Can your protein powder ruin your skin?

In a perfect world, what you eat would only positively benefit your skin. But the world we live in is far from perfect, and the skin-gut connection is more closely regarded than you may realize.

SSimply put, the foods you eat can be the reason for less-than-perfect skin—we are talking redness, breakouts, dryness, and even eczema. But which foods are the culprits? You have probably heard that pro-inflammatory foods—think dairy, milk and nuts—can bring about negative skin side effects. But what about foods that are positioned to be healthy, like certain protein powders? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, unfortunately, if your powder is loaded with pore-clogging whey protein, it may do more harm than good.

According to Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD, “There are ingredients that, in many of these products, are not on the label and could be steroids of some manner. These, and other testosterone-simulating ingredients, can and will cause breakouts.” Whey, in particular, is one of the more commonly used ingredients in protein powders, which is believed to cause breakouts. To add insult to injury, some studies show evidence that there is a connection between whey protein and acne, specifically when the ingredient was assessed in teenage athletes who consume whey-based protein. While the jury is still out on exactly why whey leads to breakouts but other types of protein don’t, some say that the milk derivative factor in whey is why. “Cow-based hormones that are found in whey protein are active in stimulating sebaceous glands, which then cause acne to form.  The same thing happens to individuals who drink significant milk products or eat cheese and/or yogurt,” says Dr. Schelssinger.

Rather than reaching for whey-based protein, opt for something that is more skin-friendly, like organic pumpkin and pea proteins, both of which are found in PlantYourDay.

While whey protein is an under-the-radar offender, it’s not the only known food to cause these sorts of skin problems. If you notice that your skin is reactive when it comes to certain foods, try and identify which foods cause breakouts and avoid them.

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