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Does Mass Gainer Cause Acne? (Yes, Here’s How To Stop It!)

So, you’ve decided it’s time to say goodbye to your skinny body with the help of mass gainer.

I respect your decision!

While I don’t take it myself, I know many people who swear by the stuff.

One reason why I avoid it is that I’m prone to pimples.

In other words, there are various foods/drinks/supplements out there that can give me acne breakouts. And in my eyes, mass gainer is one of these supplements.

So in this article, I’m going to cover why mass gainer can cause acne, whether all mass gainers cause acne, and more!


Let’s get started.

Does Mass Gainer Cause Acne?

According to research, some ingredients in mass gainer, such as whey protein, can cause acne. However, there have been no actual studies investigating the relationship between mass gainer and acne.

Woman checking her acne in a mirror

Reasons Why Mass Gainer Can Cause Acne

Mass Gainer Is High In Artificial Sweeteners

What do the following mass gainers have in common?

  • Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass
  • BSN True-Mass
  • MuscleTech Mass Tech

Answer: They’re loaded with artificial sweeteners.

Why could this be an issue for acne sufferers?

Well, research suggests that various artificial sweeteners increase insulin resistance.

For example, in one study, 15 subjects took either 200mg of sucralose or a placebo every day for 4 weeks.

By the end of the study, the sucralose group were more insulin resistant than the placebo group.

Another study showed that consuming aspartame with a meal significantly increases insulin levels compared to when consuming a natural sweetener with a meal.

Unfortunately for acne sufferers, insulin resistance may play an important part in acne development. (Source)

Mass Gainer Is High In Carbs

One of the main ingredients in mass gainers is maltodextrin – a type of carbohydrate.

Maltodextrin helps you gain weight as it’s a good source of calories.

And since it’s a carb, it helps replenish glycogen which results in you putting on water weight.

But like artificial sweeteners, carbs spike your insulin levels and can make you more insulin resistant.

As a result, they may contribute to acne.

Mass Gainer Is High In Whey Protein

Whey protein is another main ingredient in mass gainers, as it’s a healthy source of calories and it helps you build muscle mass.

But whey protein increases the production of IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), which is a hormone that can increase oil production in your pores.

In acne-prone individuals, oily skin is more likely to lead to pimples as it blocks your pores and get inflamed.

So it’s no surprise to see that research links whey protein consumption with acne breakouts.

Do All Mass Gainers Cause Acne?

It’s unlikely that all mass gainers cause acne.

One reason is that some mass gainers contain no artificial sweeteners.

So if they’re what causes your acne, then by taking a mass gainer without them, it’s unlikely to give you acne.

Also, as we’re all unique human beings, our bodies react differently to different things.

So while mass gainer A may give you acne, it might not do anything to my skin.

Whereas mass gainer B may give me acne and do nothing to your skin.

What Should You Do If Your Mass Gainer Gives You Acne?

1. Reduce Your Dairy Intake

If your mass gainer contains either whey or casein protein, then this may be why it’s giving you acne.

So it makes sense to limit your dairy intake from other sources, so that you don’t get even more acne.

2. Take A Fish Oil Supplement

Fish oils are rich in the fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been shown to reduce inflammation – a key player in acne formation.

In one study, 45 acne sufferers took supplements that contained either omega 3, linoleic acid, or a placebo.

According to the results, those who took the omega 3 supplements had significantly reduced acne lesions compared to the those who took a placebo.

(Interestingly, those who took the linoleic acid supplements had reduced acne too.)

3. Reduce Your Carb Intake

Lowering your carb intake is a good way to reduce insulin resistance.

Since insulin resistance can contribute to acne, by lowering your carbs, you’re doing your skin a massive favor.

4. Take A Milk Thistle Supplement

Milk thistle is a popular supplement for its protective effects on the liver.

But few people are aware of its ability to reduce acne.

In one study, 60 acne sufferers were given either milk thistle, antibiotics, or a combo of both.

According to the results, those who took milk thistle showed similar improvements in acne as those who took antibiotics, based off their Global Acne Grading System scores.

Milk thistle may help improve acne due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

5. Reduce Your Artificial Sweetener Intake

If your mass gainer is loaded with artificial sweeteners, then this could lead to acne development due to increased insulin resistance.

So it makes sense to reduce your artificial sweetener intake to minimize insulin resistance from other sources.

6. Take Cold Showers

Cold showers are awesome for acne for multiple reasons.

For example, they help increase the number of white blood cells in your body. (Source)

By doing so, your body has more ammo at fighting the bacteria on your skin which contributes to acne.

Also, cold showers help reduce oiliness by not drying your skin out.

(Hot showers dry out your skin, which results in glands producing more oil. This is like putting gas on a flame for acne sufferers.)


In summary:

  • Some of the ingredients in mass gainer, like sugar, whey protein, and artificial sweeteners may cause acne in certain individuals.
  • As of the time of writing this post, there’s been no studies investigating the relationship between weight gainer supplements and acne.

That’s all for mass gainer and acne, but does mass gainer make you poop? Or, what happens when you stop taking mass gainer?

Hope this helped!