When trying to get lean and build muscle, protein powder can become an integral part of your diet. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are vital for building and repairing muscle. As a result, its become commonplace for people to add extra into their diets.

How? Well, by consuming protein powder post-workout, either as a shake, smoothie, or baked into foods, like pancakes and porridge.

Eating in the hour window after your sweat session is actually super important, but according to some scientific research, there could be a downside to chugging a protein shake and going about your day. Some studies have found that regularly consuming whey protein, in particular, can trigger acne, which can cause real self-confidence issues for some.

Are you an avid gym-goer who supplements protein to suit their training and busy lifestyle, but also someone who cares for their skin? This one’s for you – you’ll want to read the below.

We’ve asked two experts to examine the existing studies and explain the link between whey protein and acne.

Hopefully this helps you decide once and for all whether whey protein is for you.

Is there a link between whey protein and acne?

Skin expert and facialist Lisa Harris is more sure certain, saying that yes, whey protein does cause acne and no, it isn’t ideal for those who struggle with their skin.

But why, you ask? “Well, whey protein increases the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. Insulin increases the production of sebum, which is associated with the development of acne. It can also trigger the production of androgens, or
hormones that work by overstimulating oil glands, which in turn cause acne” she explains.

Confectionary brand Nestle investigated the connection further in a study. They discovered that the consumption of whey protein leads to a spike in insulin which, in turn, causes an overgrowth of skin cells, oil production, and inflammation. Essentially: a recipe for acne.

Other research projects found a similar link. One small scale study published in the Brazilian Annals of Dermatology monitored 30 subjects who all consumed whey protein supplements. It was discovered that women, especially those who hadn’t previously suffered with acne, suffered more severe breakouts.

What type of acne can protein powder cause?

According to the research, only a certain kind.

“It can leave skin looking very inflamed and sore, and it is also common for it to cause outbreaks on the chest and back area,” explains Lisa.

I suffer from acne but want to supplement protein. Help!

It’s worth noting that the correlation between protein powder and acne has only been found in whey protein products. There are plenty of vegan and other brands selling protein powder that doesn’t contain whey, which is a dairy product.

Both experts are in agreement that supplementing whey protein for a plant based protein could be the way forward.

“I always recommend considering a plant-based protein. Vegan proteins are a safer and healthier alternative to whey protein,” explains Lisa. But why? “It’s much easier for our body to breakdown and digest plant based protein rather than dairy based ones,” she shares.

It’s also worth noting here – there’s also no need to worry unless you actually start experiencing symptoms of acne yourself. It doesn’t by any means affect everyone in this way, but if you do notice you’ve started having outbreaks since you began adding whey protein supplements to your diet, it’s worth going to see a doctor for advice.

While one food group might greatly improve an individual’s skin, it might cause a host of issues for someone else’s

Read full article here: Does whey protein cause acne? | 2 experts share their verdict (

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