Does Soy Milk Cause Acne?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. There are many online forums where people discuss their experiences with soy milk. Some argue soy milk caused skin issues, while others claim soy milk cleared their skin up. However, scientific evidence and studies regarding the relationship between acne and soy milk are practically nonexistent.  

Soy Milk Does Not Cause Acne, But It Can Make Acne Worse

Every person reacts differently to soy milk. However, some individuals may find themselves more prone to breakouts than others. Naturally, those allergic or sensitive to soy products will find themselves breaking out more often. However, there is no concrete evidence that soy milk itself causes breakouts. Instead, it is the chemicals found in soy that cause skin problems. According to, phytoestrogens can cause acne to become worse.

What are Phytoestrogens?

Phytoestrogens are a type of plant constituent, or chemical, that can negatively affect the body’s estrogen production. Sometimes, phytoestrogens alter, or even replace, our body’s naturally- produced estrogen. When this happens, it causes androgen production to increase. Increased androgen production can cause glands to product more oil, which can lead to an acne breakout.

Additionally, phytoestrogens can negatively affect the liver. The liver is responsible for removing toxins and excess hormones, like estrogen, from the body. When we absorb extra estrogen from plants, our liver cannot always keep up. When the liver is unable to cleanse estrogen from the body, our skin tries to finish the job, which often makes your skin more susceptible to breakouts.

Women are typically more susceptible than men to phytoestrogen imbalances.

Does Soy Milk Have Other Negative Side Effects?

According to, soy milk can have other negative effects. Unfortunately, all these side effects can lead to more acne breakouts. Acne is sometimes caused by nutrient imbalances. A poorly balanced diet or the inability to absorb nutrients often makes acne worse.

Sometimes, when prepared improperly soy will produce lectins, which are often referred to as “anti-nutrients.” Lectins negatively impact the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients. They also cause gut issues. Additionally, the phytic acid found in soy beans also decreases the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients like calcium and zinc. Zinc deficiency have been known to cause acne.

Finally, soy increases inflammation throughout the body. In fact, out of all omega-6 oils soybean is one of the most inflammatory. It can increase inflammation levels throughout the entire body, which also increases acne breakouts.

If Soy Milk Is So Bad Why Do People Drink It?

Yes, soy milk does seem to make some people more susceptible to acne breakouts. However, it’s difficult to prove that soy is the sole reason someone experiences breakouts. There are a number of foods in someone’s diet that could be making their acne worse. Individuals who have a soy allergy or intolerance, but do not know it, may experience excessive breakouts.

Just because some people seem to react badly to soy milk doesn’t mean soy milk is bad for you. In moderation, soy can be extremely beneficial. In 2010, a study completed by the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that some participants who increased their soy intake actually saw a reduction in their acne.

What are Some Health Benefits of Soy Milk?

For many people soy actually helps keep their skin and hair healthy. Soy is rich in protein, a nutrient that significantly impacts skin and hair health. Soy milk also contains iron, calcium, fiber, folic acid, B vitamins and potassium, which are all important nutrients.

Therefore, while soy may cause skin problems for some individuals, soy improves skin problems for many other individuals. Some of the skin and hair benefits include:

  • Strengthens Hair- protein can bind itself to strands of hair, which creates a protective layer around hair, ultimately strengthening it. Consuming products rich in protein, like soy milk, works from the inside to strengthen hair.
  • Gets Rid of Split Ends- no one likes dealing with split ends. Luckily, soy milk can help repair them! While consuming soy can help repair split end from the inside, using soy milk as a conditioner can also repair split ends.
  • Moisturizes hair and skin- soy milk contains vitamin E, which helps revitalize dead skin cells. suggests giving yourself a “soy facial.” Apply some soy milk to your face for about 20 minutes. Moisturizing can also improve skin elasticity.
  • Reduce in Acne- as mentioned, some individuals experience a reduction in acne breakouts when they increase their soy intake.

Other Health Benefits Soy Milk Offers

Soy milk does offer some other benefits. When debating whether soy milk is helping or hurt your skin, consider some of these other benefits:

  • Weight Regulation
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Stronger Immune System
  • Prevents Several Diseases

What Else Could Be Causing Your Acne?

As briefly mentioned, other things may be causing you to breakout. There are other foods, products, and underlying conditions that may be causing your acne. If you’re experiencing constant acne breakouts some of these things could be the cause:

  • Greasy Makeup- like soy milk, makeup itself doesn’t necessarily cause acne. However, covering acne with makeup can make it worse. Applying makeup with your fingers can also increase breakouts. Failing to wash your makeup off can also make acne wash.
  • Other foods- According to, there are seven main food groups that could cause acne: refined grains and sugars, dairy products, fast food, Omega-6 fatty foods, chocolate, Whey protein powder, and any food you are sensitive to.
  • Medication- medications that contain androgen or lithium could cause hormonal imbalances, which can result in a breakout.
  • Stress- sometimes it is not a specific product or food that causes your acne. If you’re experiencing high amounts of stress it could negatively affect your skin.

Soy Milk FAQs

There is a lot of debate about whether soy milk causes acne. Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of scientific evidence or studies that support either side of the debate. Instead, people have to decide for themselves whether soy milk is causing their acne.

Does Soy Milk Cause Acne?

The simple answer is no, soy milk does not cause acne. The more complicated answer is, soy milk can cause estrogen imbalances in certain individuals. Like any food allergy or intolerance, individuals who are sensitive to soy may be more susceptible to soy-related breakouts. 

What Are the Negative Effects of Drinking Soy?

Many of the negative side effects of drinking soy can increase acne breakouts. Not only can soy cause estrogen imbalances, but it can make it difficult for your body to absorb essential nutrients like zinc, which is known to have a direct correlation to acne. Soy also causes inflammation, which is also linked to acne.

Are There Any Benefits to Drinking Soy?

Since soy does not necessarily cause acne, there are benefits to drinking soy. While some people may find soy causes skin problems, others may find that soy improves their skin issues. For example, soy is rich in proteins which is important for developing healthy skin and hair. There are also other health benefits, such as a stronger immune system and lower cholesterol.

What Else Causes Acne?

There are many other things that cause acne. Several foods have a correlation to acne breakouts. Typically, any food you are sensitive to will negatively impact your skin. Covering acne with makeup or failing to wash makeup off can also make acne worse. Medications, hormonal imbalances, and stress are also reasons why you may experience abnormal acne breakouts.

Reference List

Diane; Soy and Acne: Why We Avoid This Food For Clear Skin;

Kay Uzoma; Can Soy Milk Cause Acne?

Cynthia Cobb; What You Need to Know About Acne;