How to keep your skin clear during the holiday season is a hot topic both this year and every year: between the rich foods, makeup for holiday events, and traditionally harsh weather, it’s no wonder why teenage and adult acne sufferers alike find themselves frequently breaking out throughout the winter.

While wintertime is usually the time to talk about gift-giving (and Face5 certainly has myriad shop items for the skin care advocate in your life!) we’re instead dedicating today’s blog to the top three most common dietary acne triggers during the holiday season so that you know how to circumvent them.

Holiday Culprit #1: Acne-Triggering Carrageenan

Have you heard of carrageenan?

A red seaweed powder that is frequently used as an additive in both thick liquid products and processed meats (think eggnog, flavored coffee creamer, and deli meat), carrageenan is both a well-known acne trigger and a reported trigger for gastrointestinal inflammation, colitis, and, in some cases, even colon cancer. 

The link between carrageenan and unsavory effects is so well-recorded, in fact, that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted in the Fall of 2016 to have carrageenan removed from all organic food by November 2018. However, carrageenan can unfortunately still be found in many foods… especially those on our Christmas dinner table!

Because many patients here at Face5 haven’t heard of carrageenan before, we recommend bookmarking this blog as a reminder to look out for it on the ingredients list when shopping this holiday season.

Holiday Culprit #2: Dairy-Aggravating Acne

Is there a link between dairy and acne?


There are a few science-backed theories as to why dairy negatively impacts acne breakouts.One is that, due to dairy cows being treated with artificial hormones, those hormones, when ingested, can unbalance our own hormones and trigger acne; other popular theories include A) growth hormones in milk naturally aggravating acne and B) milk products, when consumed alongside the refined foods and sugars found in a standard Western diet, disrupts insulin levels and makes skin acne-prone.

While eating healthy dairy like fermented yoghurt in moderation won’t hurt, take this as your reminder to enjoy processed dairy mindfully!

Holiday Culprit #3: Breakout-Causing Peanuts

Here at Face 5, we see many clients during this time of the year breaking out across the jawline and the chin area.

Many times, the culprit of these breakouts are peanuts.

Peanuts are an acne trigger due to their high levels of androgen-like hormones, which oftentimes cause an overproduction of oil from the pores. This leads to a higher rate of acne breakouts. We see many clients at this time of the year breaking out on the jawline and chin area due to eating peanut products. With androgen-like hormones being prominent in peanuts, it certainly seems like they can cause acne. 

Common snack foods that may contain peanuts include:

  • Peanut butter cup desserts
  • Peanut brittle
  • Trail mix with peanut
  • Peanut clusters
  • …And many more!

Now You Know How to Keep Your Skin Clear This Holiday Season

While we encourage you to enjoy all the decadent foods this holiday season, it’s our hope that this guide helps you consume more mindfully and better educates you on how diet can (and will!) impact your acne.

After all, acne is not something one facial will clear up: it takes commitment to diet, lifestyle, skin care, and seeking professional treatment. That’s why we start all our clients off right with a consultation, which includes education surrounding an acne-safe diet, an acne-safe lifestyle, non-pore-clogging skin care and hair care, what to expect with our program, and, of course, the cost of our services.

Have any further acne-related questions, or looking to book an appointment with us? Contact us today.