Does whey protein cause pimples?

This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Does whey protein cause pimples? If you have this question, know that this text will be answered this and other questions regarding this ingredient. Follow it below!

Whey protein is the name given to whey protein extracted in the process of making cheese and curds. It is used as a food supplement and has become increasingly popular, especially among people who exercise frequently.

However, there is a very common question among its users regarding consumption and its effect on skin aesthetics. Let’s clear this doubt and understand more about the subject.

Can whey protein cause acne?

According to nutritionist Carolina Monçôres , whey protein may indeed be associated with the appearance of pimples, especially in people who already have a predisposition.

“Whey protein contains 6 types of proteins that can be associated with acne: TGF, IGF-I, IGF-II, PDGF, FGF-I and FGF-II. They can increase concentration in individuals who consume this supplement, promoting growth and division of skin cells and increased production of sebum and pimples”, explains the professional.

The consumption of whey protein increases the production of sebum and pimples (Photo: depositphotos)

Studies have shown that men are more prone to acne when they use whey protein, but after the second month of use, it is women who tend to have more pimples.

This is due to the influence of androgenic hormones, whose increase is proportionally greater in women after using whey protein. Overall, the increase in the amount and degree of pimples has been most pronounced during the first month of taking the supplement.

The Vitamin B12 Myth

There is a myth that vitamin B12, present in some brands of whey protein, is responsible for the cause of pimples, as excessive consumption of this vitamin can lead to acne.

Carolina demystifies this theory: “there aren’t many brands of whey protein that have vitamin B12 and those that do provide around 0.18 to 0.36 micrograms. The daily recommendation is 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 a day, so it would not be appropriate to say that the amount present in whey protein is bad for the skin”.

Lactoferrin can prevent pimples

If you want to reduce your chances of getting pimples while consuming whey protein, there is a substance in milk protein that can help: lactoferrin. “Because of the quality of reducing blood glucose and fat, lactoferrin reduces body inflammation and, in this way, can reduce the chances of the appearance of acne”, emphasizes Carolina.

A study carried out at Kyung Hee University in South Korea showed that ingesting 200 milligrams of lactoferrin a day for 12 weeks reduced 36% of acne inflammation and 23% of pimple appearance, in addition to decreased production of tallow.

Therefore, to avoid the appearance of pimples, keep an eye on the ingredients list and look for whey protein brands that have a good amount of lactoferrin in their composition.

How to choose the best brand of whey protein?

Whey protein has high nutritional quality and provides many benefits. Its amino acids promote the increase of muscle mass , increase satiety and protect the body against ultraviolet rays. The supplement can also reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation from other pathologies.

But, it is very important to know how to choose the brand you will consume, as some substances can further aggravate the problem of pimples or even cause other disorders.

“The best brands are those that provide the highest amount of protein per serving of product, low amount of carbohydrates and minimal fat. The ideal is always to calculate the percentage of protein present in the supplement. To do this, just divide the amount of protein by the portion of the product (which is usually 30 grams or 1 scoop ) and multiply by 100. The higher the percentage, the purer the protein used”, guides Carolina.

The professional also explains that artificial colors, flavors and preservatives should not be present in quality whey protein, as they are substances without nutritional value, which do not bring health benefits and may even cause allergic reactions.

Sweeteners or sugars, such as maltodextrin, should be one of the last items on the ingredients list, because if they are in large quantities, they can impair performance, causing an increase in body inflammation.

“Sodium chloride is also not suitable, as it is responsible for retaining liquid . And, if the diet needs to be lactose-free, the ideal is to opt for isolated or hydrolyzed whey protein, as there is no such sugar, or use soy-based ones”, adds the nutritionist.

How to solve or problem?

If you’re having problems with pimples while consuming whey protein, watch your diet. Often, the cause of acne can be related to what you eat and not exactly the supplement.

Men are more prone to acne when using whey protein (Photo: depositphotos)

Stay tuned for Carolina’s tips to improve eating habits and reduce the incidence of pimples:

  • Reduce white sugar consumption, as well as foods that contain it in the composition;
  • Avoid fatty preparations, fried foods, or foods that have a lot of saturated fat. They can increase the oiliness of the skin and with it, cause pimples;
  • Consume foods rich in vitamin A such as liver, kidney, milk fat, fortified margarine, egg yolk , yellow and dark green leafy vegetables, apricots, cantaloupe and peach. The vitamins D and E are also effective in preventing pimples;
  • Add omega 3 to your diet. It reduces skin inflammation and prevents the formation of new lesions, especially deeper ones;
  • Drink lots of water. The ideal is to ingest at least 2 liters a day and distribute consumption during shifts.

Another option is to look for new ways to consume protein that can replace whey protein . But remember, always count on the help of a health professional, preferably a nutritionist and a dermatologist, to verify if this is really the cause of acne and to make the appropriate treatment for your case.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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