Does groundnut (peanut) cause pimples and acne?

If you are a groundnut fan, you will be relieved to learn that groundnuts do not cause pimples. However, it is best to eat them with caution as they can aggravate your pimples and acne symptoms.

Vector illustration of a woman with pimples

Key takeaways:

  • Groundnut does not cause pimples; however, it may contribute to or worsen pimples and acne symptoms.
  • Bacteria, an excessive growth of skin follicular cells, and excess sebum production are the primary causes of acne.
  • Acne is different from pimples in that acne is a skin disease, while pimple is one of the symptoms of acne.

Groundnut is also called peanut in some parts of the world. This nutritious nut is commonly consumed as a snack in different parts of the world, like Nigeria. However, many people believe it can cause pimples and acne, and this has raised concerns for the millions of groundnut lovers with pimples and acne.

Many people limit their groundnut intake or totally stay away from it despite its health benefits because they believe groundnuts cause acne and pimples that form on their skin. Some of them have gotten frustrated after trying different at-home acne treatment methods, so they resort to trying dietary adjustments.

This is understandable, considering that acne is a chronic skin disease that often causes pimples that won't go away, even after using different skincare products.

The question is, do foods like groundnuts cause pimples and acne? We will find out in this article. The article will also discuss the difference between acne and pimples, and how to protect your skin from these skin problems.

The groundnut and pimple myth

One common myth many people share is that groundnuts cause pimples. The common belief is that because groundnut is an oily food, it can cause excess production of an oil called sebum within the inner layers of the skin, leading to acne and pimples.

Some people say they notice an increased appearance of pimples after taking groundnut. People who are allergic to groundnuts also believe that eating them causes pimples on their skin.

For these reasons, people assume groundnut causes pimples, but it doesn't. This article aims to dispel the myth that groundnuts cause pimples and to provide accurate, scientific information.

Does groundnut cause pimples? What science says

Groundnut does not cause pimples or acne. Acne develops when the opening of hair follicles gets blocked and clogged with dead skin cells and oil, which may lead to the formation of swollen, red, pus-filled lesions called pimples.

It is also generally accepted that the major factors that play a role in the development of acne and pimples are bacteria, excess sebum production, and hyperproliferation of the skin follicle cells.

While some people think they develop pimples and acne when they eat foods like groundnuts, nutritionists and scientists say otherwise. Most studies examining the connection between diet and acne found no significant connection or strong evidence that food causes acne or pimples. However, some studies suggest that diet can aggravate acne or play a role in its treatment.

This means that even though it's unlikely that groundnuts cause pimples, there is some evidence that they may contribute to pimples or make acne worse. This is because groundnut contains omega-6 fatty acids and androgen-like content. Omega-6 is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases; however, different studies have linked it to an increased risk of inflammation and acne.

Furthermore, the androgen hormone is linked to acne development. Males and females have androgen hormones like testosterone (with males having them in higher amounts), but increased production of the male hormone can trigger an increase in the skin's production of sebum. Too much sebum can clog the hair follicles, causing the formation of whiteheads or blackhead pimples.

So even though evidence indicates that foods like groundnuts do not directly cause acne, we cannot rule out that diet may still play a role in worsening or reducing acne. So, it is best to consume groundnuts and other foods that may increase the risk of inflammation in moderate amounts.

Is groundnut healthy?

Groundnut is packed with nutrients that are healthy for you. Health benefits of groundnut include:

  • It has high protein content and can be a good addition for people that eat low-protein foods or vegetarians
  • It contains a good amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are good for the heart
  • It contains some minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium, and sodium, which perform important functions in the body
  • It is rich in phenol, an antioxidant that helps protect the cells from harmful effects caused by free radicals
  • It contains some important vitamins that are beneficial to health, e.g., Niacin and Vitamin E

Acne vs. pimple, what is the difference?

People often use the terms "acne" and "pimples" interchangeably; they don't mean the same. The difference between acne and pimples is that acne is a disease, while pimples are among the symptoms of acne. This means that sometimes, the presence of a pimple can be an indication of an underlying acne condition.

Acne is a skin condition that affects your hair follicles and oil glands. The glands produce an oil called sebum and are connected to pores under the skin.

Acne occurs when dead skin cells and oil (sebum) clog together to form a plug in the skin's follicles. Such plugs contain bacteria that cause inflammation, which can lead to the appearance of small pimples on the face and other parts of the body, such as the back.

Another difference between acne and pimples is that they often develop over a long period of time and last for a long time, while pimples usually form quickly and go away after a short while.

What causes acne and pimples?

People with acne have a high risk of developing persistent pimples. This is because pimples are a symptom that often accompanies acne.

The main factors that cause acne include:

  • Excess sebum oil production in your body (some hormonal medications like progesterone and phenothiazine sometimes lead to increased sebum production)
  • Bacteria clogging or blocking skin pores
  • Excess dead skin cells accumulate and block skin pores

Factors that can contribute to or worsen your acne or pimples include:

  • Smoking cigarette
  • Excess stress
  • A genetic or family history of acne
  • Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or puberty
  • Using face creams, cleansers, and some other skincare products that are not compatible with your skin type

What to do to protect the skin from acne and pimples

Here are things you can do to reduce the risk of developing pimples and acne:

  • Always try to use skin care products that are compatible with your skin type
  • Avoid touching your face with dirty hands
  • Don't sleep with your makeup on; always try to wash them off
  • Moisturize your face regularly
  • Routinely wash your face to remove dirt
  • Find out your skin type; this will help you choose the best products to buy for your skin
  • Drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated
  • Avoid popping your pimples, as it might worsen them, expose them to bacterial infection, or cause inflammation

What to do when you have acne

Acne is not always a critical condition; it can result from hormonal changes that come with puberty or pregnancy. In such cases, it may clear off naturally. However, if you have acne and you notice the following, please visit a dermatologist:

  • Acne that is causing scar
  • Formation of fluid-filled cystic acne
  • Acne that progresses, covering a large part of your body
  • Skin discoloration
  • Pain

Wrap up

Acne isn't caused by just one food, and avoiding a certain food won't help get rid of acne or pimples. However, there is no denying the fact that certain foods, such as groundnuts, may contribute to acne or worsen its symptoms.

Whether eaten in unprocessed form or as peanut butter, groundnuts have numerous health benefits. You may not need to cut them off from your diet; instead, you should consider eating them in moderation.

In all, if you have pimples, particularly persistent ones, that have refused to go away, it is best to see a certified skincare specialist. Your dermatologist will look at your symptoms to figure out if you have acne or another skin condition. They will then offer you the best treatment and care unique to your condition.

If you often develop bumps after shaving, learn how to shave without getting razor bumps.


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  5. Shalini S. Arya et al., (2016). Peanut as functional food.