Does Mass Gainer Cause Acne & Pimples?

January 9, 2024 |

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In this article, you will discover the association between mass gainers and acne and how you can cope with your mass gainer-induced acne problems.

Well, yes! Mass gainer can cause acne. But can you limit this problem while having your mass gainer?

And is there any possible way you can prevent it? While still enjoying and boasting about those bulky gains? Yes, certainly! All it takes is to be mindful of a few things, opt for some preventive strategies, and be consistent in your workout regimen.

Let’s discuss it in detail in the subsequent sections, starting with understanding the underlying reasons why your mass gainer causes you to breakout:

Does mass gainer cause acne?

Woman with acne

Acne – around 50 million people in the U.S alone face this nuisance in their lives. Sometimes your food and supplements also trigger acne. Likewise, mass gainers are also suspected of causing acne.

First off, you are not alone if you got acne. It is relatively ubiquitous to experience acne when using mass gainers.

We will start off by looking into the ingredients of mass gainers that can cause acne and, if your skin is already acne-prone, can worsen your acne.

  • Whey protein
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed carbs
  • Creatine

Does whey protein in mass gainers cause acne?

The answer to the above query is a resounding yes! But how? Let’s get into it. A mass gainer might result in acne because of the dairy it includes, whether in the product itself or when you use milk as a mixer.

Well, milk contains two types of proteins:

  • whey
  • casein

Whey, more than casein, is the culprit behind acne outbreaks because it boosts the production of IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor.

Moreover, it sets off hormones that overstimulate oil glands, resulting in clogged pores and acne.

This milk protein makes it difficult for the body to process blood sugar which resultantly triggers skin inflammation, increasing sebum production that ultimately contributes to acne.

However, you might have assumed that whey protein breakouts affect those sensitive to dairy, but this isn’t the case.

To shed some light on this, I would like to take your attention to a study conducted in 2013, which demonstrated that acne significantly increased in users of whey protein depending on how long it was used. This study included samples from people with and without prior acne history.

Also, professionals warn that anyone who consumes whey proteins may experience spikes in testosterone that cause breakouts.

Since casein can also cause a spike in testosterone levels, if whey protein causes breakouts, casein protein probably will do likewise.

A user shared his experience on Reddit about how he started getting large red boils after consuming his mass gainer with milk.

I reckon you got it; why?

Do Artificial sweeteners in mass gainers cause acne?

Not all mass gainers have artificial sweeteners, but if yours have them, this could lead to an acne flare-up. Artificial sweeteners cause a slight rise in insulin levels by triggering the release of cephalic phase insulin.

Our gut bacteria’s balance is altered by its regular use, and our cells may become resistant to the insulin we produce, resulting in higher levels of both blood sugar and insulin.

And this hormonal imbalance can result in breakouts and worsened acne.

Another such hormone that rises when insulin level spikes is testosterone. A rise in testosterone may result in oilier skin and larger pores, which are ideal conditions for acne.

The body excretes artificial sweeteners through perspiration or urine as it does not use them for biological purposes.

Sweating out artificial sweeteners might result in irritation, pimples, acne outbreaks, or blocked pores.

In 2013 a study published in dental care showed that sugar levels increased by 14% and insulin levels by 20% in persons consuming sucralose, which is actually the major artificial sweetener in mass gainers. Moreover, these fluctuations caused a hormonal imbalance in the subjects.

Hormonal imbalance and insulin spikes- a perfect storm for acne.

First things first, limit your sugar intake and look for mass gainers without artificial sweeteners. My personal favorite is Crazy Nutrition’s.

CrazyNutrition Mass Gainer bottle

Do processed Carbs in mass gainers cause acne?

The carbohydrate maltodextrin is one of the main components in several mass gainers. Maltodextrin is a good source of calories and helps in weight gain. Furthermore, it aids in the replenishment of glycogen.

However, just like artificial sweeteners, eating too many carbohydrates can increase your insulin resistance. They might therefore be a contributor to acne.

Does creatine in mass gainers cause acne?

Creatine is considered quite safe, and there is no evidence linking it to acne. In fact, creatine is good for your skin, particularly for preventing the effects of aging.

Some evidence shows that creatine helps reduce UV damage, wrinkles, and sagging skin.

Also read: Does mass gainer cause hair loss?

How to prevent acne from whey protein?

