Let’s be honest, a festive feast is arguably the best part about the holiday period. So just how much of an influence will this change in diet - to a very indulgent one - really impact your skin? Meet face mapping; a school of thought where certain skin gripes are reflective of diet changes. (Like, pimples across your forehead being connected to poor diet and improper digestion.)
Is it an old wives tale, or can nine pieces of pavlova really cause some chaos on your complexion? We called on a couple of experts to set the record straight.
“Lifestyle and your diet obviously have a connection to the skin, although the link between diet and the skin alone remains controversial. Some evidence suggests an association between acne and food with a high glycaemic index (so sugar can play a role) and dairy (although the link with dairy is much weaker)”, says dermal therapist, Yadira Cauchi.
What we eat on a regular basis will have a much greater impact on our complexion than a few fast and hard days of indulgence. “If you are consuming large amounts of sugar and other highly processed foods, you may be missing out on other vital nutrients”, says dietitian, Rebecca Gawthorne. Try to make sure you pile some of the following onto your plate between festive spreads:
- healthy fats and omega 3s - oily fish, nuts and seeds
- low GI foods - legumes and whole grains
- antioxidant rich foods - fruits and vegetables
- foods rich in zinc - beans, pumpkin seeds and almonds
- pre and probiotic rich foods - garlic, asparagus and yoghurt
“Excess alcohol can cause dehydration, inflammation and negatively impact our immune system and hormones. All of these factors play a role in overall skin health, and can cause breakouts”, explains Rebecca. For those of us who are planning to shake up a cocktail or two (or nine) before the year’s out, Rebecca has some very sage advice: “if you want to minimise the likelihood of breakouts, balance your drinking with water to help you stay hydrated and aid your body in flushing out toxins.”
It would be remiss of us not to mention the inevitable stress and restless nights (because we’re excited for Santa’s arrival, duh) that are associated with this time of year. With more commitments, more events, more late nights, less time to exercise, less motivation to remove your makeup at the end of a big night, the stress starts to show in the form of breakouts, dullness, dark circles under the eyes, all that fun stuff. Just in case you needed any more motivation to book a few facials between running around the department store.
“I know I always sound super woo woo saying this, but no matter what time of year it is, it’s so important to listen to your skin. Skin is constantly changing; if your face is feeling duller than usual - up the hydration (a Transformazing mask!). If you’re breaking out, retinoids, salicylic acid, niacinamide and hydration can also help - although how you treat your breakouts will depend on the breakout and your skin type. It’s important to have ingredients in your routine that are directly treating your concerns.” If at all confused by what you should be doing/using, Yadira recommends chatting to your trusted dermal therapist for more personalised advice.
The silly season is meant to be just that, silly! So embrace the chaos then slip gracefully back into routine at the turn of the year. Rebecca’s three key takeaways for maintaining some sense of health and wellness over the holidays go a little like this:
- Nourish not restrict (what healthy foods can you add to your diet, not take out)
- Balance (back to those waters between cocktails that we mentioned)
- Enjoy yourself (no point sitting there and stressing about what you’re eating)