Why do protein shakes cause acne in the first place? What’s the deal?

You are drinking protein shakes for one of two reasons – to gain muscle, or to diet and lose weight and body fat.

Both good reasons – plus excellent and sufficient levels of high-quality protein also helps to build acne-resistant skin.

But, protein shakes can cause acne in some people – or make their acne worse.

Others in the earlier stages of acne often ask if protein shakes cause acne?  And, if so why? And- what is it that is causing pimples to form from protein?

Well, it’s not the protein – it’s the milk.Protein-Shake-Acne-Coconut-Trees

The ingredients from milk derivatives are the top culprit in protein shakes made from whey protein powder that causes acne.

Ingredients derived from milk contain growth hormones that in some people overstimulate the body causing either an increase in oil production, or a flourishing of the skin bacteria in their pores – that leads to pimples.

Technically the growth hormone is IGF-1, or insulin like growth factor 1.

This is one of the qualities in milk that allows a little newborn calf to grow into an 800 pound cow in a few months!

It can be great for people too – to grow muscle and lose body fat  – if they can tolerate it.Best-Protein-Shakes-Mark-Wahlberg

But, many people simple can’t – and acne is one sign.

Screwed up digestion, low energy, illnesses, fat-gain, allergies and other reactions can be other signs of intolerance to these ingredients that include lactose, milk or milk derived growth hormones.

All this is often thrown into one label just like that, “lactose intolerant” and “milk allergy” are common labels you hear people say.


So how can we keep the protein intake high, the calories under control without the threat to acne?

The answer is non-whey, or non-milk protein shakes.

Remember our number 1 mantra… “curing acne is a process, not a product”.Protein-Shakes-and-Acne-Soy-Beans

And our number 2 mantra… “use your brain to cure acne”…

So, using our brain and a bit of skill and imagination – we can make protein shakes that do not cause acne – shakes made from other high-protein ingredients.

Amazingly – what you will likely find is that these shakes are better and vastly healthier than protein shakes made from whey protein powders anyway – and likely much lower cost, just as delicious (or better!), and come with a some powerfully healthy added benefits.

FOOD AND DIET FOR ACNEBest-Protein-Shakes-Hugh-Jackman

Keep in mind… Protein shakes are food and dietary supplements.

They are not a replacement for very high quality protein sources from meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and greens.

As with any diet and food program – it is important to mix things up to ensure complete coverage of the nutritional spectrum.

This is the key to building acne resistant skin through super-nutrition and super-immunity.


Just like our recommendation in Smoothies for Acne and Juicing for Acne – our current top protein shake maker is the Nutri-Bullet Deluxe.  – Why ? – …Nutribullet Deluxe Protein Shake Maker

This is not a cheap infomercial gadget. Rather it’s a very high quality, extremely well designed appliance that is incredible easy to use and to clean.

It’s ultra fast ability to make very nutritious protein shakes is why it has our top recommendation.

You can get the Nutri-Bullet Deluxe at big box stores such as Costco (often sold out), or click or tap here on to learn more immediately.


The Green Protein Shake (Yes, Green!)

Vanilla Hemp MilkDiet-for-Acne-Soymilk

  • Vanilla Hemp Milk
  • Coconut Milk or Light Coconut Milk
  • Kale and/or Spinach
  • Apple, or
  • Carrot Juice
  • Blender or Vita-mix
  • Ice if desired

Use a vanilla protein base for this shake; vanilla hemp milk works well, and contains healthy fatty acids that will promote skin cell growth.Top-Protein-Shakes-for-Acne-Ryan-Reynolds

Top vanilla hemp milk example: Pacific Natural Vanilla Hemp Milk.

Chlorophyll in the kale and spinach is another main ingredient in this acne-fighting shake, which has the potent antioxidants you need to get rid of impurities in your body that can cause acne.

The substance purifies your blood and accelerates your body’s natural healing process, which can eliminate existing pimples.

To the protein base, add coconut milk to reduce inflammation and reduce acne scars and balance out the bitter taste from the greens.

Light coconut milk has less calories if you are seeking body fat reduction or control.

Top light coconut milk example: Native Forest Organic Light Coconut Milk.

Then fill the  shake with the leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, which are rich in vitamin A, a substance that heals the skin and prevents new breakouts from developing.

These vegetables are also filled with sulfur, which has antibacterial substances that balances your pH levels and keeps your skin from becoming inflamed.

To make the shake especially tasty, add apple or carrot juice, which are also filled with vitamin A.Diet-For-Acne-Almonds

You can use the shake as a meal replacement if you like, or consume it in the middle of the day to sustain your energy while you work toward a clear complexion.

