‘Tis the season for festivities and a tendency to indulge, which calls for a bit of preparation to avoid pimples, acne breakouts, dullness and overall skin blahh-ness.
Let me help you skin-prep the holiday season.
1. Supporting the liver
With copious meals and rich foods this time of year, your liver will have to work extra-hard. Your skin will thus have to pick up the slack as a fellow organ of elimination — referred to in herbalism as an ‘emunctory’ . If your tendency is to get acne, your sebaceous glands may start to overproduce sebum which could lead to acne breakouts [2,3]. If your skin is more on the normal/combo and even dry side, you may just get more skin imperfections (what I refer to as ‘bumpy skin’).
What you’ll want to do then, is support the liver in draining out toxins.
To assist the liver in its elimination process, you can prepare plant decoctions that are also known to benefit the skin.
Concoct, for instance, an herbal infusion with milk thistle [4,5] (Silybum marianum), rosemary  (Rosmarinus officinalis), dandelion  (Taraxacum officinale) root and lemon  (Citrus limon) peel or steep an organic ‘detox’ blend found at your local natural health food store.
If you're more of a tea-person then consider making yourself one cup of matcha tea a day. Matcha (Camellia sinensis) is rich in polyphenols — natural antioxidants  — aka great to delay skin aging. Camellia sinensis assists in liver detoxification and shows promising sebum-reducing results at the epidermis level .
2. Keeping an eye out for this one sneaky ingredient
With family feasts on the horizon comes decadent desserts (pies, gingerbread, gooey puddings galore…) and let’s not forget the flow of warming beverages: hot cider, mulled wine and eggnog! These comforting delights are of course laden with sugar (check out the blog where I explain the dermatological mechanisms by which high glycemic index foods may worsen your acne & wrinkles [11,12]).
I’m not suggesting you ditch the indulgences, but rather search for ‘low sugar’ recipes for your classic holiday desserts and try some of the low glycemic index substitutes on the market. After much research, check out my favorite one you could try for cranberry sauce next week (see BONUS section below↓).
3. Cutaneous detoxification
As I mentioned above, just like the liver is an organ of elimination, so is the skin (which is one of the main reasons we get breakouts in the first place). Among my favorite ways to detoxify impurities topically, is to apply our Kelp Forest Mask which you might want on hand too.
This brightening face mask is both purifying and mineralizing. The clay it is formulated with has both aBsorbant and aDsorbent properties  — scientific evidence suggests that these properties enable clay to clean your skin deeply, but gently [14,15,16]. Apply once a week, while spritzing your face with a hydrosol or DIY floral water to avoid dehydrating your epidermis.
4. My best advice
Enjoy the season, laugh and have a good time. You and your skin deserve stress-free moments (read the science on how stress affects your skin here).
I recommend just leaving your skin alone for 24 hours after consecutive heavy meals. Let your skin breathe through the night with a ‘cosmetic diet’ → that involves both (1) ditching daytime make-up and (2) ditching all skincare products besides oil cleansing. Yep, you read that right: no products for a whole day.
À votre santé !
BONUS SKIN TIPS BEFORE & AFTER A FEAST
Taming your sweet tooth pre-holidays
In our blog that coveres how sugar can worsen wrinkles & acne I talk about quitting high glycemic index foods 'cold turkey' (no pun intended!) to help reset your tastebuds. Just before the holiday season may be a good time to do that — it'll help curb your sweet tooth.
My preferred sugar substitute
In that same blog post on how sugar affects your skin, I suggest that it is best to stay away from honey, maple syrup and even 'healthy' sugar substitutes like stevia. But say you’re making cranberry sauce: while the recipe doesn't need the sugar for preservation purposes like jam, it needs a lot of sugar because cranberries are so tart! In this sort of instance, I recommend using this raw monkfruit powder (not an affiliate link). It's pricey BUT it doesn't have any of the nasty additives you'll find in other monkfruit extracts, stevia , xylitol and the like.
Cutaneous detoxification: hot baths
There is much evidence to suggest that sweating helps take some of the detoxification burden off of your liver . Elimination in the body is done through three major pathways: urine (via the kidneys), stool (via the gut) and the less-obvious pathway of excretion is sweating (via the skin). Sweating is one of the best (and most affordable) ways to help support your body's innate detox systems. My go-to the day after a feast: a hot bath, using the kelp forest mask to cleanse.
Learn how to cook with edible trees and other perennial plants with our free, downloadable guide ↓
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