Whey protein is an important supplement for fitness enthusiasts who want to elevate the nutritional value of their diet to support their workout needs. Whey protein powders offer a variety of benefits towards building the body and are extremely easy to consume. Recently, the increase in popularity of muscle and weight training among women has seen a lot of interest towards consuming whey protein and that has resulted in a special kind of conundrum. Can whey protein cause acne? There are a couple of different schools of thought regarding the effects of whey protein on skin and we wanted to settle the argument once and for all. Here are some of your most pressing questions about whey protein and its effects on acne and skin overall, answered!


What is whey protein?

What is whey protein?

Whey is a natural by-product of making cheese and is the liquid that is left behind after the milk is curdled and strained. It has a blend of different kinds of proteins, like α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, serum albumin and immunoglobulins, and is a powerhouse source of a variety of essential amino acids. Whey protein drinks are super popular with people who are looking to build muscle mass and hence need a strong source of protein to help support the training. Whey protein consumption also claims to help weight loss because it is easily digestible, however, even that claim is highly debated. Whey protein is consumed in the form of drinks made with water or with milk as a base. They are available in different kinds of flavours and blends to improve their function and appeal.

A small section of the population who are lactose intolerant have shown negative side effects like stomach cramps, bloating or diarrhea during the use of whey protein. Other than that, it is generally considered safe for consumption, health-wise.


Is whey protein good for health?

Is whey protein good for health?

Some of the major benefits that can be gained by consuming whey protein are-

1. Building muscle strength -

Whey protein is known to release anabolic hormones that help build muscle strength and boost repair function to support muscle growth. It also helps inhibit fat storage and improves your stamina to help tone up your body and reach your fitness goal.

2. Aiding in weight loss -

Consumption of a high protein diet helps reduce appetite, boosts metabolism for faster digestion and maintains muscle mass for a lean and fit look.

3. Reducing cholesterol -

Studies have shown whey protein to have a positive influence on lipid and insulin levels. Regular consumption in proper amounts can show a decrease in the all-over cholesterol level of your body.

4. Reducing inflammation in the body -

Inflammation signs like redness and bleeding are your body's natural response in being damaged or hurt. Whey protein has shown results in some studies where it could effectively manage and lower short-term and chronic inflammation in the body.

5. Lowering blood pressure -

Dairy products are rich in bioactive peptides, ACE-inhibitors, and can help reduce hypertension in adults. The lactokinesis present in whey protein are also ACE-inhibitors and can help in controlling blood pressure to a large extent.


Does whey protein cause acne?

Does whey protein cause acne?

It is clear that whey protein has multiple benefits for the body, but does it cause acne on the skin? The simple answer is, yes. You might already have heard dairy products being a cause of breakouts and whey pertain, being a by-product of milk processing, falls in that category. Rich in amino acids, whey is known to boost the production of the IGF-1 hormone in your body. This hormone triggers excessive sebum production which then leads to pimples. Whey protein can also disrupt the ability of your body to process blood sugar, leading to skin inflammation. This triggers your oil glands to produce more sebum, clogging your pores and supporting acne growth.


How to deal with acne caused by whey protein?

How to deal with acne caused by whey protein?

Now that you know that whey protein can, in fact, cause acne, we want to tell you that there are some ways to help manage it better. Some of the recommendations are -

1. Consume the proper amount -

Health experts cap the consumption of whey protein to just 1–2 scoops, around 25–50 grams, on a daily basis. You can also cap the dosage as mentioned on the label of your preferred brand and always consume it post-workout. If your existing diet is already protein-rich, adding a whey protein on top if it will overdo it. Which is why nutritionists can help better plan your workout diet, and suggest if whey protein needs to be included at all.  

2. Follow proper workout hygiene -

Even though whey protein's effects on skin are internal, you can manage the breakouts by following good workout hygiene. Keep your workout clothes breathable, change out of it as soon as the workout is done and have a skincare routine in place to clean and soothe your skin.

3. Keep hydrating -

Maintaining proper hydration during working out will not only help with the exercises but also keep your skin in check and free of acne.

4. Use spot treatments -

Do not start a full-blown acne regimen to help calm the breakouts as it can dry out your skin. Instead, use pimple patches or benzoyl peroxide spot treatments to deal with the pimples in an isolated manner.


Which kind of protein does not cause acne?

Which kind of protein does not cause acne?

If you are looking for protein powder alternatives to replace whey, here are some of the options to consider -

1. Pea protein powder -

Sources from powdered peas, this plant-based alternative to whey is often used in smoothies, shakes and green juices as a protein supplement. It is natural, vegan, hypoallergenic and safe for all kinds of diets. Pea protein powder is also an excellent source of iron which helps support heart health as well.

2. Casein protein powder -

A dairy-based product, casein protein powder is similar to whey in the sense that it is also a by-product of cheese making. However, it has a key difference - casein is absorbed by your body slower than whey, making it a better option for daily consumption.

3. Soy protein -

Sourced from soybeans, soy protein is also an excellent source of phytoestrogens that help support female health.

4. Egg white protein -

Sourced from dry egg whites, this alternative is an extremely potent source of protein for building muscle mass.

5. Brown rice protein -

Brown rice, and similarly, hemp protein alternatives have recently gained a lot of popularity in the vegetarian community for their ease of use and the benefits offered.


What are the food alternatives of whey protein for skin?

What are the food alternatives of whey protein for skin?

Nothing is safer for your skin than actual foods that are rich in protein. Some of the best food sources for protein are lentils, nuts, lamb, chicken, turkey, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, and clams. Dairy products like yoghurt and cheese are also high in protein and have lactose-free variants for anyone worried about them triggering acne on the skin.


FAQs about whey protein

FAQs about whey protein

Q. Does whey protein have any direct beauty benefits?

A. If you are willing to overlook the acne, whey protein can actually have some direct beauty benefits. As you know, the protein forms the building blocks of healthy skin, hair and nails. Whey also happens to be a good source of collagen and amino acids that can help you maintain your skin's elasticity and suppleness.

Q. What amount of whey protein has been associated with acne breakouts?

A. Dermatologists have indicated that modest amounts of whey in your diet can be managed and it will not lead to breakouts. It is only when whey shakes are overdone on top of an already protein-rich diet, that you may have to deal with acne issues.