I see an increasingly large number of people consuming protein shakes. I must say that it’s quite nice to see the rising awareness about protein but an educated choice about the kind of protein is crucial too. This is because you want to ensure overall health, right? The kind of protein you consume should ideally fuel you to overall amazing health.
The protein shake of choice for most people is whey protein. It is arguably the most popular and decorated sports nutrition product in the world because of its easy availability and cost.
However, as we all know, studies and research are presently proving that dairy and dairy products have potential ill-effects that can be avoided by making the shift to plant-based nutrition. It is obvious then that whey protein too comes with its fair share of side effects. One of them is - acne.
Yes, whey protein may help you build muscles but it’s also most likely the cause for the breakouts on your face.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the connection between whey and acne.
1. How Does Whey Give You Acne?
Okay, so the basic reason for this is - your whey protein contains dairy. It is a by-product of the cheese making process and a culprit for the breakouts on your face.
Let’s look at the scientific reasons for this -
- Whey increases the production of a hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 or IGF-1:
What insulin does is that it increases the production of sebum, which is an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. This is associated with the development of acne.
- It is also responsible for triggering the production of the hormone androgen:
Androgen is the cause for a number of hormonal issues, including acne and hair loss. It overstimulates oil glands which can clog up your pores, thus creating a conducive environment for acne breakouts.
- Whey can mess with your ability to process blood sugar efficiently:
This can be the cause for inflammation in the body, particularly your skin. This triggers sebum and causes acne.
I believe it’s evident now that drinking your whey protein shake may cause your face to erupt along with the eruption of massive muscles.
2. What You Add To Your Whey Could Be A Bigger Culprit..
What you choose to mix your whey with could be a major reason for your breakouts too. I think it’s clear to you by now that dairy and dairy products can mess with your skin.
So if you choose milk to mix with whey in your shake and in particular, skimmed milk, you are creating a recipe for disaster in terms of caring for your skin.
Skim milk contains extra proteins which are added to improve its taste and thickness.
It might seem that a fat-free option is a healthier choice but skimmed milk contains the highest amount of the same milk proteins as whey. This means it just compounds the problems I discussed in the previous section, aggravating your skin condition further.
3. How To Deal With Whey Protein Breakouts?
So, of course there’s a solution to this problem. It’s quite easy too.
The first thing I would recommend would be to obviously take a break from whey protein consumption if you have identified it as the cause of your acne. Do this for a few months to see if your skin condition improves.
Meanwhile, I’d advise you to eat a diet that includes foods that are skin-friendly. This would be a diet rich in healthy fats (essential fatty acids) with walnuts, avocados, sunflower seeds etc and vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli and red or yellow peppers.
As for your protein needs (obviously I’d get to this!), strive to acquire as much as your daily protein requirement from whole, unprocessed foods (nuts, soy, lentils etc). This is better for your body and great for long-term health.
You can make the shift from whey protein to a dairy-free protein supplement that is made out of pea (like Olena's EVOLVE Plant Performance Protein) protein. These are great options to help you achieve your protein intake goals without compromising on any aspect of your health.
Additionally, there are also other factors that might be contributing to your acne. Gym go-ers and athletes often also experience breakouts due to reasons like re-wearing athletic wear, using a dirty towel or sharing helmets or other protective gear. Bacteria, oil and dead skin cells in these could clog pores, leading to acne flare ups.
Try to wear moisture-free, loose-fitted clothing and make sure you shower right after a workout or session. Use a great cleanser that unclogs your pores and prevents bacteria growth.
Following these tips should definitely help you get rid of any acne breakouts that might have been the result of whey consumption and poor hygiene.
Enjoy working out and having spotless skin!
Jai Virdi is a fitness consultant and coach based in Mumbai. He is an advocate of holistic wellness and believes in constant self-development. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org orInstagram.