Watch your skin during the holidays

HealthGal Health Guide
  • Whether it's good stress or bad stress, persistently heightened emotional extremes can play havoc with your skin.  Add some sleep deficit and a big dose of holiday treats and you have a recipe for issues.  The last thing you want during the holiday season is to have a break out of acne (or multiple breakouts) or to have dark circles under your eyes that defy cover up.  You also don't want to add to the aging process and hasten wrinkles.  And if you have any skin conditions like rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis, holiday stress and partying can certainly exacerbate the condition. 

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    So how do you enjoy the holidays, and keep skin conditions at bay?


    Since persistent stress can make skin more reactive, you need to somehow find balance.  That may mean delegating tasks and reducing your workload.  Short intervals of yoga or simple meditation or even just carving out ten minutes to have a calming cup of herbal tea can also help.


    If you are undermining your sleep needs then you need to spend time creating a "sleep mood" which means not bringing work to bed(that includes list making for the next day), reading rather than watching TV before sleep, turning the lights low and possibly playing soft, soothing music; using relaxation techniques like a gentle massage by your spouse to help you release the day's tension can help.


    The holidays can be a time when you abandon your healthy diet and start eating daily treats that are typically high in fat, sugar, and salt.  You do need to pick and choose as well as time these special holiday foods, especially if your skin is sensitive.  If you already have acne, your diet can cause additional breakouts or simply make your current breakouts more severe. 


    If you are too busy or tired to care for your skin, then dirt and oils can accumulate and also cause breakouts.  If you fall asleep with makeup on, it can clog pores or cause sensitive skin to develop a rash.  And if you have any skin conditions that require certain cleansing and moisturizing steps daily, abandoning them can mean dry, flaking skin or an exacerbation of eczema, psoriasis or other reactive skin conditions.


    If you are in the kitchen for hours, then exposure to the heat from multiple dishes cooking on the stove and in the oven can also irritate inflamed skin, or in particular, rosacea.  Make sure to ventilate the kitchen or step outside frequently to cool down.  Keep ice water handy so you cool off your internal thermostat as well.  A clean cool compress applied to your face can also help.


    Finally, you may have to determine if some of your stress is in anticipation some difficult family situations.  If that's the case, then you need to decide how to minimize the stress associated with the situation.  You may have to turn to a support team who casually intervenes to prevent altercations from escalating (and causing you skin issues).  You may also have to decide not to "sweat the small stuff."  There are no perfect families.  So decide ahead of time to just go with the flow and enjoy!!


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Published On: December 16, 2009