Groundnuts, very rich in protein and oil are also rich in the vitamins niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, choline, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E and rich in minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and selenium. But oftentimes, this nutritious nut has been blamed for causing pimples in many parts of the world and Nigeria is not left out in the assumption which is neither medical, scientific nor nutritional.
Most of the time, the reality and factuality of this claim comes to mind when one sees people who like and eat groundnuts in abundance and yet have no pimples while you see people who do not like groundnuts naturally but have pimples all over their faces. This thought calls for more knowledge about the nutritional, scientific and medical properties of the product without having to resort to spoofs, assumptions, and unconfirmed claims about this popular nut in many parts of the world.
What is Acne and what is pimples?
According to a medical review by a researcher, Debra Rose Wilson, which was written by Rachel Nall, on April 5, 2018, “acne is a common skin disorder that can result in several types of blemish; some include pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
To a dietician and nutritionist, Miss Promise Chimuanya Ugochukwu, “acne is basically a condition where the glands are producing so much serums while the pimples seen on the skin is the manifestation of acne on the skin…so the pimples is just like a symptoms of the acne, but then, a lot of people just use it interchangeably.” She noted that the body areas where pimples are common are the chin, nose and forehead, adding that pimples also occur on some other parts of the body but not as common as the places mentioned.
Although groundnuts, cheese, butter and a whole lot of other foods have been stated to be the cause of pimples, Apostolos Pappas, in his research work titled: ‘The relationship of diet and acne’, noted that acne is one of the most common dermatological conditions, affecting millions of young adults worldwide. It is also generally accepted that diet that includes excess sebum, hormones, bacteria and hyper proliferation of follicular cells that are the major etiologic factors for acne.
C.C. Zouboulis, E. Jourdan and M. Picardo in their work titled: ‘Acne is an inflammatory disease and alterations of sebum composition initiate acne lesions’, also noted that increased sebum excretion, alteration of lipid composition and the oxidant/antioxidant ratio of the skin surface lipids are major concurrent events associated with the development of acne.
Chimuanya Ugochukwu, further noted that “pimples are caused when pores become blocked and oil which is meant to be drained to the surface of the skin gets trapped to cause inflammation. Unhealthy diet can create the hormonal imbalance that will trigger all manner of skin disease, among which is pimples.”
“The truth is that one may abstain from groundnuts and still suffer from acne which we mostly refer to as pimples, hence, the need for diets that help rejuvenate the skin instead of thinking that some foods are bad for the skin,” Miss Ugochukwu added in an interview.
Miss Ugochukwu also reveals that there are other environmental conditions such as stress, sun exposure, and poor skin hygiene that causes pimples; while it can also be genetic. She suggests that fruits intake and water in order to stay hydrated can contribute to the skin being fresh and healthy.
The dietician noted that members of the female gender around the teenage years to young adults are more exposed to the blocked pores that cause pimples, adding that there is no cause for alarm if the acne poses no health challenge.
In another interview with a Medical Doctor, Dr O. Ige, he noted that groundnut is actually nutritious with fats, carbohydrate and protein, lowering the risk of heart disease and improving brain function.
Dr Ige noted that “everyone needs to be careful of taking too much of groundnut, hammering that too much of everything, no matter how good, is bad and can cause health issues to anyone.”
But indicating that none of those claims can be backed scientifically, a UK-based Nigerian physician, Dr Harvey Olufunmilayo, stated on his Twitter handle on February 27, 2020, that neither groundnut nor any other food causes pimples. He also revealed that family history, high testosterone hormone during puberty and menstrual period, smoking and taking certain medications, like steroids, are the real causes of pimples.
Factors that contribute to the development of acne:
Dermatologists have identified four factors that contribute to the development of acne:
- The skin produces too much oil, which clogs pore.
- Dead skin cells build up, which has the same effect.
- The presence of a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) in the pores.
- Inflammation of the skin, which also leads to redness.
A doctor or dermatologist can help to identify which factor or combination of factors cause acne.
Talking on the treatment for acne and pimples, Miss Ugochukwu noted that the treatment depends on what the cause is; adding that it takes healthy diet that includes reducing oily foods and being careful of the products used on the face because “some products have very thick oils on them, so those ones too can cause pimples.” She advised concerned people with pimples to meet a dermatologist for prescription of best treatment for the cause of their pimples.”
