Like clockwork, each year we gather up our families and any extra stragglers in order to travel or host holiday gatherings, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years or all the above. While these holidays are often full of cheer, many find family gatherings to be a time of stress. This “holiday stress,” combined with a change in routine, can amount to a nosedive in your skin’s health, and seemingly always right before the family photo.
Stress can run high over the holidays, between bickering siblings, financial strain, managing time and poor diet (mainly those extra eggnog’s). Studies have shown that high stress levels can intensify pre-existing acne by releasing hormones that increase your skin’s oil production and prompt inflammation. The good news is, it hasn’t been conclusively shown that stress can create new acne–and you can reduce the stress you do have with a good workout, meditation session, or even a good night’s sleep.
The real danger, it seems, is an extreme change in routine. Though exact details are foggy, there is scientific evidence that diet affects acne. If for weeks you eat a dairy-free diet but gorge on eggnog and cream cheese frosting over the holidays, your body will have some trouble digesting your feast and maybe even cause a few blemishes to spring up. What’s more, sleep schedules also tend to waver with travel and holiday events, which can imbalance hormones to a greater extent.
To ensure your skin stays vibrant, sneak in a nap if you can to keep hormone levels balanced, and drink more water than you think you need to protect your skin from dehydration (If you’re feeling especially classy, give your mug a spritz of Evian spray.). Don’t forget to eat your greens and go easy on Santa’s cookies! As a last line of defense, clean your makeup brushes a few extra times with a paraben-free formula for sensitive skin to prevent any zits or blemishes from ruining holiday photos. Holiday stress is a sneaky one, be prepared before it hits you this season and the many to come!