Holiday skincare tips for healthy skin

Ah, the holiday season, a.k.a. the time of the year that takes the biggest toll on our skin. Festive foods that are high in sugar and carbs, alcohol, lack of sleep, and added stress – all that makes your skin start freaking out. If holiday breakouts are an annual thing together with the first snow, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we’ve put together a little guide to help you take this tradition off your calendar this year.

First thing first, if you haven’t already, switch to a low pH, ultra-gentle cleanser. Dry air, heating, and winter winds weaken your skin barrier, and you don’t want to finish it off with a harsh face wash that strips last bits of oils off your skin. In the morning, consider washing your face with water only to minimize the damage even further.

On a similar note – stop with scolding hot showers. Yes, when outside temperatures take a dip to the sub-zero area, a hot steamy shower or bath feels very nice. But it can severely dry out your skin and also bring unwanted rosacea or eczema flare.

Do detox wash off masks regularly. If you’ve been saving a jar (or a pack) of the mask that promises to fight off dull, lackluster skin, now it’s the time to bring it back to your routine. Creamy non-drying clay masks are the best because they help to clear your skin without sensitizing or irritating.

MOTHER MADE 2 step Honey Citrus Facials

Double on a moisturizer. ‘Tis the season to finally bring out your heavy-duty moisturizers and oils. Don’t neglect your body, too. Even if you’re not big on body lotions, try to incorporate them into your body care routine at least several times a week. Pay attention to elbows and knees as the skin on that areas tend to dry out the most.

Eat as healthy as possible. That doesn’t mean saying no to all of the festive foods. Instead, but be strategic and smart. For example, if you know you’ll be having a big dinner at night where you’ll definitely overindulge, have a light salad or green smoothie for lunch. It’s all about balance!  The same goes for alcohol. It’s okay to have a couple of drinks, but drinking every night is probably not a good idea. If your social calendar is packed with parties that you have to attend, consider sipping a club soda instead of a cocktail whenever you can.

Take your makeup off. Yes, even when you’ve had one too many and feel like passing out. For the days like this, stock up on makeup removing wipes or consider getting yourself a cleanser that can remove makeup and clean the skin in one go.

Finally, stay as consistent as possible. One of the biggest reasons why our skin starts to misbehave during holidays is because our familiar routines come crumbling down. At the very least, stay consistent with your skincare and exercise regimen. Feel free to do some minor tweaks to be able to maintain it throughout a busy month of December. For example, if you typically enjoy a 10 -step skincare routine, consider pairing it down to the basics for a while. That way, even when you’re dead tired, you will have no excuses not to do it. The same logic applies to exercise. If you can’t fit a gym session in your schedule, try simple 10-15 min workouts at home instead. It will keep you moving and help not to fall off the habit of daily physical activity, so it’s easier to go back on track once the New Year celebrations are officially over.

And that’s it! Hope you found at least some of these tips helpful.

Have a wonderful, stress-free December,

With love,

MOTHER MADE team xxx

How stress affects your skin and what can you do about it.

Spoiler alert: it takes more than learning a couple of breathing techniques.

If you’re a living and breathing human, you’ve most likely had those weeks, months even when life turns upside down. Your job responsibilities are spiraling out of control, personal life becomes a complete mess, and on top of that, upstairs neighbors flooded your bedroom. You’re always on your toes, stressed out, tired, can’t sleep, can’t eat. And your skin starts to ACT UP. Flares of eczema, severe dryness and, of course, new pimples popping up daily.

You might think it’s all in your head – as long as you do your best to manage stress, all your skin troubles will disappear without a trace. But in reality, it takes more than learning a few deep-breathing techniques to clear your bout of stress acne or eczema flare. So, what does it take? Read along to find out.

First, you need to understand what exactly happens to your skin when you feel stressed.

  1. Stress triggers an inflammatory response. One of the main reasons why your skin flares up are because of an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals. Under normal circumstances, these chemicals are good for you. It’s a natural way to protect your body’s health and fight unwanted viruses that enter the system. But since stress isn’t the flu and there’re no actual viruses to go to a battle with, the inflammation causes your skin to misbehave. If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body. Inflammation can also mess with your immune system, making you more prone to infections. On top of that, in some cases, you’re also running the risk of developing an autoimmune disease. Your body starts to attack and damage its own healthy tissue resulting in such conditions as alopecia (hair loss), psoriasis or vitiligo.
  2. Stress sends sebaceous glands into overdrive and contributes to premature skin aging. Stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol, which causes your skin to produce more oil. Excess oil leads to pore clogging, creating the perfect environment for acne bacteria to grow. Hello, unwanted acne! But not only that, cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and fat storage while lowing growth hormone. It ain’t called the “aging hormone” for nothing. Stress triggers an inflammatory response.
  3. Stress dries out your skin. Stress damages your protective barrier by destroying hyaluronic acid in your body and makes you more susceptible to dryness. You might have also noticed that whenever you feel stressed, you’ll sweat more than usual, which also contributes to skin dehydration.

If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body.

So, then, what can you do?

Don’t get us wrong; learning how to deal with the stress when you’re feeling all the feels is something we definitely recommend doing. It won’t clear up your acne, or calm down inflamed skin right away. But it will help to feel less stressed, which in turn might have a positive effect on your skin.

At the same time, don’t rely on meditation alone. Yes, skincare is probably not what you want to engage with right now actively. But developing a clear, thought-out regimen is crucial to help your skin to become healthy again. Take a step back, look at your medicine cabinet/vanity, and re-think your skincare routine. You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

Here are a couple of ground rules to follow when building your “stressed-skin-approved” skincare routine.

  • Choose the most gentle and non-irritating cleanser you own. One thing you don’t want to do is to dry out or sensitize your skin even further. But don’t eliminate a face wash from your routine completely, especially if your skin oils are going out of control. You need to keep those pores clean to prevent them from clogging again and again.
  • Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract. And while there are plenty of great gentle peels on the market, your skin is not in the position to handle them just yet.
  • A good moisturizer is your friend. Use a toner if you must, but skip serums and ampules. We’re trying to put as little on our skin as possible to minimize the risk another eczema flare. A nice moisturizer – preferably low pH with ceramides and hyaluronic acid – is all you need to restore your compromised skin barrier.

Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract.

Finally, if you’ve run into a wall and feel like nothing is working, it’s always best to consult a professional. Book an appointment with your dermatologist and see if you might benefit from several therapy sessions to get you through the rough patch. There are plenty of online mental health services that you can use from the comfort of your own home.