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Holiday Gluttony – How to Prevent Breakouts

December 6, 2019

The holidays are here – full of fun, love, good food, family, and friends. It’s also the time of year for over-indulging, staying up late, eating unhealthy food, and more stress.  Our concerns bounce from our noticeably more snug jeans, making time for ourselves, finding a parking space at the crowded malls, and fearing impending breakouts from stress. As we have reminded you in the past, stress is a normal part of life and the best way to handle it is by getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating a well balanced diet that is relatively low in sugar (with some pieces of pie, cookies and holiday treats of course!).

One of the most common questions we get is “What am I eating that is causing me to break out?”

There have been studies showing foods high in the glycemic index and dairy MAY trigger acne.

What are foods with a high glycemic index? Refined sugars and breads are good examples of “bad carbohydrates” – carbohydrates which are changed quickly into glucose and are harder for your body to regulate.  “Good” carbohydrates are those found naturally in foods such as vegetables, protein and whole grains which are slower to digest and change into glucose.

Then the whole dairy question….it’s still up in the air.

Some studies have linked dairy to being acne aggravating but they haven’t been able to determine why. They have various theories, depending on the study. The artificial hormones used in the dairy industry (progesterone compounds to increase lactation) may cause acne, individual human sensitivity to dairy products which causes an inflammatory response, the naturally occurring  hormones in dairy, the lactose (sugar) in dairy….just some theories. It appears all these factors may play a role in some individuals who react to dairy products to further exacerbate their acne prone skin.

So that’s the “bad” news.

The good news? Most other foods do not aggravate acne.

Remember the myth that greasy foods would cause breakouts? Pizza, french fries, hamburgers… all the good stuff. Eating greasy food will not aggravate your acne. If you eat too much fat/greasy food – your body knows JUST what to do with it (recall your snug jeans?!)…it will store it.

Holiday food and acne questions abound:

If I eat chocolate, will I break out?

If I eat that yummy fresh roll at dinner, will I break out?

If I have that extra glass of wine, will I break out?


If you over indulge occasionally, you will not have a face full of acne the next day. BUT – everything in moderation. A diet filled with food that entirely lacks nutritional value will put a lot of stress on your body, as it tries to break it down and survive. STRESS causes inflammation. Inflammation will lead to breakouts. Now, comes the point of eating a well balanced diet, because if you eat one, then you’re naturally not eating a grease and sugar filled diet and your jeans will fit through the holidays. Eating lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables (and lots of them!) and complex carbohydrates  – it’s pretty simple to choose healthy food when the feasts begin. (Save space for pie!)

And remember – before you go to bed every night… always remember to wash your face!

Happy Holidays!

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