What is the best protein powder that doesn’t cause acne?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder that doesn’t cause acne.. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of supplements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes it perfect for people with acne prone skin, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
drink wholesome makes protein powder that doesn’t cause acne.
What is acne?
Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin that causes outbreaks of lesions, commonly referred to as pimples or zits. Outbreaks usually occur on the face, but can also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders. Acne is thought to have several causes including oily skin, clogged pores, bacteria, and inflammation. Hormonal changes — which occur during puberty and the menstrual cycle, or as result of a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome – can have a big impact on acne development.
Certain medications, beauty products, behaviors, and foods may also cause acne. Research has found that diet in particular may cause or worsen acne. For instance, foods with a high glycemic index (GI) like bread, cereal, and sweets have been linked to acne because they cause and worsen inflammation in the body. Research has also associated milk and whey protein with acne (more about this later).
Do protein shakes cause acne?
Protein powders and protein shakes can cause acne. Each year, thousands of people take to the Internet to complain that their protein powder makes them breakout. If you are one of these people, you have come to the right place. Here is the top ingredient to avoid when choosing a protein powder for clear skin.
Casein and whey protein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production, can cause acne. Dairy indirectly stimulates insulin production, which regulates sebum production. Sebum, an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands, can clog your pores and cause pimples.
Dairy can also hinder your ability to process blood sugar efficiently, which can cause inflammation in your skin. This is a problem because acne is an inflammatory disease; clinical evidence shows that inflammation occurs at all stages of acne development.
If you regularly consume casein or whey protein, you may now finally have something to blame for your breakouts! That said, the relationship between food and acne is complicated, and food that causes acne for one person might not have the same effect on someone else. If you think that whey or casein protein powder might be causing you to break out, stop using it for a few weeks. If your acne improves, you should switch to a dairy-free protein supplement. Before you do, however, you need to know that not all dairy-free protein powders are created equal.
What is the best protein powder for acne prone skin?
Most dairy-free protein powders are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. This is worrisome because more and more research shows that disruptions to the composition and function of the gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food) can play a role in the development of a number of chronic diseases, including acne.
Acne also has close connections with the gastrointestinal tract, and research suggests that the gut microbiota could be involved in the pathogenic process of acne. In other words, a protein powder that damages your gut, even if it is dairy-free, may still cause acne. I therefore recommend that you choose a simple protein powder like drink wholesome. Keep reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder that doesn’t cause acne is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives.
Food additives may improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but they can also cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. Basically, because they look nothing like real food, food additives are hard to digest. They therefore sit in your gut for longer than food should, which gives your gut bacteria more time to eat.
As they eat, these bacteria produce gas, causing bloating and stomach pain. Gas also slows colonic transit (the amount of time it takes food to travel through the colon), which can lead to constipation. Over time, food additives can add up (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine. Eventually, this can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein powder, one additive to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome.
Some sweeteners, especially sugar alcohols like xylitol, are poorly absorbed by the gut, meaning they feed your hungry gut bacteria. They can also cause diarrhea because they draw water into your intestines. Now you finally have something to blame for those post-protein shake trips to the bathroom!
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best acne-safe protein powder is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. It is therefore unsurprising that researchers have begun to examine the relationship between your skin and the microbes that live in your gut. They have found that dysbiosis, an imbalance in the gut microbiome, can lead to inflammation, which can contribute to the development of acne. This is why people with gastrointestinal illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease have corresponding skin issues, and why you should avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for acne with whole foods like egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed to remove some of the oil, and ground. Whole foods like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Whole foods contain a variety of enzymes and other digestive aids that help to break down the food, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Protein isolates and concentrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of these digestive aids, making them harder for the body to digest and absorb. Moreover, minimally-processed plant-based foods like almonds are rich in fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder. If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for acne prone skin.