What do a party snack and a basketball game have in common? Nuts. There’s no denying the power of nuts. There are almost endless types of nuts that spruce up pastas, salads, fish and meet dishes, and your morning cereal. As far as nuts go, pecan isn’t on top of the popularity list. But pecan is both mouthwatering and great for your overall skin.

Pecan may not be the most healthy nut, that place is taken by the walnut, but in terms of vitamin content, pecan wins hands down. It also has bioactive compounds that can’t be found in walnuts such as ellagic acid.

Pecan in a nutshell

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is part of the walnut family. The tree is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico. Although commonly called nut, botanically, it’s a drupe – a fruit with a single pit that is encircled by a husk. Just like other members of the walnut family, the nut is the edible seed of the drupe.

Pecan, photo by Sara Cervera 

Taste and culinary uses

Just like walnuts, pecan adds texture, texture, crunch, and flavour to your dishes. And, at first glance, it’s easy to mix them up because at first glance they have roughly the same colour and size.

The main difference is that pecan is native to the US while the walnut originates in Asia and Europe.

Next up is the shell. The Pecan shell has an oval shape and a darkish brown colour. It’s also more difficult to break open than the walnut shell. The walnut shell is round, light brown with rides. As for the edible “flesh” of the nut, the walnut has a distinct brain-like and is bigger. The pecan has a darker brown colour.

If you close your eyes and bite into both, pecan tastes sweeter while the walnut has a slightly bitter edge to it. Overall, you can substitute one for the other in most recipes. But raw pecans are a bit of an acquired taste, like eating a sweet mushy thingy. Roasting or baking according to your recipe adds a whole other dimension to them.

Pecan can also be processing oil that’s used for cooking. It has a high smoke point which makes it ideal for frying.


From the get-go, pecan is an excellent source of unsaturated fats. It’s also a rich source of

  • copper
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • zinc
  • vitamin E complex
  • several vitamin Bs
  • protein
  • fibre

Further, pecan contains saponins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid.

4 skin benefits

As an excellent source for more than 19 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are vital for healthy skin cells.


As an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids, unsurprisingly, pecan makes a great moisturiser. It contains linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acid as well as 2 forms of vitamin E.

Linoleic acid (omega-6) has anti-inflammatory properties. It binds to lipid cell membranes and improves its moisture retention.

Oleic acid (omega-9) has antioxidant effects but can trigger breakout in some people.

Palmitic acid naturally occurs in your skin. In skin care, it can be used as a cleansing agent, emulsifier, and emollient.

Contrary to what many people think, vitamin E (tocopherol) is the umbrella term for fat soluble antioxidants. Pecan is a consistent source of alpha and gamma tocopherol of the vitamin E group.

Vitamin E is a powerhouse in skin care because it

  • moisturises your skin and prevents it from losing moisture
  • fights free radical damage as an antioxidant and protects your skin against damage
  • is soothing and softening

Fibre isn’t only for gut health

Most of the time fibre is linked to healthy digestion but its role in healthy skin is often passed over. Having good digestion is more important to healthy skin than you think. When everything works as it should, you’ll not only get a strong immune function but also notice better skin.

Digestion is also important in that it breaks down your food into molecules so that your body can use it to make new skin cells.

When you fibrous content and so improve your digestion, it means your body can better flush out waste such as toxins and germs. Or on the flip side, when your digestive system is sluggish, it can show up in your skin in the form of blemishes.

Ellagic acid

Vitamin E isn’t the only important compound that protects against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, there’s also ellagic acid. It’s best known for its antioxidant nature but it can also protect against UV and it also holds promise to improve dark spots and even out skin tone.

Ellagic acid prevents inflammation and collagen breakdown 2 of the main causes of wrinkles which means it can halt the clock. Pecans, as a source of ellagic acid decrease if not prevent inflammation and protects skin from sun damage.


The potent mix of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B complex makes an armour for your skin that protects against external damage. Magnesium regulates skin cell regeneration and repair. Zinc supports and boosts the formation of the proteins collagen and elastin and also has a role in wound healing.

Vitamin B complex is needed for almost every process in your body. This means they’re key for cell growth, development, and overall functioning. In terms of skin health, they’re essential since your skin is constantly regenerating.

Pecan shells are useful too

The shell is mostly regarded as a by-product but they’re useful too. When you finely grind the shell into a powder, you can mix it into your at home chickpea exfoliator. It also has uses outside of skin care.

You can use pecan shells as kindling or as biofuel because they’re combustible. Or use the ground-up shells not as an exfoliator but as a building material. The cool thing is that even when ground up, pecan shells retain a wood-like texture. You can mix the ground-up shells with plastic resin and make your own sculptures and figurines.

Closing words

Loaded with many different minerals and vitamins, pecans are versatile and you can easily integrate them into your lifestyle – just grab a handful. Or substitute olive oil with pecan oil.

It’s also easy to add pecan to your skin care. If you find organic pecan oil, you can use it as a facial oil or add a few drops to your favourite moisturiser to pimp it up. Since pecan oil is also regarded as a carrier oil, you can use it to dilute essential oils.

Remember, if you’re allergic to tree nuts (cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts), it’s better to avoid pecan. Also, perform a patch test first before you introduce it fully into your skin care.

4 Skin Benefits Of Pecans That'll Make You Go Nuts

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