Holiday season skin prep

Posted by Céline Founder & Chief Alchemist at Anato ⚘ on

‘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’ [1]. 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 [6] (Rosmarinus officinalis), dandelion [7] (Taraxacum officinale) root and lemon [8] (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 [9] — aka great to delay skin aging. Camellia sinensis assists in liver detoxification and shows promising sebum-reducing results at the epidermis level [10]

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 [13] — 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 !

- Céline


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 [17]. 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 ↓


1. Myers, Stephen P., et al. "Emunctorology: Synthesising Traditional Naturopathic Practice with Modern Science." Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal 18.3 (2019): 40.
2. Bowe, Whitney P., Smita S. Joshi, and Alan R. Shalita. "Diet and acne." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 63.1 (2010): 124-141.

3. Melnik, Bodo C., and Christos C. Zouboulis. "Potential role of F ox O 1 and m TORC 1 in the pathogenesis of W estern diet‐induced acne." Experimental dermatology 22.5 (2013): 311-315.

4. Abenavoli, Ludovico, et al. "Milk thistle in liver diseases: past, present, future." Phytotherapy Research 24.10 (2010): 1423-1432.
5. Siegel, Abby B., and Justin Stebbing. "Milk thistle: early seeds of potential." The Lancet Oncology 14.10 (2013): 929-930.
6. Bahri, Sana, et al. "Comparison of the protective effect of Salvia officinalis and Rosmarinus officinalis infusions against hepatic damage induced by hypotermic-ischemia in Wistar rats." Nutrition and cancer 72.2 (2020): 283-292.
7. Choi, Ung-Kyu, et al. "Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of dandelion (taraxacum officinale) root and leaf on cholesterol-fed rabbits." International journal of molecular sciences 11.1 (2010): 67-78.
8. Santiago, Jesudoss Victor Antony, et al. "Dietary d-limonene alleviates insulin resistance and oxidative stress-induced liver injury in high-fat diet and L-NAME-treated rats." European Journal of Nutrition 51.1 (2012): 57.
9. Jayawardana, Barana C., et al. "Black and green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) extracts as natural antioxidants in uncured pork sausages." Journal of food processing and preservation 43.2 (2019): e13870.
10. Yamabe, Noriko, et al. "Matcha, a powdered green tea, ameliorates the progression of renal and hepatic damage in type 2 diabetic OLETF rats." Journal of medicinal food 12.4 (2009): 714-721.
11. Smith, Robyn N., et al. "The effect of a low glycemic load diet on acne vulgaris and the fatty acid composition of skin surface triglycerides." Journal of dermatological science 50.1 (2008): 41-52.
12. Kim, Jae‐Hong, et al. "Impaired permeability and antimicrobial barriers in type 2 diabetes skin are linked to increased serum levels of advanced glycation end‐product." Experimental dermatology 27.8 (2018): 815-823.
13. Chikwe, Temple Nwoburuigwe, Rose Etukudo Ekpo, and Ifedi Okoye. "Competitive adsorption of organic solvents using modified and unmodified calcium bentonite clay mineral." Chem. Int 4.4 (2018): 230-239.
14. Mahmoudi, Mansoreh, Mohsen Adib-Hajbaghery, and Mahdi Mashaiekhi. "Comparing the effects of Bentonite & Calendula on the improvement of infantile diaper dermatitis: A randomized controlled trial." 15. The Indian journal of medical research 142.6 (2015): 742
15. Fowler Jr, Joseph F. "A skin moisturizing cream containing Quaternium-18-Bentonite effectively improves chronic hand dermatitis." Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery 5.3 (2001): 201-205.
16. Marks Jr, James G., et al. "Prevention of poison ivy and poison oak allergic contact dermatitis by quaternium-18 bentonite." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 33.2 (1995): 212-216.
17. Genuis, Stephen J., Sanjay Beesoon, and Detlef Birkholz. "Biomonitoring and elimination of perfluorinated compounds and polychlorinated biphenyls through perspiration: blood, urine, and sweat study." International Scholarly Research Notices 2013 (2013)


This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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