Spin the Food

Do Peanuts Cause Acne?

Do peanuts cause acne?

In this article, we’re going to dive into the curious world of skincare and snacks. Specifically, we tackle the salty question of peanuts, and whether they’re your friend or foe when it comes to battling acne.

Unfortunately, although they’re packed with flavor and nutrients, peanuts have often been suspected of causing those unwelcome breakouts.

Let’s separate food fact from fiction and explore the connection between munching on peanuts and the health of your skin. We’ll sift through what the experts say, look at different kinds of nuts, and consider how they all might affect acne. This isn’t just about peanuts; it’s about the bigger picture of how what we eat can make our skin feel happy or unhappy.

We’ll also answer some important questions that are on many people’s minds, like whether peanut butter is also a culprit in causing acne, and if there are any nuts out there that might actually help your skin look better.

By the end of this article, you’ll know more about how to eat for healthier skin, and whether you should keep reaching for that jar of peanut butter or give your skin a break.

Table of Contents

Overview: Peanuts and Skin Care

The relationship between peanuts and acne can be a complex one. Acne is not just a surface-level skin condition; it is intricately linked to hormonal fluctuations within the body.

Androgens, which are hormones that increase in production during puberty, can cause the oil glands beneath the skin to enlarge and produce more sebum. This excess sebum can clog pores, leading to acne.

Peanuts contain an androgen-like substance that may mimic this effect, making them problematic for those with acne-prone skin​

However, it’s important to note that this does not necessarily mean that peanuts will cause acne for everyone. More on that in a second.

What Are Peanuts Made Of?

Let’s first do a nutritional breakdown of our nutty friend. For reference, 1 ounce (oz) is approximately 28 shelled peanuts.

NutrientQuantity per Ounce
Calories166
Net Carbs4g
Protein7g
Omega-6 Fatty Acids4.54g
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsTrace amounts
Omega Ratio5,000:1
Phytic Acid270mg

As you can see, while peanuts do have a high protein content they’re also high in phytic acid. In larger amounts, phytic acid has been known to disrupt digestion and lead to systemic inflammation.

Peanuts are also a source of healthy fats. Omega fatty acids play a crucial role in skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory (and can even be considered an antihistamine), but the omega ratio in peanuts is heavily skewed towards omega-6, which can be a concern for those with acne-prone skin as omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation. 

The Pros and Cons of Peanuts
Pros
  • High in protein.
  • Source of healthy fats.
  • Low in net carbs.
Cons
  • May exacerbate acne in some people.
  • High ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids (inflammatory).
  • High physic acid content (impacts digestion).
  • Associated with increased androgen-type hormones.
Peanuts roasted in cooking oil can exacerbate acne

Spin the Food Tip

If you like roasted peanuts, take note. It's not just peanuts themselves, but also the oils in which they're cooked, like vegetable and canola oil, that can contribute to acne.

Skin-Friendly Alternatives to Peanuts

For those concerned about the potential acne-triggering effects of peanuts, here are two healthy alternatives to consider:

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are often considered healthier than peanuts because they have a higher content of monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health. Additionally, macadamias are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, and have lower Omega-6 content.

Macadamia nuts - healthy alternative

Almonds

Almonds are generally perceived as healthier than peanuts due to their higher levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports skin health and boosts the immune system. Additionally, almonds have a greater concentration of fiber and calcium, contributing to better digestive health and bone strength.

Almonds - healthy alternative

What Nuts Make Acne Worse?

Based on their nutritional profile and potential to exacerbate acne, some nuts are best avoided:

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts contain higher levels of certain fatty acids and oils compared to peanuts, which may contribute to increased skin oiliness and clogged pores in individuals susceptible to acne. Additionally, pine nuts are richer in oleic acid, a type of fat that can exacerbate acne in some people by increasing skin inflammation and irritation.

Pine nuts are not healthier than peanuts

Walnuts

Walnuts have a higher concentration of oils and fats compared to peanuts, which can lead to increased oiliness and clogged pores in acne-prone skin. Additionally, walnuts contain more arginine, an amino acid that can exacerbate inflammation and potentially worsen acne symptoms, unlike peanuts which have a more balanced amino acid profile.

Walnuts can make acne worse
What Other Foods Trigger Acne?
Acne-TriggersReason
Sugary FoodsHigh fructose content
Dairy ProductsHormones that mimic androgen
Fast FoodHigh in saturated and trans fats

So, Are Peanuts Good For Your Skin?

While peanuts have some nutritional benefits, their potential contribution to acne makes them less than ideal for skin health. That said, it’s important to note that sensitivity to peanuts varies on a person-by-person basis.

Some may find that peanuts exacerbate their acne condition, while others will not notice any change​​. This variability means that the link between peanuts and acne is not universal and instead depends on individual sensitivities and diet choices. 

So listen to your body. If you notice a link between peanut consumption and acne flare-ups, it might be wise to adjust your diet accordingly.

Does Having Peanut Butter Cause Acne?

Peanut butter is a nutritious food, packed with protein and healthy fats that are good for overall health. However, as we’ve touched on, peanuts themselves contain an androgen, which can make acne worse by increasing sebum production. That sebum is the oily substance that clogs pores, and contribute to acne.

Additionally, peanut butter often contains added sugars and oils, which can contribute to inflammation and acne in some people. But it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different. For some, peanut butter might trigger breakouts, while for others, it has no effect at all. If you can’t imagine a life without peanut butter, we strongly recommend products such as this. They literally have one ingredient in them: peanuts.

To really understand if peanut butter causes acne for you, it helps to look at your overall diet and skin care routine. Acne can be influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormones, stress, and diet. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread and sugary snacks, have been linked to acne.

Peanut butter has a moderate glycemic index, but if it’s part of a diet high in refined sugars and low in fruits and vegetables, it could contribute to skin problems. It’s also worth considering any food allergies or sensitivities.

If you suspect peanut butter might be affecting your skin, try removing it from your diet for a few weeks to see if your acne improves. Remember, a balanced diet, good skin care, and consulting with a dermatologist are key to managing acne effectively.

Spin the Food Fun Fact

Unlike true nuts that grow on trees, peanuts grow underground. This also means they're not actually nuts, but rather a legume.

How To Fight Acne

Creating a diet that aims to prevent acne involves focusing on certain nutrients that promote skin health and reduce inflammation. Below is a table highlighting key nutrients, their sources, and their benefits for skin:

NutrientFood SourcesSkin Benefits
ZincPumpkin seeds, oystersSpeeds up skin repair, reduces inflammation
Vitamin ACarrots, sweet potatoesPromotes healthy skin cell production
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsFlaxseeds, fishReduces inflammation, may help control acne
ProbioticsYogurt, fermented foodsSupports gut health, potentially improving skin health
AntioxidantsBerries, green teaProtects skin from damage, may prevent breakouts

Zinc and Vitamin A are particularly noteworthy for their roles in skin health. Zinc is known for its wound-healing properties and its ability to help regulate oil production in the skin, which can directly impact acne. Vitamin A, as a compound found in retinoids, is widely used in acne treatments for its ability to accelerate cell turnover and reduce inflammation.

It’s essential for people to identify the potential food sensitivities that may contribute to their acne. This often requires an elimination diet or working with a healthcare professional to pinpoint specific triggers. For some, peanuts may be a trigger, while for others, the culprit could be entirely different.

The health of your gut microbiome is intricately linked to the health of your skin. Including both probiotics and prebiotics in your diet can help ensure a balanced gut microbiota, which may in turn contribute to clearer skin.

Interested in more articles that separate food fact from fiction? Be sure to check out our section dedicated to just that. 

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