Is Peanut Butter Bad for Acne?

Just like other nuts, peanuts are probably loaded with healthy fats that’ll prevent insulin-driven hormonal acne?

Surprisingly, the answer is no.

Research shows that peanuts are one of the worst foods you could eat for acne-prone skin.

Unlike other nuts and seeds, peanuts are in a dangerous category of their own when it comes to clear skin. Peanuts, unlike other nuts, are technically a legume, much closer to beans or lentils in nutritional make-up than they are most other nuts.

In short, peanuts, and even some peanut butter, trigger all three of the root causes of acne: inflammation, digestive issues, and insulin-driven hormonal acne.

Let’s take a deep dive into this dangerous acne-causing food and why, whenever possible, you should opt for a healthier alternative like macadamia nuts or almonds.

Is Peanut Butter Bad for Acne?

Can Peanut Butter Cause Acne?

It is quite hard to find someone who will turn down a delicious Reeses cup. Aside from those poor unfortunate souls who are allergic to Doctor George Washington Carver’s delicious discovery, it seems that pretty much everyone likes to indulge in the sticky stuff from time to time.

Seriously, on average a single American eats around a whopping three pounds of peanut butter each year. Be it in a soup, on a sandwich with jelly, or off of a spoon straight from the jar, we definitely have a collective love for peanut butter. Sadly, though, your love of Skippy just might be causing you to break out.

Often written off as a rumor, the association between peanut butter consumption and acne is all too real. Doctors across the globe have connected the dots between pb and acne in numerous studies, going as far as to say that it could be potentially the single trigger in many people’s skin issues.

It turns out, many people who do not experience anaphylaxis or other serious allergic reaction symptoms can still react in other negative ways to peanut butter. From rashes to fatigue, your body’s reaction can vary greatly, even if you are not allergic at all. You simply may have issues processing the compounds and nutrients within the butter.

What in Peanut Causes Acne?

You see, peanut butter is packed with a hormone called androgen. This hormone triggers your body to produce more oil which can lead to clogged pores and give bacteria a sort of free passage to spread around your face. Androgen existing at an excessive presence in the body can lead to blackheads, acne, whiteheads, clogged pores, and various skin infections.

If your skin is already oily, peanut butter and honestly peanuts in general should be considered an occasional treat as opposed to a regular snack. Dermatologists may recommend cutting out the hormone laden nut, as it also contains high levels of omega-6 fatty acids which can cause inflammation, leading to even more breakouts when paired with an abundance of androgen.

Another issue with many types of peanut butter is that they are packed with sugar. To give a sweet, salivation worthy flavor, a lot of popular companies add extra sugar or artificial sweeteners into their product.

Even if you do not react to the androgen and omega-6 dosage, your body can still freak out when bombarded with lots of sugar. Considered one of the top three dietary acne triggers alongside dairy and gluten, sugar consumption spikes your insulin levels.

When elevated insulin is present within the body, inflammation begins to spread. Your body goes into self preservation mode in which it begins to produce excess levels of cortisol to help drop the insulin levels. Cortisol causes inflammation and excessive oil production, both of which lead to nasty breakouts in many people.

Peanut Butter that Won’t Cause Acne

If you are going to go for peanut butter, consider a natural or no sugar added version to avoid this type of issue. Your skin, along with the rest of your body, will thank you.

Though peanut butter is absolutely delightful straight from the jar, many people choose to use a vessel of some sort to accompany the sweet snack. In doing this, you open yourself up to potentially adding in extra acne triggers.

The top acne trigger in the world is gluten. Even if you are not allergic to gluten, your body can still have a hard time processing it. You see, in people who are allergic or only sensitive, gluten irritates the lining of the stomach and intestine which can cause the body to feel as if something is seriously wrong and begin releasing cortisol.

Alternatively, in otherwise allergy free people, gluten can still be difficult for the body to process, resulting in your immune system assuming it is actually not edible. When the body senses something that is not food has been consumed, it goes into fight mode and works to rid itself of the foreign body quickly.

This causes both inflammation from an immune system reaction and increased blood sugar. If you are going to munch on peanut butter bread and have gluten triggered acne, try carrots, celery, or non-grain crackers as a skin friendly alternative.

Peanut Butter Alternatives

If you know peanut butter is triggering your skin, do not think you have to cut out all nuts. There are tons of other options on the market like cashew, almond, and walnut butters that work just as well without the health impacts of peanut butter.

Cashews boost the levels of monounsaturated fats in the body which can actually help ease inflammation. Rich in zinc and selenium, cashews also help promote overall skin health which can reduce the appearance of acne bumps and the frequency of breakouts.

Alternatively, almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium, all of which can help to stall inflammation and the spread of bacteria.

Furthermore, the high presence of vitamin E in almonds can help reduce environmental cell damage and keep your skin healthy due to supporting the growth of its protective barrier.


In order to have clear skin, you do not have to give up peanut butter forever. Seriously, a normal serving occasionally is fine. Excessive consumption causes the snack to become an issue, just like any other food. If you do notice that even small amounts are triggering a reaction, consult with your dermatologist or doctor.

You may be allergic or extremely sensitive and they may recommend you stop consumption all together. Fear not, there are tons of alternatives and options out there to keep your salty, sweet peanut butter cravings in check.