Can amino acids cause acne? The whole idea of protein/amino acids causing acne outbreaks might seem odd. We usually think of fried foods, chocolate, and sugar as triggering acne outbreaks. As is often the case regarding health issues, many people have the wrong idea about what causes or worsen acne.
The main factor is hair follicles get clogged up with dirt and oil, which causes inflammation and acne-like pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Well, it turns out certain amino acids and especially ones in cow’s milk can cause such outbreaks. It’s critical to know which amino acids might trigger skin acne.
What Exactly Is Acne?
There are lots of myths about there about acne. What exactly is it? What causes it? Do only teens have to deal with the North Star and strawberry nose?
Fun Fact: 55% of American adults between 20 to 40 years old get acne.
Acne is most common among teens, but older adults can get it too. Acne tends to be more severe among older adults than people in their teens/20s. While hormonal changes are one of the biggest causes it can also result from different substances. That includes the amino acids leucine and glutamine in cow’s milk. More on that later.
The actual cause of acne might be surprising. While certain foods can trigger acne it results in hair follicles get clogged up with skin cells/oil. This results in different kinds of acne-like pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
Acne can appear anywhere on the skin. However, it usually appears in certain areas like:
- Arms (upper)
Besides pimples and blackheads, you can also get other kinds of acne like whiteheads, nodules, and cysts. While there are some similarities between these kinds of acne they’re also unique in certain ways.
Acne is more common in certain regions than in others. For example, up to 85% of people from 12 to 24 years old get some kind of acne even if it’s mild. It’s the most common skin condition in the USA and other countries.
However, acne tends to happen when people go to puberty. This is when the skin’s oil glands become more active.
While acne isn’t as serious as other conditions, it can still result in skin scars. So it’s important to deal with it as effectively as possible. The skin glands make oil and are triggered by male hormones that the “adrenal glands” produce.
Can Amino Acids Cause Acne?
If you apply OTC products with amino acids to your skin, it might be surprising that acne is possible. That’s because proteins/aminos might seem like stuff that can cause acne. Keep in mind that it’s clogged skin follicles that cause the acne.
However, various triggers can result in acne outbreaks. This is why many people have the idea that sugar, chocolate, and fat can cause acne. If you want to reduce acne outbreaks you should avoid all these foods.
Here’s why. Sugar and chocolate can cause blood sugar spikes and worsen acne-causing inflammation. Meanwhile, a high-fat diet can produce which oil, which in turn can clog up hair follicles and cause acne.
Inflammation is one of the main acne triggers. Besides white sugar, you should also avoid other foods like refined grains (white rice, white flour, etc.) and artificial additives since they could also boost inflammation.
When picking amino acid cream/lotions you should avoid certain amino acids. That’s because the glutamine and leucine in cow’s milk can sometimes trigger dairy allergies and acne.
You might have the same effect if you select a topical amino acid product with those same amino acids. This is especially true if you have a milk allergy. In that case, you should avoid such amino acids since they’re the ones triggering the acne breakouts.
What’s the problem with these aminos? They boost the growth of skin cells and divide faster. This helps to explain why they often cause acne when combined.
Studies also show that the amino acid profile of whey proteins might also trigger acne. This milk protein is higher in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. So these are other aminos you should consider avoiding when picking amino acid creams/lotions/serums. That said, more research is needed about the possible link between BCAAs and acne.
Tips for Avoiding Acne
1. Ditch skincare products with oil
Since extra oil can clog up hair follicles, this is something you should avoid. The main exception would be if you have dry skin and need to hydrate your skin more. Other than that, you should look for oil-free skincare products to help prevent acne breakouts.
2. Avoid certain foods
It includes ones like white sugar, refined grains, and high-carb foods. The main reason is that these foods can cause inflammation through blood sugar spikes. It’s better to go with low-glycemic index (GI) foods since they’re less likely to cause inflammation and acne.
3. Don’t exfoliate too much
While it’s a good idea to remove dead skin cells it’s important not to do it too often. Doing it from time to time can boost skin health. That’s because there are fewer skin cells to clog up pores. However, the problem is you can also remove too much skin oil, which can trigger more pimples, blackheads, etc.
How often should you exfoliate? If you have regular skin, then 3x per week is enough. Make sure to get some advice from your doctor about this issue for the best results.
4. Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen
While you should take this step anyway, it’s critical if you also want to reduce your risk of blackheads and whiteheads. Sunburns can produce extra skin oil, and thus acne.
You should also consider picking an oil-free sunscreen. That will also help to reduce the risk of oil buildup on your skin, which could plug up hair follicles.
5. Reduce stress levels
This might seem like something unrelated to acne. What’s it all about? The problem with stress is that it can boost inflammation, which can worsen acne breakouts. Try to use methods like meditation, yoga, exercise, hobbies, and entertainment to help reduce stress levels after learning can amino acids cause acne.