Pinch, punch first of the month! As it’s officially the festive season and time to start enjoying some quality time with friends and family, I’m sharing my top tips on how to reduce alcohol related acne breakouts and letting you in on some simple tricks to help keep skin clear whilst still enjoy a drink, or two!
I’ve spent too many Christmases sacrificing fun in order to stick to my strict, regimented, acne-friendly diet. One Christmas my diet was, without any compromise, dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, alcohol-free, refined sugar-free, natural sugar-free and even fruit-free! My mum is one of the most creative, talented home cooks I know and she put on an incredible feast at Christmas, but despite all her hard work, I still felt miserable and hard-done-by.
Looking back, my attitude towards food was so unhealthy, the only food I genuinely am allergic to is gluten – so there wasn’t really any real reason for me to be so restrictive – except for my fear of food and what it *may* do to my skin.
After 1 ½ years of seriously restricted dieting, my acne seemed to be getting worse. Why? The social isolation and dietary limitations I was enforcing on my body were just causing me stress, anxiety and ultimately, these two factors created the perfect storm for deeper hormone imbalances.
Nowadays, I have a much healthier attitude to food and what’s more, I feel happier and healthier and my skin is much clearer that when I was striving for a ‘perfect’ diet. That’s why, I want you to enjoy all the delicious food and drink that’s on offer this Christmas. Obviously going crazy on sugar, alcohol and baked/fried treats to going to negatively impact your skin to some extent, but you also need to factor in the damaging effects, such as stress, anxiety and social isolation, that a restricted diet can cause.
For me, it’s a matter of understanding my limits and finding that sweet spot, and learning some handy tricks along the way, that mean I can enjoy myself, while not going too crazy and regretting it the next day when a monster (or two) appear on my forehead! Let’s face it, alcohol is a big part of the holiday season and even though I’m not into getting totally hammered every weekend, I do enjoy an occasional drink to help me unwind and relax.
HOW TO REDUCE ALCOHOL RELATED ACNE BREAKOUTS
Here are my top tips on how to reduce alcohol related acne breakouts:
SIP IT SLOW
If your end goal for the night isn’t to get totally smashed, then this is a great tip to keep you in control of your alcohol consumption. No matter what you choose to drink, sip it s-l-o-w-l-y and mindfully – this means your drinks will last twice as long and your skin will thank you for your responsible behaviour the next day.
GET SOME ZZZ
After a night of partying, your body will be in desperate need of some shut eye to help regenerate and recover, so shut the blinds, pop in some ear plugs and do whatever it takes to get the best night’s sleep possible – it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing!
HYDRATE WHILE YOU PARTY
This is the party trick that all my friends know me for, EVERY TIME I order a drink, I also ask the barman for a pint of water which I’ll chug down in one go while he serves up my glass of wine and puts my payment through. Staying hydrated is essential for helping your body rid yourself of the toxic strain alcohol puts on your body. Plus, it means that if my next tip fails, my hangover won’t be nearly half as bad.
CAP IT OR GO HOME
I *try* to cap my alcohol consumption to 2 drinks in an evening. Now, we’re all human and it’s only natural that we’re going to go a little wild once in and while and the ‘two drink rule’ goes straight out the window (and down the street and into the nearest club!) However, it’s important to remember that binge drinking doesn’t just leave you with a stonking hangover and an acne breakout the next day, it can also dramatically amp up chronic inflammation, which can lead to more persistent acne.
ANTIOXIDANTS FOR THE WIN
Antioxidants are abundant in fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and other plant based whole foods and are essential when it comes to reducing inflammation and helping your body eliminate toxins. Unfortunately, drinking a smoothie the day after a heavy night out probably won’t be enough to restore your antioxidant depleted body. After drinking alcohol, your body will be deprived of the king of acne-clearing antioxidants glutathione so it’s vital that you help boost your glutathione levels with an extra dose of vitamin C, zinc, methylated B vitamins, magnesium and selenium (3 Brazil nuts a day).
If you’re looking to clear your acne naturally then these acne fighting nutrients should be in your supplement arsenal anyway, so I just squeeze in an extra dose of these glutathione boosting supplements the day before and after any excessive alcohol consumption ensues.
N.B. This tip is for that rare occasion you go ‘out out’! Don’t let double dosing on vitamins and minerals trick you into thinking that you can cheat the effects of excessive alcohol consumption on a regular basis, because you can’t.
YOU’RE SWEET ENOUGH
This is a big one, even though those cosmopolitans, mojitos and daiquiris look like great fun, they are packed full of sugar (up to 40g!) so can really wreak havoc on your skin. Opt for low sugar alcoholic drinks such as ‘dry’ wine, Champagne, Prosecco, tequila, gin, vodka, whisky. Always make sure you skip the mixers and opt for soda water and freshly squeezed citrus instead as mixer can contain up to 30g of sugar! You’d also be wrong in thinking that opting for something like a cranberry juice and vodka was a healthier option for your skin but you’d be wrong, 250ml of cranberry juice contains 7.5 teaspoons of sugar and is actually worse than cola by about ½ a teaspoon!
Don’t be afraid to ask the barman for a few extra wedges of lime with your tequila soda water!
I’m always very conscious of keeping my blood sugar levels balanced so I always try to make sure I’ve eat a proper meal before going out, or at least prepare some snacks and an emergency vegan protein shake on hand if I’m going out straight after work. Being full and satisfied will not only keep your blood sugar levels stable, but it will also prevent you from overindulging in too many canapés and caving in to a kebab and chips on the way home…
Sometimes an alcohol related acne breakout is going to be inevitable, but by following these tips and tricks you can give your skin the best chance of staying clear throughout the festive season without missing out on any of the fun!
Do you swear by any of these tips to beat the dreaded alcohol related acne breakout? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin