While cold winter weather sends most people scrambling to find nourishing winter skin care products to combat dryness, the holidays present other skin challenges like breakouts and rosacea flare-ups! Holiday stress, combined with the array of tasty treats and late-night merriment, may cause those with even the clearest skin to experience a winter breakout or two. Read on for what foods to avoid for healthy skin, stress reduction helpers, and other winter skincare tips for a calm, unblemished holiday season.
Foods to Avoid for Healthy Skin
While you may be diligent about a healthy diet for most of the year, the holidays may cause you to say “Bah Humbug!” to good intentions. But studies have found that certain foods definitely trigger breakouts and rosacea. Now, don’t “pre-grieve” losing your favorite holiday fare just yet. Our aim isn’t to deprive you of foods you look forward to all year, but to guide you to make better choices so that you’ll have optimal skin health all season long. So, here are the main foods and beverages to limit, or enjoy in moderation if you must, for clear, calm skin:
- Refined carbohydrates: Sugar, white flour, and white rice cause a flood of insulin which bumps up hormone production, oil, and inflammation, leading to acne and, possibly, rosacea.
- High-glycemic foods and beverages aggravate rosacea by spiking blood sugar, insulin, arachidonic acid, and inflammation levels. If you want to stay free of rosacea symptoms, steer clear of high glycemic foods and drinks like alcohol, sugary, starchy fruits, vegetables, natural sweeteners, millet, rice, and white flour.
- Trans-fats, gluten, acid-forming, inflammatory, and synthetic foods: These foods conspire to increase insulin, inflammation, oil, and testosterone levels, triggering breakouts and rosacea eruptions. For example, that holiday-flavored creamer in your coffee and microwave popcorn aren’t doing your skin any favors as the hydrogenated oils, acid-forming coffee, and artificial flavors increase stress hormones, aggravating acne and the flushing and blushing of rosacea.
- Holiday libations: Celebratory cocktails, mulled wine, hot toddies, and black teas are acidic and dehydrating, plus spike insulin levels, making them skincare foes. Also, not to put a damper on enjoying seasonal lattes, but hot liquids (including soups) warm the blood, dilate the capillaries, and cause flushing and congestion in rosacea sufferers. The caffeine from teas, coffee, and chocolates also triggers rosacea flushing, and may worsen acne by heightening the stress response and production of acne-triggering stress hormones. Be sure to stay hydrated to help reduce oil output and speed up your breakout recovery.
- Animal products: Dairy from cow’s milk, poultry, and red meat may contain acne-triggering hormones that can increase testosterone levels and winter breakouts. We love prime rib holiday dinners and a steaming mug of hot chocolate to beat the chill, but meats and creamy treats like this don’t love our skin. Consider hormone-free dairy, or other plant based beverages and foods, instead.
- Histamines: Foods containing histamines are linked with rosacea as they cause blood vessels to dilate, a prime symptom of rosacea. Avoid the charcuterie platter or bowl of mixed nuts at get-togethers as histamine-containing foods like aged cheeses, processed meats and fish, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are on the list of histamine-containing foods. Other histamine-releasing foods and beverages to watch out for if you have rosacea include alcohol, avocado, chocolate, canned, fermented, or pickled vegetables, milk products, egg whites, many berries, dried fruits, soured breads and foods made with yeast, shellfish, spinach, stone fruits, tomatoes, tropical fruits (bananas, papayas, pineapples), and vinegar.
- Take back control of your skin with antioxidant-rich & anti-inflammatory foods to help stabilize blood sugar levels and manage stress. Seek fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (albacore tuna, anchovies, canola oil, flaxseed, herring, sardines, salmon, and walnuts) to control breakouts.
As this includes many foods with health benefits, is important to get your doctor’s sign-off before making any dietary changes. And don’t forget to eat while trimming the tree - as not getting enough vitamins and nutrients (like antioxidants, linoleic acid, and minerals) are also tied to acne.
