#EmmeApproved Acne-Safe Protein Powders

by Emily Linehan on March 22, 2020
Updated October 12, 2023

Did you know that your protein powder might be a huge trigger for your breakouts? It's true! Rest assured, I have a plethora of alternative options for you to consider!

What most people don't know is that whey and casein (two of the more commonly used ingredients in protein powders) are primary contributors to causing acne. This is because both of these proteins are made from dairy, which is a major acne trigger. The next most common protein source is soy, which is equally triggering. If you suffer from acne, you will want to avoid these types of protein powder sources and search for alternatives that are plant-based or non-dairy/non-soy options. 

It is also important to understand not all plant-based protein powders are safe either....be sure to double-check them for "super greens", such as spirulina, chlorella, algae, maca, kelp, seaweed, etc. Finally, an additional ingredient to look out for is Biotin as it is also a huge contributor to acne breakouts.

Acne-Safe Protein Powders

Now if you're someone who prefers protein bars, no need to fear – I have recommendations for you as well! You can either make your own at home using my #EmmeApproved recipe (below), or you can explore any of the following:

Acne-Safe Protein Bars

  • Aloha Protein Bars (Excluding the Peanut Butter Cup and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors)
  • Go Macro MacroBar (Excluding the Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chip flavors)
  • Lenny and Larry’s The Complete Cookie® (Excluding the Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors)
  • No Cow Protein Bars (Excluding the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Chunky Peanut Butter flavors)
  • RX Bars (Excluding the Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter, and Peanut Butter Chocolate flavors)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Avoid any options that contain peanuts or peanut butter. Trust me, your skin will thank you later. ;)

For those of you who are looking to take a stab at my homemade recipe (warning...these are addicting), here’s the recipe:

Emme Diane™ No-Bake Acne-Safe Protein Bars


  • 1 cup of almond, coconut, cashew, or oat milk (original; unsweetened...make sure it doesn't contain carrageenan)
  • 3 scoops of your favorite acne-safe protein powder (chocolate, vanilla, or any flavor you choose!)
  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries or coconut chips or any other ingredient you can think of (no peanuts/peanut butter)

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Then add your almond butter - at this point, I knead the mixture with my hands to combine to a crumbly consistency. Next, add the liquid slowly and knead/mix until combined (keep in mind you may not use all the liquid depending on how absorbent your protein powder is, but it will be sticky). Spread evenly into the bottom of greased casserole dish and place in the fridge for about an hour. When you're ready to eat, cut it into bar-sized pieces. Warning: they are a little gooey!

You can make many variations with this recipe. The sky's the limit!

xoxo, Emme

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