While whey protein powder builds muscles, it may be the cause for unruly breakouts, especially in women, dermatologists warn.
Dermatologists have seen an increase in hormonal acne in women who add the popular post-workout regimen to their smoothies and shakes, a doctor told Women’s Health.
Whey protein is a dairy product that contains hormones which produce oils that can clog pores.
Since women are more inclined to experience hormonal acne, a relationship between the protein and breakouts have been suggested by researchers, though few studies have been conducted to prove a direct link.
Whey protein powder is typically consumed after a workout to repair micro-tears in the muscles and promote growth.
Whey is one of the main proteins in cow’s milk that helps calves grow. The powder form that we see comes from a liquid that is drained off of cheese.
A growth hormone called IGF-1 is present in dairy and causes an increase in insulin, triggering sebum oil production that clogs pores and leads to acne.
Though there is extensive research that shows dairy products and acne are connected, there have been few studies on the relationship between the use of whey protein and acne to prove they are directly linked.
But one study on 30 participants showed the onset of acne in those who used the supplement over a two-month period were more prominent in women than men.
Acne is caused by excess oil production, clogged pores, bacteria and hormones.
New York dermatologist Dr Morgan Rabach said: ‘Hormonal acne is much more of a thing in women than men.’
She suggests that whey protein throws women’s hormones off, including testosterone, but other factors come into play when diagnosing acne.
‘I have advised patients to stop using whey and everything from the kinds of cleansers and lotions they use to cleaning their cell-phone with alcohol pads to get rid of oils,’ she said.
FOODS THAT HELP HEAL ACNE
Probiotics help reduce inflammation
Foods include: Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles
Omega 3-Fatty Acids also reduce inflammation
Foods include: Salmon, walnuts and soybeans
Antioxidants boost complexion
Foods include: Dark greens and berries
Zinc at low levels has been connected to more severe acne
Foods include: Cashews and almonds
But Dr Rabach did say that she has seen a difference in patients’ skin with reducing milk products.
Dr Rabach adds: ‘Hormonal imbalances in women, intrinsically or from outside sources, are a real phenomenon.’
The growth in female hormone imbalances has lead to the use of hormone therapy including birth control and other medications to treat acne. Keeping hormone levels stable prevents breakouts.
But she adds that there is more to acne than just your diet. ‘Changing one thing wont make it go away completely, but it is part of the whole picture.’