The holiday season holds so many triggers for acne that it takes intention and effort to avoid a big breakout.
Stress, lack of sleep and the neuroendocrine consequences of stress puts your body at risk for acne. (1)
Dietary triggers for acne are everywhere—in your kitchen, at the office, given as gifts, and served at holiday parties!
You are also so busy with all the extra responsibilities and festivities that the holidays bring, and your skin care isn’t given the attention it deserves.
What can you do to prevent acne during the holidays?
No. 1. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies during the holidays and avoid the trigger foods that drive acne.
Dietary triggers that cause acne include:
- Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, ice cream, cream, etc.
- High glycemic foods, meaning foods with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates as found in processed foods.
When you attend holiday events where food is served, be that person who eats all the veggie crudities and passes on the rich canapes and desserts. You’ll avoid the holiday weight gain too!
No. 2. Try to balance stress and commitment with down time and sleep.
Say “no” to things you can. My personal mantra to counter my Type A personality is, “It’s all good, and it’s good enough.” Try it this holiday season and see if your acne stays under control.
No. 3. Keep up your skin care routine.
Take the time to wash your face and apply your acne skin care products every morning and every night during the holidays. This is a good, self-care ritual that helps prevent acne. The structure may even relieve a little stress—it’s “me time.”
Washing twice a day is important. At night, you’re removing a day’s worth of dirt, bacteria, makeup, oil, and grime, all of which can clog pores and cause pimples. In the morning, you’re preparing your skin to maximally absorb your acne-treating products. Good acne-treating ingredients to include in your skin care routine are:
- Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid penetrates well into oily, clogged pores to help break up plugs and blackheads. The easiest way to add salicylic acid to your skin care is in cleansers.
- Benzoyl Peroxide
This ingredient treats the acne-causing bacteria called P. acnes better than all the prescription, topical antibiotics. It also helps to clear blackheads.
More is not better though, and benzoyl peroxide can be irritating. The lower 2.5% is proven as effective as higher concentrations. Apply it twice daily to acne-prone areas. Benzoyl peroxide is also a great spot treatment for surprise pimples.
Retinol is vitamin A. It is in the family of compounds called retinoids, which include Retin A, Accutane. Retinoids are well-studied medicines to treat acne. Retinol is available without prescription. Use it at night to help fight acne. It also helps fight wrinkles and reduce acne scars and hyperpigmentation too.
You can have a clear complexion this holiday season and fight acne.
Photo by Michael Dam
- Zouboulis ChC, Bo¨hm M. Neuroendocrine regulation of sebocytes – a pathogenetic link between stress and acne. Exp Dermatol 2004: 13 (Suppl. 4): 31–35
- Karadağ AS, The effect of personal, familial, and environmental characteristics on acne vulgaris: a prospective, multicenter, case controlled study from Turkey, G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Jul 11. doi: 10.23736/S0392-0488.17.05532-8. [Epub ahead of print]
- Burris J, Differences in Dietary Glycemic Load and Hormones in New York City Adults with No and Moderate/Severe Acne., J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Sep;117(9):1375-1383.
- Ulvestad M, Acne and dairy products in adolescence: results from a Norwegian longitudinal study.J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017 Mar;31(3):530-535.
Dr. Cynthia Bailey
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