Some healthy ways to protect against acne and reduce pimples.
- Wash the face twice daily. It is important to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin by washing regularly. But note that over-washing the face can cause the skin to become dry, which can aggravate pimples.
- Refrain from harsh scrubbing. Some people scrub the skin with rough cloth pads or washcloths, not knowing that it can irritate the skin and cause inflammation, making acne breakouts worse. Applying a gentle cleanser with clean hands or a soft brush intended for use on the face can help to prevent pimples.
- Keep hair clean. If excess oil in the hair travels to the skin, it can worsen acne; hence, regularly washing the hair may stop acne from developing, especially close to the hairline.
- Refrain from popping or picking at pimples. Although, it may be tempting to squeeze a pimple, as this action usually results in inflammation and scarring. To reduce the appearance of blemishes, use a topical treatment instead. They may take some time to work, but they can also prevent new pimples from forming.
- Reduce stress because it often causes inflammation, which can make breakouts worse. To prevent acne, some means of reducing stress are by exercising, relaxing before bedtime, meditating, doing yoga, spending time in nature, engaging in hobbies, among other healthy activities.
- Keep facial care products clean. Makeup and facial sponges and brushes should be cleaned regularly with soap and water to prevent a buildup of bacteria, which could lead to breakouts. And make sure they are dried completely before use.
- Apply topical treatments. Over-the-counter treatments, such as creams or serums, can reduce breakouts, particularly when they tend to occur in certain areas.
- Consider topical retinoids. These are products containing medicines derived from vitamin A, and dermatologists prescribe them to manage and prevent acne. These treatments can also get rid of excess dead skin cells and reduce inflammation. Most topical retinoids are only available by prescription, including tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova), and tazarotene (Tazorac); however, one retinoid medication is available for purchase online or over the counter.
- Talk to a dermatologist about antibiotics because topical antibiotics can fight an overgrowth of P. acne bacteria in the skin. You can identify inflammatory acne by its very red, irritated appearance. It can also be painful.
- Talk to a doctor about hormone pills. Hormonal birth control pills are sometimes prescribed to prevent acne; the pills can help to prevent acne, by helping to regulate the hormones that may make acne worse. However, these pills carry risks, so it is essential to review the benefits and side effects before making a decision.
- Cut back on foods linked to acne. Doctors are not certain of the connection between foods and acne, however, a growing body of research suggests that some foods may trigger acne in certain patients. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, foods with a high glycemic index may increase the risk of developing acne or make acne worse. You may want to cut back on a particular food group, to see if your skin improves.
- Consider light or laser therapies. A dermatologist or esthetician can provide these therapies, which aim to reduce the presence of P. acne bacteria on the skin.
- Avoid skincare products that contain oil; this may help prevent pimples. Skincare products containing oil can clog the pores. These products are often intended for use on dry or mature skin that may not have as much natural oil.
- Refrain from excess exfoliation, that is, the process of removing dead cells from the skin. While some exfoliation can help to improve acne, too much can worsen breakouts; this happens when a person removes too much natural oil from the skin, the skin may compensate by producing more oil, which clogs pores and leads to more pimples.
For a long time, nutrition was regarded as one of the principal factors influencing overall “well being” and the perception of “health” in humans, even as the skin provides a first impression about one’s biological condition. Also, nutrition has long been associated with skin health, beauty, integrity and aging through multiple pathways and cofactors implicated in skin biology. The onset and clinical course of various common skin diseases, especially acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and hair loss, have been suggested to be critically affected by nutrition patterns and habits, hence, the need to know how your body works, the food and kind of environment your body reacts to, keep a proper body hygiene, monitor your body and what you do, so as to identify what your body is reacting to once you notice any reaction. These steps, according to experts, will help to prevent and control pimples on your face.
Nutritionists, dietitians, researchers and medical experts do not agree with the claim that groundnuts or other oily foods can cause pimples but they encourage healthy diet, good hygiene, exercise, and other healthy activities to make bodies fit and beautiful.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with the Broadcastings Corporation of Oyo State, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in Journalism and enhance Media Literacy in the Country.