As whey protein is the key factor in mass gainers causing acne, this section focuses on how you can prevent it from causing harm to your skin.

Here are some suggestions for avoiding whey protein-related acne outbreaks;

  • If you have acne-prone skin, switch to a plant protein blend(one that blends sources to give you a complete amino acid profile), such as pea, hemp, and rice.
  • When working out, avoid wearing tight clothes. Acne may develop as a result of sweat and sebum accumulation.
  • Reduce your whey protein consumption. You can experiment with reducing the quantity or frequency to see how it performs. Stop using it if there is no improvement, and look for substitutes.
  • Use prescribed acne medication to reduce inflammation. Such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For advice on specific products, consult a dermatologist.
  • To clear the pores, use a non-comedogenic cleanser, preferably one that contains salicylic acid.
  • After your workout, take a quick shower to avoid bacterial growth and dirt buildup in the skin pores, and avoid using dirty towels and garments.

As discussed earlier, instead of whey protein, you can use vegan proteins. Here are a few options you might want to try to reduce acne lesions without compromising your muscle-building objectives.

  • Brown rice protein powder
  • Egg white protein powder
  • Pea protein powder

How can I get rid of acne from mass gainers?

As discussed that some mass gainer components, such as whey protein and artificial sweeteners, can contribute to acne.

So, the first step to getting rid of it is to switch to a supplement that lacks all these possible acne-triggering elements, and for the damage that your old mass gainer has already done, I have shared a few simple yet practical tips that’ll help you cope with it.

1. Take a fish oil supplement

Fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oils have been demonstrated to reduce inflammation, a major factor in the development of acne.

In one trial, omega 3, linoleic acid, or a placebo supplement were given to 45 acne patients. This finding showed that those who took omega 3 supplements experienced significantly fewer acne lesions than those who took a placebo.

2. Take A Supplement of Milk Thistle

Due to its liver-protective properties, milk thistle is a well-known dietary supplement. However, few people are aware of its capacity to lessen acne.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, milk thistle may aid in the improvement of acne.

3. Take cold showers more often

For a variety of reasons, cold showers are beneficial for acne.

For instance, they contribute to your body’s increased production of white blood cells. By doing this, your body will have more weapons to combat the bacteria that cause acne on your skin.

Cold showers also assist in reducing oiliness by not drying out your skin.

Mass gainer that doesn’t cause acne

In my honest opinion, after thorough research and proper scrutiny, I would say every other mass gainer has one or the other acne-triggering element, except one;

1. Naked vegan mass gainer

vegan naked mass

This product got my attention as it has no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors and is Gluten Free, GMO-Free, Soy Free, and Dairy Free with no rBGH or rBST.

Moreover, this mass gainer is lactose-free and contains quality Naked Pea and Naked Rice protein.

And when combined with a weightlifting training routine, Naked Vegan Mass gives your body the amino acids it needs to maintain protein synthesis and aids in muscle growth.

Let’s talk about its ingredients. Well, It has only 3 ingredients:

  • Pea protein powder
  • Organic rice protein powder
  • Maltodextrin (made from gluten-free, organic tapioca)

The unflavored vegan mass powder has 1,230 calories, 50g of protein, 248g of complex carbs, and 10.3g of BCAAs per serving (branched-chain amino acids).

However, if this does not appeal to you, then fret not; you can make your own mass gainer as well.

Here’s how to make your mass gainer at home

This mass gainer recipe is a divine drink for those who want to put on some lean muscles but have acne-prone skin or dairy allergies.

It will provide you with all the essential nutrients, and you won’t have to compromise on the calorie count as its 1 serving will provide you 949 kcal.


  • 2 cups plant-based milk like soy milk (474ml)
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup raw oats (40 grams)
  • 2 scoops of protein powder (pea protein powder or rice protein powder)
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 3 ice cubes

How to do it:

In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend the ingredients thoroughly until the texture is smooth.

Also read: Dangerous Mass Gainer Side Effects


Mass gainers can cause acne because of artificial sweeteners, carbs, and dairy- whey. All those ingredients can contribute to acne and can make your acne worse. To avoid it all, you can simply take the alternatives that don’t have the above-mentioned ingredients or just make your mass gainer at home, as I shared with you.

I hope this article provides a solution for your acne that consistently hinders your journey toward a lean, bulky, and healthy body.

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