Does Vegan Protein Powder Cause Acne? The Truth Revealed

by Mr Plant Based

The simple answer is, no. Vegan protein powder does not cause acne, but certain types of protein powders can.

Vegan protein powders are generally a safer and healthier alternative of protein powders. 

There are certain protein powders such as whey protein, that have the potential to cause acne. 

What Causes Acne in a Protein Powder? 

  • Milk products 
  • A spike in insulin 
  • Increase in growth hormone, sebum levels

Milk Products

Dairy and other milk products have been linked to causing acne. 

Lactose from milk is one of the ingredients in whey protein powder, which is one of the protein powders associated with causing acne. 

Dairy products as a whole may give you issues with acne, and dairy tends to be present in many different types of foods and supplements. 

Keep an eye on the product details and if you’re struggling with acne, cut dairy out of your diet.

A Spike In Insulin Can Cause Acne

One of the main reasons acne is common with people who work out is because they often consume whey protein powders and workout for long periods of time. 

Whey protein and a high protein diet can cause spikes in insulin, which sets off a chain reaction of hormones that could set an imbalance in your body’s chemistry. 

An insulin spike can come from several different things, including protein powder.

A sudden spike in insulin also causes rapid growth in the body, and this rapid growth can lead to increased oil production, making your skin greasy. 

Increase in Growth Hormone, Sebum Levels

The spike of insulin from the protein powder leads to increase in insulin-like hormones and can cause an increase in pimples. 

Having a high protein diet can result in increased IGF-1, which in turn could lead to acne. 

IGF-1 leads to higher sebum levels as well. Higher sebum levels means more pimples. 

This hormone can be found in certain milk and milk-containing products, and it can often lead to acne.

The IGF-1 hormone causes skin cells and oils to grow at a rapid rate. 

Foods/supplements that can increase your levels of IGF-1:

  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dietary fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Protein
  • Dairy products

Other Cause of Acne

  • Taking certain medications
  • Wearing poor quality makeup 
  • Stress 
  • Rapid growth of skin cells/oil production 

Taking Certain Medications Can Lead to Acne

There are certain medicines out there that may trigger an acne flareup. 

A few examples of medications that can trigger outbreaks are: 

  • Corticosteroids: medications used to treat lung infections and asthma. 
  • Anticonvulsants: these are used to prevent seizures.
  • Thyroid medications: some thyroid meds trigger outbreaks by off-balancing your body’s hormone levels. 

Wearing Poor Quality Makeup

Low quality, greasy makeup can trigger acne outbreaks as well.

The makeup clogs up your pores and makes your skin greasy, allowing oils to accumulate and form pimples. 

If you wear makeup you should try your best to avoid any poor quality makeup products. It’s important to take care of your skin, and using bad makeup can do some damage. 


People often experience acne outbreaks in times of high stress. 

Whether it’s losing a job, burying a loved one, or being in a high-stress work environment, all of these serve as triggers for acne. 

Reducing stress at work and at home can help relieve an acne outbreak. 

Rapid Growth of Skin Cells and Oil Production 

Acne can be a result of rapid growth in your body.

Whey protein is often known to cause this, as well as other dairy products, and various foods that make up an unhealthy diet. 

One of the biggest contributors to rapid growth is an overall increase in the amount of protein in your diet.

When you combine multiple protein sources like whey protein and meat, your body begins to work harder and grow faster. 

High protein diets contribute towards rapid growth as well, while people may want to bulk up or build muscle mass, it’s important to know there are side effects that come along with that. 

How a Plant Based/Vegan Diet Can Help with Acne? 

A plant based diet is a great way to start clearing up your skin and living a healthier life.

You don’t have to commit fully, but adding more plants into your diet will be beneficial to your health

If you work out regularly, and still use whey protein, seriously consider a plant-based protein powder, there are several different kinds to choose from.

… I’m sure you’ll like one of the many tasty options available. 

When it comes to day-to-day eating, start eating vegetable-based dishes instead of meat-based dishes. 

Cutting down on dairy products is another huge advantage to clearing your acne. 

Milk and milk-containing products can lead to the production of certain hormones that cause pimples. 

Whey protein powders are another contributor to acne. Consider a plant-based alternative to whey protein powders, they are healthier and just as effective. 

By using a plant-based protein powder you can get the protein you need without risking the health of your skin. 

A great plant-based/vegan protein powder is Vivo Life, which you can read more about here – >>>

What to Look for in a Vegan Protein Powder? 

The best plant-based/vegan protein powders don’t contain any heavy metals. 

There are different types of plant-based protein powders, it’s best to look for something that will still be high in protein. 

Seeds, grains, and legumes are commonly found in plant-based protein powders. 

Here are some more types of vegan protein powder to give you an idea of what to look for!

  • Pea protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Pumpkin seed protein
  • Soy protein 

You have a diverse selection of choices to pick from with vegan protein powders, so there’s really no sense in using whey protein after knowing some of its negative effects. 

You can learn more about my favorite vegan protein powder here.

There You Have It, Vegan Protein Powder DOES NOT Cause Acne

But some protein powders like whey protein might. 

Check out some of the vegan alternatives out there for whey protein, especially if you’ve been experiencing recent outbreaks of acne. 

Vegan protein powder will keep your skin healthy and clear, and will help you maintain all that muscle that you need to. 

You don’t need to worry about acne breakouts with a plant-based protein powder, issues have only been noted in whey protein.

Vegan protein powders do everything the others can, and you still have several different options to choose from.

Plant-based protein powders are generally healthier and work just as well as other protein powders. 

Now take this knowledge and find a healthy vegan protein powder for you or your loved ones to use! 

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