The Tasty Acne Trigger : Does Peanut Butter Cause Acne?

The Tasty Acne Trigger

It’s a sad reality what our diet can do to our skin. And it’s an even sadder truth to know that most of the food we enjoy eating are the exact same reasons why our skin breaks out.

And the list even includes peanut butter. Yes, the tasty peanut butter you frequently eat with a piece toast and banana in the morning (yum!).

Now, you’re probably wondering how can something that tastes so good be so bad for your skin. Can peanut butter really cause acne?

How Does Peanut Butter Cause Acne

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but yes, peanut butter and its contents can break you out.

Other than potentially triggering zits, it can also make existing acne worse. And not only that, it can also prolong the time it takes for your skin to heal.

But, how exactly can peanut butter cause acne?

To begin with, peanuts are full of androgen. It’s a type of hormone that can trigger your skin to produce more oil.

The more oil your skin produces means the more risk of having clogged pores. And clogged pores mean potential breakouts, right?

Aside from this, peanut butter is also rich in omega-6 fatty acid but low in omega-3 content. Omega-6 causes inflammation while omega-3 works to reduce it.

The imbalance between these fatty acids can make your skin condition even worse. So while the androgen in your peanut butter causes acne, the imbalanced fatty acids make it more severe and last longer.

And you know what else is in your peanut butter? Sugar.

Aside from dairy and gluten, sugar is considered as one of the most common acne triggers for a number of reasons. Refined white sugar, for one, has a high glycemic index and it can cause a spike in your insulin level.

Once there’s too much insulin, your body will see this as stress and it’ll engage in a fight or flight response. It will release the stress hormone cortisol which, as a result, can trigger inflammation and excess oil.

And guess what sugar is most commonly found in peanut butter?

Most jars contain an estimated 15 grams of refined white sugar. With a normal serving of about two tablespoons of peanut butter, you’re looking at three grams of sugar per serving- minimum.

So, if you habitually stuff your mouth with more than the recommended serving, that effects can add up pretty quickly and it’s your skin that will take most of the burden.

What Do You Eat With Your Peanut Butter?

While some of us are guilty of eating peanut butter straight from the jar, it’s not uncommon that you’ll also look for something to pair it up with.

And most of the time, it’s either crackers or bread. Both of them contain gluten, one of the biggest causes of acne.

Gluten affects sensitive individuals in these two ways:

  • Gluten damages the gut lining, allowing toxins to be absorbed into the system.
  • Gluten molecules can be hard to properly digest, so the immune system identifies them as something dangerous. This triggers two responses that directly cause acne: inflammation due to a stimulated immune system and an increased blood sugar level.

So, Everyone Who Eats Peanut Butter Will Breakout?

Well, not exactly. Not everything that can cause acne to one person can readily trigger the same effects on you.

But if you do have existing acne, peanut butter can make your skin issues a lot worse. There are inflammation, sugar and insulin spike and a whole range of negative reactions you can get from eating peanut butter.

If you don’t want to try your luck and you’re looking for a safer alternative to peanut butter, you can try almond or cashew butter.

These alternatives taste just as good as peanut butter but with lower sugar and calorie contents. 

Just remember to consume them in moderation as they are still from nuts, which means they can still contain a certain amount of the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids.


If you are prone to breakouts, especially cystic acne, peanut butter is definitely something you should cut out of your everyday diet- particularly if you find it hard to stick with the proper serving recommendation. The increase of androgen hormones and all those pesky omega-6 fatty acids make your beloved peanut butter a serious acne culprit.

Although it doesn’t really break out all people, I still recommend that you avoid it in your diet. Peanut butter can be loaded with fungus toxins, pesticides and trans fat that can pose threats to your health.

The Tasty Acne Trigger : Does Peanut Butter Cause Acne?

Dr Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara

A board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology

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