The Regimen

Four Reasons Your Skin Is Breaking Out During the Holidays

Selective focus of attractive woman in sunglasses and towels holding champagne glass and looking at mirror

Holidays are the peak of everything—joy, stress, cookies, busyness, and breakouts. Whatever you’re doing, you’re probably doing more of it than usual during the holiday season. Your senses are on overload, and your skin is the first place to show it. If you’ve noticed you tend to break out during the holidays, you’re not alone.

Here’s what’s causing your holiday breakouts and what to do about it. 

1. Sugar

Christmas cookies, trifle, peppermint bark, and the nog—the holidays are a sugarganza. We hate to dampen your sugar rush, but all those sweet treats are boosting your breakouts. Sugar ignites inflammation and artificially elevates sebum-producing hormones. The combination of inflammation and increased sebum is the recipe for breakouts. All that sugar is also aging you. Excess sugar damages collagen by breaking down proteins in a process known as glycation. Broccoli can be festive. 


2. Stress

Between finding the perfect gifts, planning and prepping for guests, and trying to meet all your deadlines, holidays can be stressful, and all that added stress can be the spark to your acne wildfire. Stress increases cortisol, which stimulates androgen hormones responsible for sebum production. It also increases inflammation. Sebum plus inflammation spurs hyperkeratinization, an abnormally rapid shedding of skin cells in the follicle. The excess skin cells mix with sebum to create an impaction and allow acne bacteria to thrive.


3. Sleep

Social obligations, staying up late to watch holiday movies, and stress can mean less shut-eye during the holiday season. Sleep is the body’s repair cycle, regulating everything from cell function to cortisol levels. If you’re not getting good sleep, cortisol levels go up, and the acne production factory (sebum and the proliferation of pore-clogging dead skin cells) goes into overdrive. Try to get your eight hours to allow cells to repair and regenerate and reduce cortisol to keep skin glowing.


4. Negronis

Whatever your drink of choice, holidays tend to put more of them in front of you than usual. You probably already know that alcohol is dehydrating, but it’s also a source of two synergistic acne triggers: inflammation and increased cortisol. Alcohol can also disrupt sleep, disrupting the opportunity for natural repair. And finally, cocktails are often laden with sugar, a trigger for inflammation, glycation, and oxidative stress. Enjoy a little holiday cheer, but keep it in check to avoid adding more fuel to the acne fire.


How to keep clear for the new year

When you’re busy, tired, or stressed, it’s tempting to slack off on routines, but those are the times it’s most important to stick to your regimen to keep breakouts under control.

Keep BP 10% Gel Medication on hand for acne emergencies. Our most potent acne-fighting formula is a highly concentrated, intensive treatment that works deep in the pore to accelerate healing. Use it as a booster in addition to your regular serum. Use it all over your face rather than spot treating, which leaves bacteria to thrive in surrounding areas.

Take time to destress with a clarifying and healing mask. Sulfur Clay Mask is the ultimate detox for acne-prone skin. It combines bentonite clay with natural sulfur to fight bacteria, accelerate cell turnover, and pull impurities from the skin. It also contains healing zinc sulfate and pore-flushing salicylic acid.

Vitamin A serum will accelerate cell turnover and renewal to peel away impactions and strengthen skin structure, bringing a smoother, clearer complexion. If you haven’t used vitamin A therapy before, start with Derm-A-Gel. Then, as skin acclimates, work your way up to Exfol-A Forté, our transformative cocktail of exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids and cell-regenerating Vitamin A Propionate.

For skin that’s a little sensitive or prone to hyperpigmentation, mandelic acid is the perfect balance of muscle and mild. This gentle anti-bacterial exfoliating acid kills acne bacteria to prevent breakouts, decongests pores, and promotes even tone by suppressing melanin production. Find mandelic acid in our cleansers, toners, and serums.

And our number one tip to quickly calm breakouts and speed healing? Ice. Rubbing ice over your skin stimulates cell renewal and healing, reduces redness and inflammation, and increases the absorption of follow-on products to maximize their effectiveness. And it’s virtually free.


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