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Festive Foods & Flaky Skin

By Taya Hosking - 01/12/22

Triggers to avoid this festive season to keep skin flare ups to a minimum

The festive season brings with it the four f words… fun, family, friends and FOOD.
Everyone can relate to the feeling after Christmas Day lunch, when you’ve indulged on a few too many sweets, consumed one more cocktail than you should have, and loaded up on Aunty May’s potato bake.
Although it may seem like festive fun, for those that suffer with skin conditions, it can actually be the trigger that begins a flare up.

What are common food triggers?

Everyone is individual so what may trigger one person, may not be an issue for another. As well as this, different skin conditions may be triggered by different foods. Here are some of the most common triggers for:

- Peanuts
- Eggs
- Gluten
- Cow’s milk (dairy)

- Red meat (bacon, sausages, processed meat)
- Dairy products
- Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers)

- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits
- Dairy products

Why are these foods’ triggers?

The most common reason that a food is a trigger for a skin condition is because it causes inflammation. However there can be other reasons that a particular food may aggravate your skin condition. 

Citrus fruits - citrus fruits release histamines (chemicals produced by immune system), which can aggravate conditions such as rosacea by causing dilation of the tiny blood vessels under the skin.

Red meat - consuming high amounts of red meat can increase inflammation within the body, which can result in a flare up of psoriasis/eczema as these are conditions linked to inflammation.

Dairy products - the main fat compound found in milk is saturated fat, which may lead to inflammation in the body.

Eggs - eggs are known to be one of the main allergies for those that suffer with eczema, due to the proteins in them. Many that are allergic to chicken eggs, may be able to consume eggs from other animals.

Nightshades - these contain a chemical compound called alkaloids which can cause inflammation.

Let’s Talk Alcohol

Alcohol is a hot topic during the Christmas season. There’s work parties, family dinners, extra nights out, and simply more alcohol being consumed for the average person. What can this mean if you suffer from a skin condition though? Well, for those that suffer from rosacea, it may irritate your symptoms more than usual.
This is due to a compound in alcohol called acetaldehyde, which causes flushing of the skin, presumably by releasing histamines.
This flushing may be referred to as ‘asian flush’ however for rosacea sufferers, it just exacerbates their current condition.
For eczema sufferers, it can lead to a lack of moisture in the skin, as alcohol is a diuretic.
This can cause the body to become dehydrated, causing dry skin which can result in a flare up.On the other hand, alcohol can cause an inflammatory response in the body due to proteins in it, as well as the fact that it can interfere with the body’s gut microbiome. 

Aside from food and alcohol at Christmas, there’s also the possibility that you’ll be visiting a relative's house and possibly spending the night.
To avoid later irritation, come prepared with your body wash and lotions so that your skin doesn’t have to take a break from its routine.
This will help you to avoid getting stuck with some ‘cheap & chemical’ induced body wash that your mother in law ‘adores the smell of’. 

This is of course a general overview of some common triggers for eczema flare ups, and by no means should you avoid them altogether.
It is the season of festivity, so rather than go ‘cold turkey’ (pun intended), it is recommended to be mindful of the amounts of potential flare foods and alcohol that you are consuming, to avoid a painful New Years.

And if you are going to indulge, ensure that you’re prepared with your Grahams Natural Skincare to help you through a flare if it does occur!

Even if you don't suffer with a skin condition, we still recommend Mega Oil for general health after the silly season!

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