Does protein powder cause pimples and unclean skin?

Exercising is good! But did you know that unclean gym cloths, diet and whey protein powder could be the reason for you skin problems?

Author Mads Timmermann

Mads has 14+ years of experience as a skin expert and has written/read this article.

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Question: “Does protein powder cause pimples and unclean skin?”

Hey Mads

Thank you for some amazing guides! I have watched all four movies in in The Danish Acne Cure and I can really use a lot of the information you provide.

However, I have a question about training and exercising, which I hope you can help answer. Indeed, I have just started to exercise and im doing a lot of strength train. As a part of my training I’m considering to start drinking protein powder, so I quickly get bigger muscles.

However, I think that many of those who are also exercising in the fitness center where I come have rather skin problems and unclean skin. I do not suffer from skin problems  myself, despite I am exercising. I therefore fear that protein powder can cause skin problems like pimples and unclean skin? Or maybe its just something else?

I really hope you can help and answer my question! :-)

Otherwise I eat very healthy, I follow your advice from The Danish Acne Cure and I use your skin care products daily – BTW they are super fantastic. Danish Skin Care products have really helped me a lot! My skin has become so great and I rarely suffer from pimples in my face since I got started with the Danish Skin Care products.

Looking forward to reading your reply.

Best regards

Answer to: “Does protein powder cause pimples and unclean skin?”

Hi Mathias

Thank you for your the very sweet words. It is so nice to hear that you are happy with my free guide to the treatment of acne, pimples and blemished skin. Most of all, however, I’m incredibly pleased to hear that my advice and products have helped you, and you now have a nice, healthy and beautiful skin! Its GREAT! :-)

With regard to your exercise and diet, it’s great to hear that you are exercising and at the same time focus on eating healthy – it will definitely have a big positive impact on your skin. Both today, but also far into the future. And of course, it will also have a big impact on your health in general! :-)

However, I often hear questions about protein powder in conjunction with strength training – especially in relation to the fear of getting pimples. I also hear quite often – as you yourself also have noticed – that people who start using protein powder in their diet get pimples or more outbreaks of pimples. Of course, it may seem very unfair that you suddenly have to fight with pimples because you want to optimize your diet and exercise.

Let me start out by saying that almost all people will experience getting pimples at some point during their lives. It is therefore quite natural that some people will get pimples while they take protein powder. Not necessarily because of the protein powder, but because they would have gotten pimples anyway.

So just because there are some people who get pimples while eating protein powder, you can not conclude that the protein powder causes pimples.

Nevertheless, there are both good and bad protein powders – and here I am not only thinking of the price. I also do not think about the effect in relation to your muscles. I’m thinking about what the source of the protein used in the protein powder is! Unfortunately, the vast majority of protein powder is based on whey protein – and whey protein is a by-product of milk.

Now you may think that sounds very healthy, but it’s not! It’s a huge mistake and huge misunderstanding that we should drink milk. In fact, there is more and more research indicating that milk is the direct cause of a wide range of skin problems – and a wide range of diseases.

In fact, milk is the only food that is the direct cause of pimples and unclean skin. And that is precisely because of the whey protein in the milk. So that the majority of protein powder is made from whey protein is really not good!

– Read more about why milk and dairy products cause pimples here.


– Read more about exercise, training and skin problems here.

Do you want to take protein powder?

If you really want and feel the need to eat protein powder to get bigger muscles when you work out, then my clear advice is always that you choose vegetable based protein powders. Thus protein powder, where the protein comes from vegetables.

Fortunately, more and more vegetable protein powders is being launched on the market, so it should be quite easy to find a product for your needs.

However, I would always strongly advise against protein powder with whey protein!

In addition, I am also a great advocate for a healthy and varied diet. Protein powder should never be a substitute for a healthy diet! A healthy diet is far more important – and will always give you much better results.

In continuation, I would like to point out that extreme amounts of one food – like protein powder – can never be recommended. Exaggeration creates the risk of accumulation of toxins in the body that can cause pimples – or other skin problems.

So if you choose to eat protein powder, then always choose the vegetable protein powder – and remember to moderate your intake :-)

Exercise and pimples

If you exercise a lot – and eat protein powder – you should also be aware that even though it may be the protein powder that is causing pimples. It could also be the strength training which causes pimples – even if you choose the vegetable protein powder or plain protein powder based on whey proteins. In other words, you can also get pimples from strength training even if you do not eat protein powder at all.

When you strength train and exercise a lot, your body will experience hormonal changes because the body production of the male sex hormone increases.

So you can actually get pimples of excessive strength training.

Whether you are eating protein powder or not, always be aware your body recuperation – exercise is good, but exercise also requires rest. In addition, I can add that the muscles also grow and become bigger if they are allowed to rest between your training. So breaks and restitution are definitely not only for “lazy” people – breaks also have a HUGE impact on your body, skin and your results! :-)

With regard to training and pimples, it can also cause pimples if you skip the bath after exercise.

Always remember to wash your body thoroughly after exercising and sweating. Sweat is not good when it stays on the body too long, it creates bacteria and increase the risk of getting pimples.

In the same way, you should ALWAYS use clean exercise clothes. Maybe you do not think your fitness cloths smells that bad – and you may think that you can just use it one more time – but you really shouldn’t! Sweating and sweat in clean fitness clothes and while you’re hot does no harm. But when the clothes dry or become wet from new sweat, then the problems appear – your cloths become full of nasty bacteria which can cause pimples.

Has there been any changes in your diet?

Last but not least, pimples associated with strength training and exercise may also be due to other changes in your diet. It’s not unlikely that you have changed other things in your diet after you began to exercise and supplementing your diet with protein powder.

One may wonder if other supplements such as creatine can have an effect on the skin.

Maybe you started drinking more milk?

As mentioned earlier, much research suggests that there may be a connection between the intake of milk and outbreaks of pimples. It is not only milk, but all dairy products that potentially can cause skin problems, unclean skin and pimples.

So be careful not to get too much milk and dairy products in your food!

Maybe you have begun to eat more meat?

Meat contains large amounts of protein, but meat also contains a number of acids which, in particular, can cause inflammation in the body if you eat a lot of meat. So make sure your diet also consists of a lot of vegetables.

In addition, I can add that vegetables can easily contain protein. In fact, there is more protein in chickpeas than in a large steak – just think about one of the world’s largest animals, the elephant, are herbivores. And elephants isn’t missing any muscles – and they get all their protein just by eating grass and vegetables.

I hope I have answered your question, and should you have any other questions, then you can always write to me again! :)

Good luck with exercising, strength training and building bigger muscles! I hope your skin continues to be healthy and beautiful, but I am pretty sure you got that under control! ;-)

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