Berry Protein Shake – Soy Milk

  • Chocolate or Vanilla Light Soy Milk
  • Frozen berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or a mix
  • Blend in a blender or Vita-mix
  • Add ice if desired

Soy milk is a tasty protein base for this delicious and healthy shake.

Example of our top soy milk recommendation: Silk Chocolate Soymilk Natural.

Dark berries are rich in vitamin B, a powerful antioxidant that removes the skin’s dead cells and keeps you from developing acne.Protein-Shakes-Heather-Mitts

Dark berries are available in frozen bags at a reasonable price at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and can also be found at Trader Joe’s.

Of course the best source are the frozen berries you picked yourself during the summer!

B vitamins can also boost your mood and alleviate depression, which makes you more prone to work out, as exercise can help you sweat out the toxins in your skin.

Mix blueberries, strawberries and raspberries with vanilla or chocolate light soy milk, which also has the ability to renew the skin.

Soy is a vegetarian protein that balances your hormones and keeps acne from forming during times of extreme stress or before the menstrual cycle.

Plus, berries taste great with either chocolate or vanilla. This makes a great addition to breakfast, but can also serve as your morning meal, depending on how much you consume.

Look for “light” soy milk, it has less sugar added and therefore fewer calories. Plus, added sugar is one of the “big four enemies to skin health” as discussed in previous lessons.

Protein Fiber Shake – Almond Milk

  • Almond Milk
  • Psyllium husks (unless you are gluten-free)Best-Protein-Shakes-Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapples (fresh, not canned)
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya
  • Blend in a blender or Vita-mix
  • Ice as desired

Getting toxins out of your system is another key to being acne-free.

The popular “Apple Diet”, is an example of toxin removal as way to cure acne.

A shake that is rich in protein as well as fiber will improve your digestive system, boost your energy, and help to clear your acne and pimples faster.

Almond milk, a high source of fiber, is the protein base for this shake, and should be mixed with psyllium husks, bananas, pineapples, mangoes and papaya, to give you the skin-enhancing properties you need, along with enzymes like bromelain and papain, which reduce inflammation and assist the body in metabolizing fats and proteins.Soy-Protein-Shakes-Taylor-Lautner

Almond milk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well, which makes the skin softer and smoother to get rid of acne; the protein in “milk” made from almonds is comparable to the protein content in cow’s milk as well.

This makes a great breakfast as well, as the enzymes will prepare your body for digestion, and the fiber in the shake will keep you full for hours, so you won’t be tempted to consume fatty, sugary snacks that can make your skin worse.

Almond milk example: Silk Pure Almond Vanilla.

Psyllium husk source: Now Foods Psyllium Husk.


Drinking lots of water right before or after you make one of the healthy shakes listed above will activate the fiber in these shakes to make them more effective.

Drinking plenty of water will help you accomplish your clear skin goals as well, since the water will flush out the impurities that have accumulated in your body to cause acne.


These are just some of the dairy-free, protein-rich shakes that you can drink on a regular basis to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Non-dairy protein shakes can be great for your diet for acne and acne treatment nutrition plan.Best-Protein-Shakes-for-Acne-Cristiano-Ronaldo

Of course, a diet that is rich in meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and natural fiber will help tremendously, along with the shakes, to help you achieve a flawless complexion.

Here’s to your skin health!

Top Recommended Blender: Vitamix 5200s.
High quality lower cost blender: Cuisinart Power Blend Duet.


Do you have any favorite protein shakes that you would like to recommend? If so please  feel free to leave a comment below.

Quick Jump to all recommended acne treatment products: The Acne Project Store

YouTube videos – The Best Protein Shakes for Acne and for Clear Skin

The Dr.’s – Hemp Protein

More Resources

Wikipedia -Hemp



  1. Protein shake says:

    Protein is the building block of muscles and essential for repair and growth of muscle after exercise. Whenever you exercise, and particularly during resistance exercise, you cause microscopic damage to the myofibrils of muscle fiber (myofibrils are small protein filaments in the muscle fiber that help the muscle contract).

    protein consumed before exercise and within 30 minutes of finishing your workout will help with growth and recovery. The guideline for protein consumption after exercise is 1 gram for every 3-4 grams of carbohydrate. Peanut butter has 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Yogurt is another good source of protein. The guidelines for quantity of protein before exercise are not as clear as after, but you can experiment and see if you notice any difference.

  2. Great information for people seeking not only muscle gains and fitness but also nutritional health

  3. I think this is among the most important information for
    me. And i’m glad reading your site.
    Good job, cheers William

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