Stress-Related Breakouts + Bumps
If holiday decorating, gift buying, baking, card sending, and attending get-togethers with family and friends puts your sleigh into a tailspin, you could be setting yourself up for an unwelcome visitor. To keep from showing up with an uninvited plus one (and we don’t mean a human date), get in front of holiday stress ahead of time to keep skin clear and flare-up free.
Here’s the why and how of it:
Think of stress as a skincare scrooge. As our bodies go into fight or flight mode fighting against holiday traffic and fears of not making the season memorable, it causes an avalanche of acne and rosacea-triggering stress hormones. Cortisol, adrenaline, and testosterone spark increased inflammation and oil production, the perfect storm for winter breakouts on face, neck, back, and chest. These hormones are also acidic, causing facial blushing, and flushing symptoms of rosacea. The increased oil production also creates an environment that allows the mite involved with rosacea to thrive. Continued stress increases inflammation and dampens the circulatory, immune, and nervous systems, leading to chronic, progressive rosacea.
Put “no stress” at the top of your holiday wish list to control oil production and the weakening of pore walls, preventing the frustration and embarrassment many acne sufferers experience. Tackling breakouts can help improve your self-esteem and sense of well-being in time for a New Year’s kiss beneath the mistletoe.
Stress-reduction practices, including self-care, deep breathing, journaling, meditation, yoga, and regular massages, are essential for those committed to skin health and wellness. While shopping for treasures for your loved ones, gift yourself our Sparkling De-Stress Body Holiday Gift Set, an excellent self-care companion to help you establish a calming winter skin routine. Remember, spreading joy to friends and family is much easier when relaxed. All it takes is a quarter to half an hour respite from the flurry of activity to dry brush your body, take a natural bubble bath, and massage in soothing body balms. Consistently follow this practice to help slow oil production, balance your pH, and achieve a feeling of peace on earth. Follow with a revitalizing skin mist and moisturizing aromatherapy face oil. Breathe in calm and exhale stress with a clear sigh of relief!
Winter Breakout Solutions
When heat and humidity vanish, skin sweats less and feels drier, causing parched winter skin problems. Like one of Santa’s helpers trying to keep your skin jolly, it produces more oil to counteract skin-withering dry air. Unfortunately, this can trigger unsightly breakouts and rosacea bumps. That’s why acne products for dry skin and sensitivity are ideal this time of year. So, if the holidays don’t feel complete without a batch of those special cookies you grew up with, add ProCorrective® Clear Control to your winter skin care routine to sweep up the crumbs. These clean skincare for acne products naturally “lift away” congestion and breakouts, helping counteract the effects of poor food choices without irritation or sensitivity. This collection includes a natural skin cleanser and exfoliant-in-one, spot treatment, blemish cream, and acne mask to calm, moisturize, and repair your skin. No harsh Sulfates or Alcohols, just a smooth, healthy, and even-toned complexion. And if you break out only occasionally, keep the acne treatment cream on hand – as you never know when you might want to overindulge!
If you battle rosacea during the colder holiday months, our Redness-B-Gone Trial Kit - Redness Skincare Solution (RS2) is the perfect winter rosacea treatment. With Rose, Green Tea, Chamomile, and no harsh ingredients, it naturally calms the redness, flushing, blushing, and irritation that peaks this time of year. With these “trimmings,” tips, and gifts, holiday skincare issues needn’t weigh you down like a lump of coal in your stocking. Embrace the magic of the holidays with a smooth, calm complexion for a merry and bright season! Want to maximize results for your healthiest skin ever? Boost skin health with an in-depth consultation for your ideal products and professional treatments. We recommend the ProCorrective® Clear-Control Blemish Treatment or Rosacea Mask Treatment, combined with the Enhanced Relaxing Massage with Magnesium, Crepe-No-More De-Aging Body Wrap, or Tension Relief Leg & Foot Treatment for a clear, calm season. Visit Find A Spa for an oasis near you offering Pevonia!