If you’re anything like us you’ve probably spent the last month drinking too much alcohol, barely sleeping and counting Terry’s Chocolate Orange as one of your five-a-day.
It’s Christmas and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence, but it can take a bit of a toll on your health – and you might have noticed that your skin isn’t looking it’s normal glowing self.
Not only does our YOLO attitude to diet and rest impact our energy levels and general sluggishness, it can also cause breakouts and dull skin. But don’t worry – you can rescue your skin in time for the new year.
‘Party-season skin is inevitable at this time of year,’ explains Sujata Jolly, medical director at UK bio-tech Clinogen.
‘Whilst we may be relatively healthy and diet-conscious during the year, a combination of late nights and excess food and drink can over stress our bodies over the Christmas and New Year period.
‘Alcohol is the biggest culprit in causing stress to the skin. Red wine is fine in moderation, however over-consumption can cause blood vessels to be over dilated causing them to burst which leads to inflammatory redness.’
Sujita adds that dehydration is another symptom of party season skin, which can lead to skin looking dry and flaky and feeling extra sensitive.
‘Party food is often processed and has high levels of salt,’ she adds. ‘As a result, our bodies will retain water which can cause puffiness around the eyes and a generally bloated appearance.’
Emma Kamara-Sesay is a skin specialist and nutritionist, she says that the stress of this time of year can also have a detrimental impact on your skin.
‘The stress of prepping the perfect festive break can take its toll on the body and it responds to this by releasing stress hormones,’ Emma tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Cortisol is one of the stress hormones produced by the body and it has been shown to increase the production of oil in the skin and reduce hydration levels both of which results in an increased likelihood of breakouts.
‘Poor sleep habits can also negatively affect the skin’s ability to function.
‘Research has shown that those who sleep less have the worst skin health as their skin struggles to renew itself effectively and fight against any intruders that cause breakouts and ageing.’
The good news is that there is actually limited research to suggest that indulgence in Christmas food in general is a definite cause of breakouts – but Emma says you do need to be careful about how much you’re drinking.
‘Alcohol can cause inflammation and dehydration which affects the skin’s ability shed any defunct cells sitting in the pores causing blocking and causing those annoying breakouts.’
Read below for Emma’s tips on how to deal with and prevent Christmas breakouts.
How to manage post-xmas breakouts
Keep it clean
Cleanse the skin appropriately, twice a day to minimise the accumulation of oil and dirt in the pores.
Avoid oil-free products (or anything stripping, the makes the skin feel dry and tight) as they tend to remove much needed moisture from the skin and leave it struggling to fight the breakouts.
Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise
Opting for a lightweight serum or lotion is enough to replenish the moisture level in the skin without clogging the pores.
Leave the extractions to professionals as popping the spot incorrectly could lead to further damage i.e. spread of bacteria leading to more breakouts and scarring from improper extraction.
If you see a head (pus-filled spot) wait for it to go away on its own, cleanse the area and apply a spot treatment.
Apply a salicylic acid or mandelic acid-based spot treatment on the area at least twice a day.
These acids are great for seeping into the pores and getting rid of any excess oil and dirt. Mandelic acid is especially great for a gentler exfoliative effect.
Get some rest
Sleep is important for healing and renewing the body whilst getting rid of things it doesn’t need.
The skin regenerates, repairs, rehydrates and strengthens its immunity to help us fight any source of infection that could result in breakouts.
Always use sunscreen
Spots tend to leave a reminder that they were there in the form of scarring. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 daily will help to reduce the appearance of any scarring.
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