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Posted by on Nov 29, 2011 in Tips | 0 comments

Common Holiday Food and Drinks that May be Bad for Your Skin

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It’s that time of year again – the season when warmeggnog, gingerbread cookies, turkey and holiday-themed libations beckon youwith their familiar aromas. And with the increase in holiday cheer comes the onslaught of holiday treats. Many consider the weight-gain that can accompanythem into the New Year – but does one ever consider the effect such indulgences may have on the skin? University-affiliated Dermatologists Dr. Paul Friedman, M.D. and Dr. Susan Stuart, M.D. provide insight on which foods to be aware of this holiday season – even if they are a loved one’s specialty.

Sugar/Sweets: Gingerbread Cookies, Custard Cream Pie, Candy Canes

Yes, these treats may look harmless – maybe even like they’ll be your best friend – but treats high in sugar can be skin’s worst enemy. Dr. Stuart warns against their inviting exterior, “Sugar speeds up the process of collagen and elastin breakdown, causingthe tissues to become weak or inflexible. This is the quickest way to develo pwrinkles.” Additionally, harmful bacteria love sugar just as much as we do, and will convert it into toxic waste, which will be stored in our body. Who knew the Gingerbread Man was actually a frenemy?

Animal Protein/Processed Meats: Turkey, Ham, Deli Meat Tray

In many households, holiday meals are centered around a cooked turkey or ham, and some holiday parties serve deli meat as the centerpiece.Dr. Friedman explains why it is sometimes best to leave these items untouched, “Animal protein is acidic and creates an environment suitable for harmful, acne-causing bacteria. As the acidic environment overtakes the body’s alkaline properties, the body is thrown out of balance –harmful bacteria’s ideal stomping ground.” And don’t forget that processed sandwich meats, though convenient during the busy holiday season, are high in sodium and cause tissues to swell, deflating the skin of its elasticity.

Alcohol: Spiked Cider, Hot Toddy, Seasonal Beer

As the chill in the air invokes images of sipping warm spiked cider beside the fireplace with friends and loved ones, specialty holiday cocktails aren’t the healthiest way to ring in the season. And the day-old hangover you feel after imbibing doesn’t just wreck havoc on your mentality.“Alcohol dehydrates the skin, stripping it of its plump, firm appearance.The holiday skin hangover is the perfect recipe to promote the growth of bad collagen and scar tissue,” notes Dr. Friedman. This holiday season, how about raising a glass to youthful, glowing skin?

Caffeine: Hot Chocolate, Hot Tea, Coffee

Similar to the feeling those holiday-centric alcoholic beverages evoke, hot chocolate is the sister drink of holiday nostalgia. And coffee can feel like one’s best defense against a hectic agenda and crowds. Unfortunately, these holiday staples are actually causing harm. Dr. Stuartexplains, “Skin needs fluids in order to replenish cells and maintain healthy cell growth. Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes dehydration and robs skin of moisture.” Dr. Friedman adds, “Caffeine also disrupts sleep patterns, triggers stress hormones, and causes spots and oily skin.” Maybe not the sort of holiday cheer ‘fix’ one may be looking for.

Dairy: Eggnog, Cheese, Warm Milk

The most popular holiday drink, eggnog, might have to take its seat on the “Naughty” list this year. The amount of whole milk and heavy cream that the recipe calls for will make any skin-health-conscious partygoer opt for something “Nice.” Dr. Stuart breaks it down, “Dairy, like milk and cheese, contains naturally occurring growth hormones. These hormones are added to the individual’s own level of hormones that are already found in the body, resulting in a hormonal increase that is directly associated with oily skin and acne.” Sad to say, but if you want to maintain the pH balance of your skin, maybe this year the holiday cheese plate should be skimmed over too?

Remember, the holidays are a time to enjoy family and friends and decadent meals. Use these tips as an arsenal against excessive indulgence– enjoy wisely.


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