It’s all too easy to feel overwhelmed during the holidays.  Stores are packed, traffic is jammed, and people are stressed.  Stress triggers acne.  Sebum, or oil, producing cells have receptors for stress hormones.

As pressure escalates in acne prone individuals, more sebum/oil, is produced, which in turn can lead to clogged pores.  How do you handle the hustle and bustle of the holiday season so stress doesn’t create more breakouts?  Here are 20 tips to help you keep a cool head and a clear face:

1.  Get 7-8 hours of sleep.  

Few things are more relaxing than a good night’s sleep.  You wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.  If you have trouble getting and staying asleep, try sleeping with an eye mask and ear plugs.

2.  Dodge debt.  

True, there are amazing year-end sales happening left and right this time of year.  Who doesn’t love a great bargain or the high you get from snagging a hot new item?  But that initial excitement quickly goes away when that credit card bill comes.  Develop a budget and only pay cash so you can avoid the anxiety that comes from overspending.

3.  Get a massage.

Massages are great at restoring a sense of well-being.  They reduce the stress hormone cortisol and lower heart rate.  Massage also releases feel good chemicals called dopamine and serotonin which help you feel rejuvenated.

4.  Light candles and have a hot bath.

Throughout history, women such as Cleopatra, Elizabeth I of England, and Elisabeth of Bavaria took full advantage of milk baths. Milk was added to baths because of its ability to soften the skin. Milk contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, which dissolves the proteins that hold dead skin cells in place.  Why not unwind like royalty with a milk bath of your own?  Light some candles, pour 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 cup of moisturizing honey under running warm water and enjoy.

5.  Turn off electronics.

Exposure to blue light from the screens of electronic devices inhibits the release of melatonin, causing us to become more awake.  As a result, it can make it hard to fall asleep right away.  Shut off electronics an hour or two before going to bed so your body can start producing more melatonin.

6.  Read a good book.

So you shut off your phone, tablet, and TV – now what? Get lost in a really good page turner.   A good book can inspire you, make you laugh, or teach you something new.  Whatever your taste draws you to, there’s definitely a book out there waiting for you.

7.  Take a walk in nature.

Walking in nature encourages well-being and decreases depression.  Viewing green trees and blue skies is refreshing to the eyes and soothing to the spirit.  Taking in deep breaths of fresh air quickly reduces pinned up tension.

8.  Unwind to soothing music.

Music has the power the reduce stress. Studies show that listening to music reduces depressive symptoms.  In 1697 English playwright and poet, William Congreve summed up music’s influence on emotions when he observed, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”  Tame the tension in your life by adding soothing music to your daily playlist.

9.  Write away hostile feelings.

Writing is a great way to release hurt feelings so healing can begin.  If you’re afraid of someone finding what you’ve written, just destroy it.  The main thing is to let go of negative emotions and experiences.


10.  Meditate for 20 minutes on what you have to be thankful for. 

Fear, regret, and anxiety are destructive emotions that can rob us of peace, joy, and gratitude.  Holding on to the past robs us of our future. Focusing on what we have to be thankful for makes us more appreciative of who and what we have.  Gratitude fosters contentment and a feeling of being fully satisfied.

11.  Work out in the morning.

Exercising is a great way to keep hormonal acne in check by reducing cortisol.  Also, as you work out, brain chemicals get fired up leaving you more upbeat, energized and at ease after exercising.

12.  Tickle your funny bone.

Laughing helps release those feel good endorphins that give you a natural high.  It will also help you relax and keep your mind off of what’s going on with your skin.  Watch a funny movie or read a side splitting book.

13.  Pamper yourself. 

Enjoy an at home spa experience.  Break out the files and sheet masks.  Unwinding with a facial, manicure, or pedicure allows you to look and feel great all without booking an appointment.

14.  Play with your pet.

Massage isn’t just good for you; it also benefits your furry friends.  Giving your pet a good rub down relaxes him and releases feel good endorphins in your body.  You will bond with your pet while reducing anxiety from the day.

15.  Hang out with positive people.

You need good, supportive people around you. If you spend time with complaining, negative people, it will be much harder to be positive yourself.  Bonding with others boosts oxytocin which relieves stress and promotes calmer skin.

16.  Show love – donate clothes to charity.

Love isn’t love until you give it away.  Knowing you’re helping the less fortunate can’t help but put you in a good mood.  Look in your closet and make a stack of any clothes you haven’t worn in a year.  If they’re in good condition, send them to a local thrift store like Goodwill.

17.  Show love – give a meal to a family in need.

An 11-year-old boy was forever changed by a small act of kindness.  It was Thanksgiving and as usual there was no food in the house and his parents were fighting.  Out of the blue someone knocked on the door and there was a man with grocery bags standing on the steps.  That young boy couldn’t believe his eyes. 

He never forgot the kindness and promised that one day he would pay it forward somehow.  That young boy became an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him.  His name is Tony Robbins and he created his own foundation that feeds over 2 million people a year.  Over 38 years he’s fed more than 42 million people. 

It just goes to show how one act of kindness can fuel a flame of service in others.  Help a family in need and feel the joy that comes from changing someone’s life for the better.   It might just move them to help others one day.

18.  Show love – send an anonymous cash card to someone who can’t repay you.

Get sly with your gift giving.  Put some cash in an envelope and slip it in your recipient’s mailbox or even under the door.  Shhh, no one has to know it was you.

19.  Smile. 

It cost nothing to smile and it makes you and the recipient of your pearly whites much happier.  Have you ever noticed the way happy babies light up a room?   The moment they start smiling you see people turn, soften, and smile.  We can’t help ourselves.  Smiling is contagious.  Share the wealth and pass it along.

20.  Drink relaxation teas.

Relaxing with a hot cup of herbal tea can reduce acne causing inflammation.  Try the following to quiet the storm within:

  • Chamomile This is a good tea to drink to help with insomnia because of its deeply relaxing effect.
  • Lemon balm This tea soothes irritability. It is also good for acne sufferers because of its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Valerian root This tea promotes sleep by easing your mind and working as a light sedative. 

Of course you don’t have to do all of the above listed activities.  The important thing is to find one you will stick to.  As with any new practice, you will get the most benefit by doing it regularly. 

Refuse to stress out over another hectic holiday season.  Instead, indulge in some much needed rest and relaxation.  It will give you the energy to live a more vibrant, purposeful life marked by joy, peace, and generosity.

Join the Conversation

My favorite part of doing these posts is getting your feedback. Each week, I ask one question. This week, it is this:

How do you plan on keeping stress levels down so anxiety won’t send acne into overdrive?

The information contained on this site is provided as an information resource only.  It is not to be used or relied upon for any treatment or diagnostic purposes.  This information is not intended to be patient education.  It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.   The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.   This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Please consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition, such as if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a mental condition.  Please read all product packaging carefully and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. Cosmetic products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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“Effects of blue light technology,” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_blue_light_technology

Tony Robbins, “Money Master the Game,” pgs. 26, 73, 2014