“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes, and with the holiday season coming in—whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the winter solstice—the binge eating comes with it. Even in a pandemic we aim to maintain our holiday traditions, and a hearty holiday meal is one of those traditions we can keep while social distancing. But here’s the thing about the holiday binge: It has an impact on your skin health—and that could give you worse acne flare-ups if you already suffer from acne.
Let’s take a look at what types of food may be damaging your skin during the holiday season—and then find out post-holiday skin care tips that can help restore your skin’s natural glow.
Food is the main culprit
The holiday season is full of tasty treats, from sugary cakes and pastries and the dairy-rich eggnog, which can trigger acne breakouts, to alcohol, which can dehydrate your skin and make it look dull and flakey. While these are good in moderation, during the holiday season the tendency is for you to consume excessive amounts of food that are bad for your skin health.
…but food isn’t the only factor to blame
Here’s another thing about Christmas and holidays in general: the holiday binge isn’t the only culprit for your skin going bad—your general habits and skin care habits might be to blame as well! Lack of sleep is one of the top reasons your skin won’t be as healthy as it is on other days. Without enough rest, your skin is unable to retain moisture, is more prone to wrinkles and acne breakouts.
When it comes to holiday skin care, there’s a good chance your skin isn’t doing so well over the holidays because you’re following the same skin care routine you do during the summer. This is especially true if you live in places where the climate is colder—your dry, flakey skin may actually be a result of the lack of proper skin care habits instead of holiday traditions themselves. So examine your routine and see if it’s nourishing your skin completely even in extreme weather conditions.
The key is moderation
Because it’s the holiday season, we’re not going to tell you to stay away from certain types of food; however, we do encourage you to control your consumption. Here’s a list of common holiday treats that you need to consume in moderation, and their effects on your skin if you do not control your intake:
- Sweets such as Christmas cookies, yule log, candy canes, and peppermint logs are rich in sugar, which causes skin to lose its elasticity and makes it more prone to inflammation. It also makes existing skin conditions worse, such as acne and eczema. Switch out the sweets with fruit snacks rich in vitamin C instead. You’ll get the same satisfaction of sugar while you benefit from its antioxidant properties.
- Alcohol notoriously damages skin by dehydrating it, causing your skin to become dry, dull and more prone to wrinkles. Drinking more than 2 glasses of alcohol a day every day can age you by as much as 10 years! Another effect of alcohol is to cause inflammation—this is why you turn red when you have a few drinks. The redness is inflammation, and it usually goes away shortly after if you’re an occasional drinker—but if you drink heavily and regularly, as is the case during the holidays, this could lead to a permanent redness of your face that you won’t be able to get rid of just as easily.
- Dairy. Dairy is broken down in the body as the sugar lactose, so when you’re consuming large quantities of dairy, you’re actually ingesting a lot of sugar in your body. And because it is difficult for your body to digest lactose, the effects last longer: your skin becomes less elastic and ages more quickly. As an inflammatory agent, dairy makes acne breakouts and other skin conditions worse, particularly rosacea. Go easy on the butter and the eggnog—your skin will thank you for it.
How to treat your skin post-holiday
The extra sugar, the late night catch-ups with loved ones and the added stress of planning your holidays around a global pandemic will take their toll on your skin. But don’t worry because we’ve got tips for you to get your skin health back to where it was before the celebrations began.
- Prevention is better than cure! Have you updated your skin care routine to adapt to the current weather? If you live in colder climates where the temperatures drop drastically during the holiday season, then preventive skin care measures are best. Keep your skin hydrated with products that have humectants in them, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerol and sorbitol—and choose richer emollient formulations. Now’s the time to switch from your gel product to a cream or lotion formulation. A skin balm also works best because it is an occlusive, or an ingredient designed to lock the maximum amount of moisture into your skin.
- Prep your skin for treatment. This falls under “prevention is better than cure” but because many people forget to do this, the treatments that you do afterwards become less effective. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you exfoliate your skin a few times a week to remove dirt, makeup and oil as well as dead skin cells, then hydrate with your preferred product. The SMACNE Exfoliating Aloe Cleanser does both—the AHA/BHA acids help exfoliate your skin gently, while the aloe vera soothes inflammation and helps hydrate your skin.
- Relieve puffy eyes with tea bags. If your eyes are puffy, either from staying up too late or from eating too much sugar and dairy, both of which may cause your eyes to be puffy, a simple and delicious solution is available: make yourself tea. You can relax and sip your cup of tea while the used tea bags are placed on your eyes. Choose caffeine-based tea, especially black tea—according to dermatologists, black tea contains tannins that help constrict your skin, which provides immediate relief for your tired eyes and reduces their puffiness.
- Sleep with your head elevated. Want to avoid the puffiness around your eyes altogether? Doctors recommend sleeping with your head elevated. This is because alcohol dilates your blood vessels, which in turn allows more fluids to enter your under-eye area, making it look bloated. Keeping your head elevated reduces the amount of fluid entering that area—which means the more elevated your head is, the more likely you’ll wake up without puffy eyes.
- Treat those post-holiday breakouts. Just because you stopped binge-eating and drinking for the holidays doesn’t mean your holiday breakouts will go away. Treat your acne with products that have known acne-fighting agents in them, such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid—two ingredients that are in the SMACNE Acne Treatment.
- Use a good room humidifier. To avoid drying out your skin during the cold months, invest in a good room purifier and install it in the room where you’re most likely to stay during the holidays. This way, you can crank the heater up without having to worry about your skin being too dry, dull and flakey.
- Choose skin care products with antioxidants. Antioxidants help repair your skin by fighting off free radicals that can age your skin and promoting the production of collagen, which are the building blocks of your skin. It also helps reduce inflammation. Look for ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol and vitamin E—these are just a few examples of potent antioxidants that can help your skin to heal itself after a good Christmas binge!
- Be consistent with your skin care routine! Because we get too busy during the holidays, we tend to forget to take care of our skin, especially if you’re following a complicated, multiple-step skin care regime. But the key to your skin being protected from premature aging and acne breakouts is in consistently doing your skin care routine no matter how busy you get. This way, you give the ingredients proper time to work and protect your skin from external damaging factors. And you shouldn’t just practice consistency during the holiday season—as we’ve said in the first item, prevention is better than cure!
Switch up to a simpler skin care routine
The best way to remember to take care of your skin during the holidays is to keep your skin care routine simple. Start by getting your free SMACNE Trial Kit today and give yourself the gift of clear, healthy skin during the holiday season!