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.
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.