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Mass gainer supplements are popular for their ability to help people grow – but can mass gainer cause acne? It’s a common fear, and not a misplaced one.
Mass gainers are high calorie supplements packed with carbohydrates and protein, and that can be a problem for some people. Let’s look at their effects on the skin, if they cause acne, and what you can do to keep your skin safe and healthy…
Can Mass Gainer Cause Acne?
Mass gainer cannot cause acne but it can be a high-risk food for many people who are prone to acne. This is due to the reliance on whey, the often-simple carbohydrates, and the sheer digestive burden of consuming so many calories in such a short space of time.
Whey Protein: An Acne Risk Factor
Mass gainers that use whey protein have independent risks, since whey is associated with increased acne. This seems to be less risky when switched out for a different dairy-derived protein or a plant protein source, which are both better for skin health.
This could be for a wide range of reasons, but it’s no coincidence that a lot of fast-absorbing proteins put stress on your gut and skin. The two are closely related and many people simply can’t “get on with” whey.
Simple Carbs: Energy for Acne?
Mass gainers are also very high calorie due to simple carbohydrates, which makes them an extra risk. Leaner mass gainers seem to have less association with acne flare ups, potentially due to reduced sugar and simple starch content – which have long been associated with acne risks. (Here are some sugar free weight gainers)
The increased growth-stimulus may also be independently risky for acne, where hormonal changes associated with increased growth also increase acne risk. This is true for both men and women, and is seen with other foods.
The difference is that mass gainer is all about growth and the sheer calorie content and growth stimulus – especially in a short time due to liquid delivery- makes it a high-risk choice for acne.
Mass Gainer Gut Burden
Finally, remember that you’re putting a significant amount of strain on your gut and its bacteria. These are closely linked to skin health regulation, and in ways we don’t really understand.
Mass gainers are large, calorie-dense food supplements with a ton of calories and proteins – which may burden the gut more than is healthy. If you’re typically a bad responder to whey protein and lots of starch, mass gainer may be an unfortunate pairing of the two for your skin health.
Consider what you’re asking your gut to digest and then ask yourself if you need to slam 1300 calories in a single serving from a liquid source that (in lower quality supplements)
How Can You Prevent Acne When Using Mass Gainer Supplements?
The main way to prevent acne when using a mass gainer supplement is to have a well-balanced diet and water routine.
This reduces the risk of unwanted total-diet problems that may be associated with poor skin health – such as deficiency in important vitamins and minerals.
Starting with a foundation of vitamin and mineral sufficiency prevents some of the most common risks around acne flare-ups.
It also lets you add mass gainer to your diet with certainty on the input and outcomes.
1. Control Your Mass Gainer Dose
The second thing you can do is start slow with mass gainers – they’re very high calorie products and may cause problems if the dose alone is too high. You should begin with half or even quarter servings to assess your tolerance and ensure that you’re not charging into a skin problem.
Effective dosing is an easy way to get more from a mass gainer in general, but specifically limits how much risk you take with acne.
It’s entirely possible that a reasonable amount of mass gainer (e.g. a quarter serving, which may provide 300 calories) is fine, but a full 1200-calorie serving is a serious risk.
The sheer quantity of whey and simple carbohydrates is enough to make a difference to even the best skin-care diet.
2. Use Plant Based Mass Gainer or Milk Protein
Finally, you can actively change to a mass gainer that has a more skin-friendly profile.
Plant proteins are typically lower risk, which helps reduce the inherent risk of dairy interactions, of gut related acne problems, and could be a single switch that helps reduce acne risk.
Alternatively, switch to a lower calorie or deliberately gut-friendly alternative.
Digestive enzyme content, collagen fortification, high doses of vitamin C or important electrolytes, and other ingredients can all be great choices for taking care of your skin when you’re acne-prone.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Do Workout Supplements Cause Acne?
No – workout supplements don’t cause acne, but some of them (especially anything with whey in) can produce greater risk for those who already have acne. This could be due to the effect on the gut bacteria, a personal intolerance, or just the combined effort of whey and other foods for growth.
Be careful when adding new supplements into your diet and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any concerns around skin health.
2. Does Whey Protein Cause Acne?
Whey protein doesn’t cause acne but it can contribute to greater risk of flare-ups in those who already suffer with acne. It’s an association, meaning that it’s not a 1-1 cause every time, but does increase likelihood.
It’s best to be careful if you’re prone to acne, and be sure to keep diet mostly-stable when trying to add in new supplements. Make sure to start with very low doses to assess tolerance, and see if anything changes.
3. Is Plant Protein Better For Your Skin?
Plant protein is less likely to cause an acne flare up in those susceptible to them when compared to whey protein, specifically. Other dairy product derived proteins like casein and milk protein seem to be less detrimental to skin health.
Consider a plant protein blend (one that mixes sources to provide a complete amino acid profile) like pea, hemp, and rice if you’re experiencing unwanted skin problems with dairy derived proteins.
4. Can Supplements Improve Your Skin Health?
While some supplements like whey protein and mass gainer may lead to flare ups, other supplements like vitamin C, collagen peptides, and anti-inflammatories can reduce these risks.
Proper balance of vitamins, minerals (especially electrolytes), and hydration in the body all contribute to better skin health. Your skin is an organ, just like any other, and requires appropriate protection and care for best health.
5. Does Weight Gain Cause Acne?
Weight gain may cause acne if you’re susceptible to it already – as the anabolic process can increase swelling and other processes. It’s a hormonal change that triggers acne for some people, but it does usually require an underlying vulnerability to acne.
Excessive weight gain in a short space of time is particularly dangerous, so be patient if you’re trying to gain weight.
6. Any Mass Gainer that Doesn’t Cause Acne?
If you take recommended servings and do not have a prior condition, none of the mass gainers are going to cause acne. Transparent Labs Mass Gainer is a great overall mass gainer for lean muscle and weight gain.
Conclusion: Using Mass Gainer Without Acne Flare-Ups?
Mass gainers can aggravate acne if you’re already prone, though they won’t cause it by themselves. They put you at a higher risk which, for acne prone people, may lead to more breakouts.
If you address your mass gainer intake and overall diet, you can reduce these risks, and use mass gainer without ill effects. It’s about your personal use pattern, diet, and risk – you can use just a little to get a sense for what your skin is happy with, and go from there.
Remember: You should see what works for you and let your skin take the lead from a stable diet and lifestyle. Then you’ll know for sure the answer to the question: “does mass gainer cause acne”.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.