Does Soy Cause Acne? This Is What Our Research Found…
Soy milk has become a staple in many of our diets because vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are becoming more mainstream and popular. Soy is used to make foods like tofu, which is often used to replace meat in popular vegan dishes. Soy is also seen as a healthy alternative to dairy and meat.
But does soy cause acne? Many advertisements for “clean eating” and “clean beauty” list soy as a natural or even healthy ingredient. The truth is that soy can make acne worse and can even make hormonal acne worse. In this article, I’ll talk about how soy affects your hormones, give you a list of foods that are high in soy that you should avoid, and explain why this so-called “clean” food might be making you break out.
Does Soy Cause Acne?
Even though soy won’t give you acne the moment you eat it or touch it, there are a few ways that eating it regularly can affect your skin. Most of the time, soy can make acne worse in four ways, which I’ll list below:
One of the main ways soy can cause acne in women is by messing up their hormones. Soy contains isoflavones, which are a type of estrogen that can increase estrogen and mess up the natural balance of hormones in a woman’s body. This can stop the body’s own estrogen from working properly.
When too much soy is eaten, male hormones called androgens rise in the body. This can throw off the body’s hormones, causing estrogen levels to drop and male hormone levels to rise. High levels of androgen have been linked to a higher rate of acne, which can be caused by this hormonal imbalance.
When the body’s hormones are out of whack, the first place you might notice the effects is on your skin.
Soy products can disrupt the digestive system
Acne can also be caused by soy through the digestive system. As you are probably aware, diet is a critical component of acne and acne-prone skin care.When you eat foods that cause inflammation or raise your blood sugar, your body may produce too much insulin, which can lead to breakouts.
So, does soy cause inflammation? Not directly, but highly processed soy can be hard for the body’s digestive system to break down. Any kind of soy product that has been changed, like “textured soy protein” or “soy protein isolate,” should be avoided.
When your body’s digestive system can’t break down some foods, you’ll get inflammation and, you guessed it, some pretty nasty inflammatory acne breakouts. So, if you still want to eat soy, it’s best to stick to completely natural soy products (such as
Soy allergies are possible. Yes, it is true. Around 1 million people in the US are said to be allergic to soybeans. Even though this only affects 0.3% of the US population, that’s still almost 1 million people who could have problems like inflammation, acne, and more. Soy allergies can cause inflammation both inside the body and on the skin. If you’ve recently started eating more soy, like if you became a vegan or vegetarian, and your skin is acting up, you might want to stop eating soy products and see if that helps.
In one of my other articles, I talked about how switching to a vegan diet can sometimes lead to skin problems and acne. Many vegan diets are high in carbs that raise blood sugar, and a lot of vegan products have antinutrients that make it hard for the body to absorb zinc.
You can still eat a plant-based diet and live a vegan lifestyle and not get acne, but you need to choose the right foods and make sure you get enough vitamins. Check out the article I linked to above for tips on how to make the best vegan diet for people with acne that is based on plants.
Skin care products are the last way that soy has been linked to acne. Soy is a comedogenic ingredient, which means that when it’s put on the skin (like in a face cream), it can block the pores (called comedones) and cause acne.
A breakout caused by skincare is easy to spot because the pimples usually look like small whiteheads. But comedogenic ingredients can also cause clogged pores in cystic acne, which is why it’s so important to avoid them if you have severe acne. There are comedogenic ingredients in a lot of skincare products, and some of them are even sold as “clean beauty” or “natural skincare.”
So, putting soy-based skin care products on skin that is prone to acne won’t do anything but block the pores and cause annoying breakouts. If you’re using soy-based skin care products, this could explain why your skin keeps breaking out for no reason.
Try not using any more skin care products with soy in them and see if your problem gets better.
How soy causes acne?
Here’s how hormonal acne works: Our bodies need a healthy balance of female and male hormones, which we’ll call “androgens.” Like parking spots, the androgens go to their receptors, and the estrogens go to their receptors. When the balance is off and there is an increase in androgens, acne is likely to happen. There are chemicals in plants called phytoestrogens, and soy has a lot of them. These plant estrogens act like the estrogen in our bodies. They sneak into their parking spots, leaving the real estrogens to wander around and not do their job. Since phytoestrogens are only a small part of the strength of real estrogen, we lose that function and end up with more androgen-dominant activity, which makes acne worse.
The second way that soy causes acne is by making your stomach upset. This is because it is usually changed so much with chemicals (think “textured soy protein” or “soy protein isolate”). These are highly processed and can cause problems in the body because they aren’t broken down as easily or because they contain structures that aren’t natural. We think it’s best to stick with edamame instead of the processed stuff because it’s in its natural state and hasn’t had its nutrients taken away. Inflammation is caused by processed foods.
The third and most common way soy causes acne is when it is put on the skin. Soy is a popular filler, especially in “vegan skincare,” “organic skincare,” and “natural” beauty products, as we already said. Please keep in mind that “clean beauty” and “natural” mean nothing at all when it comes to acne. When they are put on the skin, coconut oil, soy and wheat extract, and even healthy fats like avocado oil, still clog pores. Soy is in a lot of clean beauty products, and this makes people break out all the time. Check your ingredient lists for soy and the list on our site for other pore-clogging ingredients. This is the BEST way to get rid of breakouts. Here are the three kinds of acne that soy can cause.
Tofu, soy milk, and soy protein are all made from soy. There is a lot of processed soy because it is easy to change its genes and companies can make a lot of it for a low price. Because it is cheap, it is used as a filler in both food and cosmetics. This is important because it’s pretty much everywhere. If you look at the labels, you’ll find that lotions, makeup, dog food, protein bars, salad dressings, and other packaged foods all contain soy, soybean oil, and soy proteins. When we eat soy often (more than once a week), the phytoestrogens take over the natural estrogen receptors in our bodies and stop them from doing their job. When this happens too much, it can make estrogen take over and cause acne.
Is soy good for you?
This question is a little hard for me to answer because it has been shown that eating soy can have both good and bad effects. Since skin health is my main concern (especially how to treat acne-prone skin), I’d say that soy is bad for you in general, or at least bad for your skin.
Soy has a lot of antinutrients that make it hard for your body to take in nutrients, and the isoflavones in soy have been linked to cancer, especially in women (where soy has contributed to fluctuating and disrupted hormone levels).
Still, studies back up the idea that soy can be a good addition to a healthy diet. Many people say that because soy is full of plant-based nutrients, it is good for your health and well-being as a whole. Some evidence suggests that eating more soy is linked to lower levels of cholesterol and obesity.
Even if this is true, there are a lot of other foods that have the same benefits but none of the bad things. Plus, soy products made today are rarely all natural and are not made in any way. Most soy products you can buy in stores have been refined and changed, so they are considered GMO. Even if I ignore the acne question, this makes it hard for me to recommend soy as a protein or meat substitute.
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