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Even Dermatologist Medications Couldn’t Stop Whey Protein From Causing Acne Breakouts

Even Dermatologist Medications Couldn’t Stop Whey Protein From Causing Acne Breakouts

In order to solve acne issues, many of us turn to topical products. Understandably so, it's the easiest solution and can often help alleviate many symptoms of breakouts. But products are not the only solution, and this case study is one such example.


In 2012, the dermatology department at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York observed the treatment of five different males between the ages of 14-18. All five subjects were observed to have experienced the onset of acne with the same commonality: the introduction of whey protein into their diets. Whey protein is a dairy-based powder commonly marketed and used to build muscle mass and gain strength. It is a by-product of the cheese making process and is very popular amongst the body building and gym community because of its high protein content.


In order to treat the acne of the new whey consumers, dermatologists begin the patients on routine prescriptions in order to quell the acne. They worked internally and externally with topicals and antibiotics to alleviate the breakouts. Unfortunately they observed that this did little to no good:''All 5 patients had poor response to acne treatment regimens of oral antibiotics, topical retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide."


Here's where the case study gets interesting. It seems that the dermatologists were able to distinguish that the breakouts may be coming from the whey, so the subjects all went off of it. And here's what happened!''Lesions fully cleared in 4 patients after discontinuation of whey protein supplementation, but 1 patient's acne flared after reinitiating of the whey protein supplement." You can read read the study for yourself here:


Why is this fascinating? It points to the amazing realization that removing the cause of breakouts can be more powerful than utilizing prescriptions, and furthermore that even multiple dermatologist prescriptions may not be able to counteract the negative affect of acne-causing foods. It is an amazing breakthrough that a dermatologist department would even release this kind of information and one we should really take to heart. We all know that removing something that is causing our body harm is better than trying to cover it up. This case study is an excellent example that we need to change our way of thinking to adjust the internal rather than looking to products to fix all our health problems. In this case, doctors found that removing whey protein was a better solution than writing prescriptions.


In conclusion, this kind of case study is not large enough to apply to the entire population of acne sufferers. However, to me it is enough to say that if you are breaking out and consuming whey, it may be worthwhile to find alternative, plant-based sources of protein and see if your skin improves. There is a tremendous amount of protein that can be found in plants without the risk of hormones from dairy. Pea protein, hemp protein, and more are now finding their way into GNC and other health food stores. Drink healthy, lift healthy, be skin healthy :)


Elise May, CN + LE, is the owner and practitioner behind SKINutritious. She has helped over 1,000 clients clear acne with detoxing treatments, clear skin coaching, and holistic skincare. 

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