Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

A Guide To Eating Nuts When You Have Acne

By Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

Nuts have long been considered to be the enemy of acne prevention. However, recent research seems to be countering this idea. Firstly, American scientists concluded in decades past that despite widespread rumors, what you eat is not really related to your breakouts. In fact, it has been widely accepted that acne is the result1 of your genes and, more specifically, hormones like androgen and testosterone.

Nevertheless, researchers are re-examining the relationship between diet and acne. Some now agree that some foods alleviate the condition, while others can serve to exacerbate it. 🍯🌽🧀🍏🍅🥕 Indeed, it is believed that foods that are rich in glucose tend to make breakouts worse, as do dairy products. On the other hand, fresh food like vegetables, fruits and lean protein may help2 you keep your breakouts to a minimum. But is the same true for nuts?

Acne and Digesting Nuts

The main reason why nuts may be the enemy of acne prevention 🥜 is the intense activity they require from your digestive system.

Nuts contain lots of fat and high protein which cost your body time and effort when it comes to reworking them into usable components. Due to the slowness of this process, your immune cells may begin producing antibodies3 to counter this problem. Unfortunately for your skin, these antibodies basically irritate your sebaceous glands, which causes them to produce great amounts of sebum. As you probably already know, sebum is the substance that clogs your pores and causes your zits.

What can you do to still be able to eat nuts but not have to face this problem? You might simply have to change the way you eat nuts. Soaking nuts helps them be more accessible to your digestive system. If that sounds like it would completely do away with the pleasure of indulging in nuts, you could also roast them 🔥 in order to rid them of a large part of their proteins.

The Nutritious Value Of Nuts

Nuts are very rich in all kinds of vitamins, which some studies show help you in your battle against pimples. Vitamins like A, B3 and 6, vitamin C and vitamin E are all potent fighters against skin inflammation. Chromium and selenium are also useful against acne. Vitamin E, in particular, hydrates you and refines your natural oils too. Pistachios are full of these vitamins and also boast a large folic acid content. All of these components fight free radicals, making sure that your skin is safely left alone to recover. Pistachios also react with your insulin, as they keep track of the glucose that may be interacting with your androgen levels.

You can look for cashews and Brazil nuts in order to get some selenium4 and zinc into your system. Selenium serves to help you manufacture glutathione which battles any free radicals 🦠🦠🤺 which may be hurting your immune system and skin cells. Selenium is a potent antioxidant which is aided by vitamin E in improving the state of your skin and ridding you of old scars. Additionally, selenium boosts your skin in the fight against irritation and flare ups, and also tightens it successfully. Furthermore, zinc also stimulates your immune system5 and helps your complexion fully rejuvenate itself. Zinc is also available from pistachios.

What’s more, the fatty acids in nuts provide two perspectives on whether or not nuts exacerbate acne. Indeed, nuts contain great amounts of omega-6 fats which are not useful and serve as fat. On the other hand, nuts such as walnuts also contain a lot of omega-3 fats which are incredibly powerful agents against inflammation6. You do want to be taking in three times as much omega-6 as omega-3, which means that nuts may be providing you with too much of the latter.

If you can’t separate from nuts, you can up your omega-3’s by ingesting some fish oil on a daily basis. 🐟📅 To boost your levels of fatty acids, opt for some Brazil nuts as well.

The relationship between what you eat and acne levels is still undecided by scientists, although the role of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids is being re-examined. Nevertheless, you might have to cut down on nuts altogether.

Depending on your particular case, your acne may be caused by an allergic reaction, which could sadly be caused by your favorite snack.

If you don’t want to stop eating nuts altogether just because you suspect that they might be the culprit, opt for writing down everything your body experiences soon after consuming them. For instance, write down how much of them you ate in one sitting and how your skin reacted to them over the next few days. Try to check if you notice a pattern – you can also ask your dermatologist to help you with this. 👩🏽‍⚕️👨🏻‍⚕️ If there is no pattern whatsoever, you can continue indulging in nuts as much as you want!

The Verdict

As you can see, there are various points of view on the values and drawbacks of nuts when it comes to recurring breakouts. The conclusion is that you should enjoy them responsibly and not overlook your body’s response to them. 📌 Besides paying attention to your nut intake, you should generally avoid sugary foods7, carbs, dairy, alcohol, fried food, and so on.


  1. Wolkenstein P., Machovcová A., Szepietowski J.C., Tennstedt D., Veraldi S.5., Delarue A. Acne prevalence and associations with lifestyle: a cross-sectional online survey of adolescents/young adults in 7 European countries. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2018;32(2):298-306.
  2. Pappas A. The relationship of diet and acne: A review. DermatoEndocrinology. 2009;1(5):262-7.
  3. Faria A.M., Gomes-Santos A.C., Gonçalves J.L., Moreira T.G. Medeiros S.R., Dourado L.P. Cara D.C. Food Components and the Immune System: From Tonic Agents to Allergens. Frontiers in Immunology. 2013;4:102.
  4. Colpo E., de Avila Vilanova C.D., Brenner Reetz L.G., Medeiros Frescura Duarte M.M., Gomes Farias I.L., Irineu Muller E., Hermes Muller A.L., Moraes Flores E.M., Wagner R., Teixeira da Rocha J.B. A Single Consumption of High Amounts of the Brazil Nuts Improves Lipid Profile of Healthy Volunteers. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2013.
  5. Prasad A.S. Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells. Molecular Medicine. 2008;14(5-6):353–357.
  6. Gopinath B., Buyken A.E., Flood V.M., Empson M., Rochtchina E., Mitchell P. Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, fish, and nuts and risk of inflammatory disease mortality. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93(5):1073-9.
  7. Danby F.W. Nutrition and acne. Clinics in Dermatology. 2010;28(6):598-604.
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