7 Easy Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress & Avoid Acne Flare-ups

7 Easy Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress & Avoid Acne Flare-ups

Stress is a horrible feeling no matter what time of year it is, but it's especially horrible around the holidays, when it tends to creep up on us and keep us from getting the most out of family time.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that stress is more than just a feeling. No matter what kind of stress you're experiencing, your body will respond in the same way: Adrenaline, the number one stress hormone, speeds up the heartbeat, breathing and metabolic rate to give you a necessary rush of extra energy. Adrenaline is produced and stored in our two adrenal glands, which are situated on top of the kidneys. With long-term stress, these glands will deplete.

Too much stress on our systems releases excess stress-related hormones, enzymes and other chemicals that leave us anxious and tense--and also with overstimulated sebaceous glands, which leads to more acne.

So how can we avoid and defeat stress so that our acne doesn't flare up?

1. Get more sleep.

You've probably heard this a million times, but that's because it's true. Sleep may not be a cure-all, but it certainly helps when it comes to stress. Research indicates that the risk of psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep you lose a night. Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which can over-stimulate sebaceous glands, meaning lack of sleep may exacerbate your acne. To improve your complexion, do everything you can to get enough sleep. 


2. Fit in moments of relaxation

We know you're busy, and even more so because of the holidays, so if you can't make it to a regular class for Yoga, Pilates or Qigong, there are some great videos online, even free ones. And if you still think you can't fit it into your schedule, try waking up just a little earlier to start your day off right. We love this  quickie meditation video for total body relaxation. It takes less than 21 minutes and will leave you feeling great.

3. Eat your vitamins

Vitamin B6 helps your skin by reducing the amount of homocysteines in your blood. High homocysteines levels trigger a stress response, which can cause both acne breakouts and hives. You can find Vitamin B6 in meats, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Folate has the same stress reducing function as vitamin B6. Increase your intake of folate with dark leafy vegetables like kale, mustard greens, and broccoli, as well as beans, legumes and citrus fruits.

4. Try herbal relaxants

If stress is balanced with relaxation, then its negative effects may be diminished and a balance can be achieved. Chamomile, skullcap, vervain, wild oats, St John's Wort, limeflowers and lavender are often used for stress reduction. These helpful herbs can be taken as tinctures, pills, infusions or decoctions. When taken regularly, they can help to support the nervous system and keep a stressful lifestyle under control. And if you find yourself stressed despite your best efforts, calm down with this recipe:

Herbal Infusion for Stress


  • 1 tablespoon dried lime flowers
  • 1 tablespoon dried chamomile
  • 1 tablespoon dried vervain


Add the dried herbs to 2 cups of boiling water in a warmed pot with a lid. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes, and then strain. Drink warm throughout the day.

5. Remember to breathe 

Sometimes, all you need to do is breathe. If you feel yourself getting stressed, close your eyes and take at least ten deep breaths, making sure to fill your lungs.

If you tend to breathe shallowly much of the time, or if you're not even sure how you breathe, try lying down and placing one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in deep through your nose, for 6 seconds or so, so that you feel your stomach rise up, but not your chest. You want your chest to stay level. This way, you'll know you're filling your lungs completely. Hold the breath for another few seconds, then breathe out through your mouth until your lungs are emptied. Repeat ten times and see how you feel. Better? We hope so.

6. Walk away and do something different

We don't always have the luxury of walking away from the situations or tasks that are stressing us out. But, if you do, try it. Walk away and do something else for a few minutes.We recommend doing something that isn't even on your to-do list, for example, listening to a relaxing song, writing a poem or coloring a picture. Yes, coloring books are for kids. But that's the point! Do something you don't have to do, something you can do for the sole purpose of calming down and remembering how to enjoy life-even when it's stressful.

7. Make life easier for yourself

Many of our customers have told us the various things they do that help remind them to take their AcnEase. The one that seems to be the most popular is to set 4 reminders on your cell phone each day. Three alarms are to remind you to take your medicine, and the 4th alarm is to remind you to take the bottle with you before you leave the house so that you can take it that day! It is so important to have no lapse in treatment and to not miss a dose, so this little trick should help.  

With a Promise of Clear Skin,
Dr. A

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