need To Eat – Eggs

When incorporating these high-protein foods into your diet, it’s important to focus on a balanced and varied diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Additionally, staying hydrated, managing stress, and practicing good skincare habits can all contribute to healthy, clear skin.

shallow focus photography of brown eggs

Drink More Water

Drinking water is important for overall health and well-being, and it can also play a role in managing acne breakouts. Here are some ways that staying hydrated can help support healthy skin:

  1. Helps flush out toxins: Water helps to flush toxins and waste products out of the body, which can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin.
  2. Prevents dehydration: Dehydration can cause the skin to become dry and flaky, which can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Drinking plenty of water can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent these issues.
  3. Regulates oil production: When the skin is dehydrated, it can produce more oil to compensate. This can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. Drinking enough water can help regulate oil production and keep the skin balanced.
  4. Supports skin elasticity: Water helps to keep the skin hydrated and supple, which can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

There are other lifestyle factors that can contribute to acne breakouts, such as diet, stress management, and skincare habits, so drinking water alone may not be sufficient. As part of a healthy lifestyle, staying hydrated can support clear, healthy skin.

Generally, it is recommended to drink eight glasses of water a day, but this can vary depending on your needs and activity level. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and with meals can support healthy skin and overall health.

In addition to drinking water, incorporating water-rich foods into your diet, such as fruits and vegetables, can also help support hydration and healthy skin.


To conclude, protein powder may not necessarily cause acne, yet it is important to be conscious of its potential correlation. It is possible that ingesting a lot of protein and certain ingredients in certain protein powders may lead to acne for some people.

To keep your skin healthy and fight off acne, it’s wise to keep a balanced diet and make sure to take proper skincare measures. If you are anxious about the use of protein powder or have questions regarding anything linked to acne, consulting with a healthcare provider is advisable. Taking these steps will enhance your skin’s health and assist in preventing breakouts.


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