Holiday stress, the Colorado cold during this season, and a whole lot of celebrating can take a toll on your skin.
Experts on WebMd offer quick fixes and new ways to glow through the season.
The best place to begin, say experts, is with some preventive care, starting as soon as possible: “If you think you’re going to be partying a lot, start ahead of time to make your skin look healthier. Laser treatments can help do that, but so can topical creams, particularly serums containing vitamin C or creams containing retinol,” says David Goldberg, MD, director of the Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of New York and New Jersey and clinical professor of dermatology at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Increasing the moisture level in your skin
“A lot of the skin stress that appears during the holidays, including some dark circles, can be the result of a lack of moisture, particularly if you live in a colder climate and are exposed to indoor heating,” says Sumayah Jamal, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the NYU Medical Center in New York City. Once you begin drinking alcohol, she says, you add to the dryness, and even that extra glass or two of wine could push you over into another skin type.
One way around the problem, she says, is to trade up to a richer, more emollient moisturizer. If you’ve been using a gel product, Jamal suggests switching to a cream or lotion. If you’ve been using a cream or lotion, switch to a richer version; try using a night cream during the day, for example. Or try a rich skin balm rather than a cream.
“Balms are products designed to offer optimum moisture, and they are excellent for buffering the skin against extreme dryness,” Jamal tells WebMD.
Acne treatment for breakouts
For many women, the biggest holiday skin problem is not dryness but breakouts, even if they don’t normally suffer from acne. The reason, says Goldberg, is that stress causes women to produce more of that traditionally male hormone testosterone, and it’s those surges that give us the holiday zits.
“If you are prone to acne it could happen more frequently, but even if you have great skin, holiday stress — or any stress — can cause your skin to break out,” says Goldberg.
His solution: Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatments, placed directly on the pimple.
If, despite your best efforts, a breakout occurs anyway, makeup artist Holly Mordini suggests hitting the pimple with a few drops of Visine to constrict blood vessels (yes, the stuff that “gets the red out” of burning eyes will also get the red out of your blemish), then pat lightly with a concealer matched to your skin tone.
“Press the concealer into the blemish and feather around it. Add a bit of powder on cotton ball and press it on as well, because it’s that layering process that works best to hide a blemish,” says Mordini, vice president of global artistry for the Los Angeles-based Smashbox Cosmetics. Using a “heavy blob of concealer” will make your blemish look more obvious, as will choosing a shade too light.
Curing a ‘Skin Hangover’
Though preventive measures can help, the inevitable “skin hangover” is still bound to occur. More alcohol, combined with richer, usually saltier foods, plus a lot less sleep, can come together to give you a bloated, puffy look, particularly the day after a night of holiday cheer. But experts say you can still face that 9 a.m. staff meeting looking bright eyed and bushy tailed if you simply “play it cool.”
“When it comes to puffiness, particularly puffy eyes, cold is the answer to it all, and there is no better treatment than cold packs,” says legendary skin care expert and make-up artist Adrien Arpel. The best part, she says, is that you only need 5 to 7 minutes to see results!
In fact, Arpel, who now heads the Signature Club A line for the Home Shopping Network, so believes in the power of cold packs that she designed her own gel-based cooling face mask specifically contoured to the eye area, where puffiness can be significant for many women.
If you can’t get your hands on her gel mask in time, Arpel says buy a pair of gel-filled infant teething rings at the drugstore, chill them for about 30 minutes, and place one on each eye for five minutes to reduce the swelling.
“If you do it in a relaxing atmosphere like a hot bath, it somehow seems to work even better,” says Arpel.
Another way around the bloat, she says, is to spend the night after the party sleeping with your head elevated. “The higher the better if you want to wake up less puffy,” says Arpel.
Jamal agrees. “Alcohol dilates your blood vessels, and that is what allows the fluid to leave the vessels and enter the tissues, which in turn is what causes the puffiness.” So, she says, sleeping with your head elevated can help the fluids to drain from your puffy cheeks and eyes.
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