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Christmas, Clearasil, and Holiday Breakouts


Here comes the holiday season, that two month food festival of Thanksgiving and December holidays, when you suddenly justify eating everything. Dishes of Peanut M&M’s appear on every table. Fatty leftovers appear in your fridge. Cocktails appear in your hand. You go to someone’s house and a lardy bacon dip, a carby cake, or even a steak is placed in front of you—and there’s no good way to avoid it because you are hungry. And what kind of person would you be to turn down free food and drink, especially this winter in post-Sandy New York City

I am here to admit I am about to be a bit of a hog. My somewhat careful diet of yogurts and salads and quinoa avocado mush, (often paired with liberal amounts of wine and a “holy crap I am so hungry what can I eat?” gorgefest around 10 p.m.) will now be thrown out the window till January 5th. 

Unfortunately with all this dietary decadence comes another winter of breakouts. If you are an “active skin” person like me, you will eat toxic foods this season (meaning food that is delicious and covered in sugar and/or butter) and probably suffer the consequences. 

You think at this point I would understand how it is that I break out, but still, after all these years, I can’t really nail down exactly when or what it is that turns up the acne. Could it be the rum-soaked grog? Pumpkin pie? My mom’s insanely great Yorkshire Pudding? Too bad, I’m not giving up any of it. 

Interestingly, there is still no conclusive scientific finding that food causes breakouts. A search through the hundreds of sites that come up when googling “Food causes acne” reveals that the food/acne correlation is still a bit of a mystery. There have been many studies that “indicate” certain dietary factors that increase blood sugar (like dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, bagels and chips) may trigger acne, but there is no conclusive proof. If there was a strict scientific law about food causing acne, then my blemish-free friends—like gorgeous Matt who eats McDonald’s twice a week, or porcelain-skinned Jill who I have seen munch through an entire bag of Oil and Vinegar chips—would be more afflicted than me and afraid to leave the house. 

I am sure diet contributes to breakouts—just as much as that other mysterious, vague factor known as “stress” happens to encourage acne as well. So, if that’s the case, then perhaps having fun and eating what you want this season (within reason of course) will lessen your stress levels and therefore your blemish factors will be balanced into a blemish-free equanimity. How’s that for justifying two months of eating and parties? You’re welcome.