Is Soy Your Acne Friend or Foe?

does soybean cause

Does soybean cause acne?
Recent studies suggest that soy, particularly in higher doses of isoflavones, may actually help reduce acne lesions, contradicting the common belief that soy causes acne. Individual responses can vary, so it’s advisable to monitor your skin’s reaction to soy consumption.


Be beauty. Be plant-based!

As a former Registered Nurse and avid plant-muncher, I’m in love with how simple plant-based foods make it easy to be beautiful.

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In our busy lives, taking care of skin health is a vital part of feeling gorgeous inside and out. It’s no secret that what we eat plays a huge role in how we look and feel. Today, we’re diving into a question that might be tickling your curiosity: Does soybean cause acne?

Understanding Acne

Acne – it’s a word that can bring a frown to even the brightest of faces, especially when you’re on a clear skin journey with acne-prone skin. So, what exactly is acne? It’s a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and pore-clogging sebum. This blockage can lead to acne, ranging from blackheads and whiteheads to more severe forms like cystic acne.

does soybean cause - woman worried about acne

But what causes these annoying breakouts? While many factors play a role, our focus today is on how your diet impacts acne. You see, the food we consume can affect our skin’s health in several ways. It can influence hormonal fluctuations, which are a major contributor to acne flare-ups. And it’s not just about the oily stuff; even seemingly harmless foods can be secret culprits. Understanding this connection is a crucial step in your journey to healthier, happier skin.

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Is soy good or bad for your skin?

When it comes to skin care and diet, soy is a bit of a puzzle. You’ve likely come across a variety of soy products like soy milk, soy protein, and even soy sauce in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. These products are staples in vegan diets, praised for their nutritional benefits.

Soy products

The link between soy consumption and skin problems is a topic of much debate. Some argue that soy, being rich in plant oestrogens, might mimic the body’s hormones, potentially leading to skin issues. Others point out that these same compounds can actually be beneficial. It’s also crucial to consider soy allergies, which, while not directly linked to acne, can exacerbate skin inflammation and discomfort.

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Does Soy Trigger Acne?

So, does soybean cause acne? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. For some, especially those with hormonal acne, soy consumption might play a role in acne flare-ups. This is because the plant oestrogens in soy can interact with the body’s natural oestrogen receptors, possibly influencing hormone levels negatively and, by extension, the skin’s oil production. More oil can mean more blockages, leading to acne.

However, recent studies shed new light on the relationship between soy and acne. Research suggests that soy isoflavones, compounds found in soy products, might actually help reduce acne lesions. 

Tofu stir-fry

Specifically, a study showed that higher doses of soy isoflavones significantly decreased the number of acne lesions in participants. This result is likely due to soy’s antiandrogen properties, which can reduce levels of DHT, a hormone linked to acne development.

So, does soy cause acne? Contrary to previous beliefs, it appears that soy might actually be beneficial for those with acne. 

However, it’s important to note that individual responses can vary. If you’re considering soy for acne management, it may be worth trying while observing your skin’s reaction. Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so listening to your body is key.

Soy vs. Other Milk Alternatives

Navigating the world of milk alternatives can also be tricky when you’re aiming for acne-free skin. Alongside soy milk, there are other contenders like cow’s milk, almond milk, skim milk, and coconut milk. Each has its unique profile and impact on your health, particularly when it comes to skin issues. Cow’s milk, for instance, change in hormone levels and contributes to acne breakouts in some individuals. Skim milk is especially bad for acne.

Varieties of plant-based milk

Soy milk, on the other hand, is often chosen for its plant-based origin and potential health benefits. However, as with any food, moderation is key, especially if you have concerns about its effects on your skin. Alternatives like almond milk or coconut milk can be alternative options for those with sensitivities or specific dietary needs. 

Remember, each type of milk can influence your hormone levels in different ways, and it’s about finding the one that harmonises best with your body.

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Diet and Skin Health

Diet plays a monumental role in maintaining acne-free skin. Beyond soy consumption, what you eat overall can either help or worsen skin problems. 

Does soy bean cause acne - Plant-based food for skincare

What foods trigger hormonal acne?

For instance, high-glycemic foods like white bread, junk food, and yes, even your beloved ice cream, can spike your blood sugar levels, leading to inflammation and potentially worsening acne flare-ups. The same goes for certain dairy products and fast food items.

What foods help clear acne?

Switching to a diet rich in whole grains, healthy fats (think olive oil instead of vegetable oils), and nutritious snacks like sweet potatoes can be beneficial for your skin. These foods help stabilise blood sugar levels and provide essential nutrients without the excess fatty acids that might aggravate your skin. 

It’s not just about cutting out the bad; it’s also about embracing the good. A healthy diet is a powerful tool in your clear skin journey, helping you look and feel your best from the inside out.

Balancing Soy in a Healthy Diet

Incorporating soy products into your diet doesn’t have to be a daunting task, even if you’re mindful does soybean cause acne and for your skin health. The key is balance and moderation. While some individuals find that soy contributes to their skin issues, others enjoy soybean products  without any noticeable impact on their pimples. It’s essential to observe how your body reacts to soy.

For those with soy allergies or sensitivities, there are plenty of alternatives. You can explore other protein sources that are gentle on acne-prone skin, like lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa. 

If you’re concerned about the estrogen-like effects of soy products, look for fermented soy options like tempeh, which may be more digestible and less likely to affect your hormone levels. Remember, a healthy diet is about variety and listening to your body’s unique needs.

Does soybean cause acne?

Navigating the relationship between diet and skin health can feel like a complex journey, especially when it comes to understanding how soy causes acne. What we’ve explored today is that the answer varies from person to person. While soy consumption can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet for many, it’s essential to pay attention to how your skin responds.


Who Shouldn’t Eat Soy? At

Natarelli N, Gahoonia N, Maloh J, Sivamani RK. Clinical Efficacy of Topical or Oral Soy Supplementation in Dermatology: A Systematic Review. J Clin Med. 2023;12(12):4171. Published 2023 Jun 20. doi:10.3390/jcm12124171

Riyanto P., Subchan P. Effect of soy isoflavones on acne vulgaris. J. Pak. Assoc. Dermatol. 2015;25:30–34.

Riyanto P, Subchan P, Lelyana R. Advantage of soybean isoflavone as antiandrogen on acne vulgaris. Dermatoendocrinol. 2015;7(1):e1063751. Published 2015 Jul 20. doi:10.1080/19381980.2015.1063751

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