Can BCAAs Cause Acne?

Do BCAAs cause acne? This is a question that you may have been asking yourself. Well, the answer to this question is not straightforward. Many people believe it can, while others argue that it cannot. 

The truth is that some studies show evidence of an association between BCAA supplementation and acne. Still, more research needs to be done before determining if they genuinely do cause acne or not. 

In this article, we will discuss whether BCAAs Cause Acne by discussing what they are, how they work in your body and other important information about them, such as side effects and potential benefits.

What are BCAAs?

They are amino acids that your body can create naturally or get through the foods you eat. However, many people choose to take supplements instead, which contain more amino acids than what is found in natural food sources. 

There are three types of BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Leucine has been shown to have some potential side effects, including acne breakouts. At the same time, both iso-leucine and valine do not appear to be associated with any adverse side effects at all – they may even provide benefits!

Why would BCAAs cause acne?

There are two potential reasons for this. The first is that they can affect your hormones, which affect how oily or dry your skin gets, and the rate at which you produce sebum – a greasy substance made from lipids (fats) and oils produced by our body to protect our hair and skin. 

This excessive sebum production can lead to clogged pores on your face, blocking the normal oil flow out of your pore. If bacteria accumulate within these blocked pores, it can cause inflammation, leading to acne breakouts.

IGF-I Hormone

BCAAs may be associated with causing acne in their relationship with insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). IGF-I is a hormone shown to increase sebum production and stimulate the growth of acne-causing bacteria. 

Although more research needs to be done before saying whether or not BCAAs cause acne, you should know that other potential side effects are associated with BCAA supplementation, such as diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach, etc.

How to avoid acne from BCAAs

To avoid potential acne from BCAAs, you should take them with food. This will help reduce their effects on your hormones and any adverse side effects, such as diarrhea, etc. 

It may also be helpful to do a little research and determine which specific BCAA supplement is right for you by reading some reviews online or even talking directly to other people who have used it previously.


BCAAs may help you lose weight, but if not consumed in the right way, they can cause acne. In addition, there are some other side effects of BCAA supplementation, including diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach, etc. Additionally, be careful when consuming any time of supplement designed to improve athletic performance. Many types of protein powders and pre-workout supplements are loaded with sugar and frequently trigger acne breakouts.

To avoid potential acne from BCAAs, take them with food or research which specific BCAA supplement is right for you by reading reviews or talking directly to people who have used it previously.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Creatine give you acne?

No, Creatine does not cause acne. However, it is a very popular supplement that may even help you to reduce your risk of acne breakouts when combined with other supplements or medications in some cases. 

It’s important to note that there are many different types of creatine available, and each one has varying amounts of the three main ingredients, including magnesium chelate (creatine), dicalcium phosphate anhydrous, and crospovidone which can affect how effective they are at reducing inflammation in the body as well as boosting energy levels for workouts.

Can protein powder make you break out?

This is a question that many people ask; however, the answer to this is no. Protein powder does not cause acne; it can be beneficial for your skin if you are trying to lose weight or tone up since protein helps your body create muscle that burns more calories than fat does. 

You should always read reviews before purchasing any supplement online and ensure that they contain natural ingredients, instead of harmful chemicals, like parabens.

Originally Published: October 29, 2021

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I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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