Those Strange Myths about Peanuts and Acne

Those Strange Myths about Peanuts and Acne

We love myths. Our love of myths is the reason we populated Mount Olympus and the surrounding rivers and forests and even the seas of Greece, with a wonderful plethora of gods which survived thousands of years in literature, poetry and even common language. Actually, every culture has a similar collection of great, creative, educational myths.

But when we start transferring our weakness for myths from love and war stories to such important areas as health and make them into a pseudoscience, we have a problem.

I want to address one of those myths, a myth about testosterone-creating or testosterone-mimicking foods and plants that make women break-out in acne.

First, some important facts:

  1. Nature produces phytoestrogens (plant-derived, estrogen-like substances), but there are NO "phyto-androgens" or "phyto-testoterone."
  2. Testosterone is a hormone that may be produced only in the glands of the body (both men and women produce testosterone but obviously in different amounts), or it can be synthesized. Simply speaking... there is NO food, plant, herb, fruit, veggie, fish, bird  or animal   that you can eat that will work as or mimic androgens and testosterone.

Since in men low testosterone is often associated with less male prowess, lower libido, sometimes even erectile dysfunction, less sex drive and more body fat, for quite a long time there have been different attempts to find a way(s) to boost natural production of testosterone by the men's glands. As synthesized testosterone has been used for a while but  may have a number of adverse side effects, and, as we indicated, as there is  NO "natural testosterone-like substance" for men  to eat, we try to look for ways to increase men's body production of testosterone.One of the most popular areas of exploration is diet.

There are some--just some--indications that in men (there is NO data pertinent to women), a diet rich in saturated fats and "healthy cholesterol" like eggs, and rich in monosaturated fats found in such products as peanuts, olive oil and avocado can be pro-testosterone (may help men's glands to produce more testosterone). Unfortunately, there is no clear data indicating how much of those foods is needed and for how long they are needed to actually make a difference.

And here comes a dangerous myth! "Women who eat a lot of peanuts or other "men" foods will produce more (or too much) androgens and as a result... have more acne."


  • The very initial data we mentioned above are ONLY about men, and they are incomplete, and preliminary. Definitely NOT conclusive.
  • There is NO indication that those foodsmay have any impact on production or over-production of androgens and testosterone in women; and therefore there is no indication whether they may cause androgen imbalance or any related problems like androgenal acne.
  • We actually know that monosaturated fats are GOOD for the health of your skin.

Finally, just a small exercise in logic that may help us to pause before we create easy "myths" in the future based on some incomplete and barely related information:

Once upon a time, Swedish statisticians wanted to prove that even statistics must be used with a grain of salt. Since in Europe one of the tales mothers tell their young kids is that they were brought by storks, statisticians actually have done a power analysis to compare the ratio of birth in a particular year and number of storks spotted in Sweden the same year. And guess what? Correlation was highly significant! Does it mean that storks really bring babies in Sweden?

So the next time you reach for the jar of peanut butter and fear too much testosterone, please don't, but certainly fear a large amount of sugar, a real enemy of your skin, that most of the peanut butters contain. This is a potentially much more real factor that may be increasing your breakouts. And if you really suspect you have androgenal acne, ask your doctor for a test.

Thousands of people have become acne-free using AcnEase, our all-botanical, up to 98% efficacious smart acne treatment. This is NOT a myth. 

With a Promise of Clear Skin,
Dr. A 

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