Before you head to the health food store to buy your next fitness supplement, beware! Sure, they can help you build bigger muscles, but guess what? They can also lead to bigger breakouts! Read on for what you need to know before putting that protein powder in your basket.
Certain ingredients can aggravate acne. The first of these ingredients to look out for is iodides, including iodine and potassium iodide. Iodides are also found in whey, soy, spirulina, chlorella, blue-green algae, kelp, and seaweed. When iodine is supplemented, the body absorbs the amount it needs and the excess is excreted through the oil glands, irritating the follicle. Large enough amounts of iodine can actually induce acne in anyone, even those who are not prone to acne! We advise you to just stay away from it altogether.
Instead of whey or soy protein, opt for pea, egg, or hemp protein and check the ingredients to make sure it’s free of all other sources of iodides listed above. And watch out for protein bars! Most of them contain whey and/or soy as the protein source.
Another ingredient to be aware of is biotin. This B vitamin can also be found in supplements touted to help grow hair, skin, and nails. So, why is it a problem? It accelerates cell production, which is already the issue with acne-prone skin: you are making too many layers of dead skin cells a day and your pores can’t keep up. You certainly don’t need any help in producing even more skin to clog those pores! So, the next time you come across a huge display of biotin that promises amazing results, run, don’t walk!
And now for something that you won’t find on the shelves at your local natural foods market: anabolic steroids. Illicitly available as testosterone pills and shots, steroids cause very rapid onset inflamed acne or exacerbate existing acne within a few days of dosing. Since testosterone is responsible for activating your oil glands in the first place, just think what mega doses of it will do to your skin! And just like iodine, steroids can affect people who are not acne-prone. Keep in mind also that strength training on its own—without the aid of steroids—can boost the production of testosterone in the body, in both men and women. More muscles may mean more acne.
You don’t have to give up your quest for clear skin on the road to a hard body, but if you’re dealing with more than sore muscles post-workout, think twice before taking that fitness supplement!