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The Connection Between Whey Protein and Acne

A spoonful of whey protein

Acne is frustrating because it is one of those skin conditions we never seem to fully escape. Yes, it hits its peak when we’re teenagers, but various factors can mean it popping up later in our lives in a slightly less stubborn form. Hormonal shifts, diet, and environment can all contribute to creating a situation where a breakout is all but inevitable. It never makes any of us any happier with the results. All we can really do in the end is try to work against breakouts and remembering to factor in known causes of the problem when trying to reduce our chances. You need to know them first though. A major one that you’re most likely not fully aware of is whey protein. Whether taken as a supplement or taken in as part of a dairy product, it turns out that this may be the true culprit behind why dairy isn’t necessarily the best for your skin.

Why Whey Protein?
There are a lot of questions as to what exactly it is about dairy products that ends up causing skin problems, but the most immediately apparent one comes back to hormone content. Milk necessarily comes from pregnant cows preparing to nurse their young. As a result, it has a highly specific combination or hormone and proteins meant to nurture a young calf and help them grow. Those don’t exactly interact the same way when introduced into the human body. Most of us experience relatively few issues with drinking milk though and that’s a fairly clear indicator it isn’t hurting us, but the little things can end up triggering larger issues. Whey protein carries with it some of these hormones and it is believed this may be one of the primary links between it and issues with breakouts. The exact reason for this connects back to how the tiny little reactions those foreign hormones might be having in our bodies.

A Little Extra
One of the potential issues is a simple fact that the hormones are meant to help trigger growth. That means the milk is coming with plenty of nutrients along with potential triggers to cause an increased rate of cell production. This actually benefits us a lot when we’re trying to build muscle when exercising, but isn’t necessarily the best thing for the skin. Some people believe that whey protein ends up triggering your skin cell’s production and shedding cycle to begin working at a higher rate. Remember that we already have issues with that normally. That’s why we all exfoliate to help avoid problems from turning up too often. An increased cell turnover rate means that you’re facing the potential for problems to start turning up faster than your exfoliation routine can solve. Dead skin cells end up getting stuck in pores and clumping together with the aid of your skin’s natural oils. That brings us to another problem worth highlighting.

Oil, Oil Everywhere
Whey protein actually seems to stimulate the production of oil in the skin. Your pores end up secreting that much more oil than usual and that in turn causes problems. Your skin’s natural oils are used and technically serve as part of your skin’s natural moisture barrier and protection against damage. Too much oil ends up becoming more of a hazard to the skin as it traps more dirt and debris than usual. Once all of this starts clumping together it can end up clogging your pores. These, in turn, create an environment where bacteria are capable of flourishing. That’s what ultimately leads to the breakout most of the time. Furthermore, when you combine extra oil with extra skin cells you end up with an even higher risk of clogged pores. None of that helps your skin be any healthier. However, it also doesn’t mean you have to avoid all dairy if you want to have healthy skin either.

Your body is a robust thing. It has countless little systems and balances that keep it healthy and able to deal with the unexpected. The factors we’ve talked about are easily corrected for if they’re not happening all the time. Avoiding taking whey protein supplements and drinking or eating an excess of dairy will generally allow you to enjoy them without issue. The key to your health is a balanced diet and any imbalance ultimately becomes a problem eventually.

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