An article published in the September 2012 Cutis Journal described a case study of five teenage boys who took whey protein supplements for weight gain and muscle building. Shortly after initiation of whey protein supplementation, these boys experienced an onset on acne that they did not previously experience. These five teenage boys were treated with traditional acne treatments, including retinoids, oral antibiotics, and benzoyl peroxide, but did not see improvement on any of these treatment regimens. After stopping whey protein supplementation, the acne quickly resolved in four of the boys. Upon restarting whey protein supplementation, acne returned in one of the boys.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “These case studies are exciting because they exhibit a possible link between acne and dairy consumption. We have seen in other studies that dairy may have a possible link to the formation of acne, but did not know exactly which component of dairy products was to blame. Although more studies are necessary to determine not only the link between dairy and acne, but the link between whey protein and acne, this case study helps us to see one of the possible causes of acne in teenage boys.”
It is important to begin treatment for acne promptly, before permanent scarring occurs. Treatments for acne include retinoids (such as Retin-A Micro, Tazorac, Differin, Atralin), benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin combinations medications (including Benzaclin, Duac, Acanya), oral antibiotics (including Doryx, Solodyn, minocycline, doxycycline, azithromycin), isotretinoin (Accutane), and in-office laser and light therapy (which works more quickly than prescription medications. In-office treatments include Photodynamic Therapy, Blue Light Therapy, Red Light Therapy, Isolaz Acne Treatment, medical extractions and IPL.)