Tis’ the season for shopping, cooking, cleaning, and celebrating. It’s the holidays, complete with food and drinks and too much to do on too little sleep. Then top it off by taking place during a sometimes harsh, wintry weather season. So of course just when you want to look glowing and terrific, your skin gets the holiday blues.
From dark circles under the eyes to a dull, dry complexion to bloated, puffy, swollen eyes and zits when you least expect it, seasonal skin problems can abound. The good news: Not only are there things you can do right now to ensure your angelic “glow” during this season, but there are also some cosmetic tricks and tips to keep your holiday glow going clear into the New Year.
The best place to begin 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.
The better shape your skin is in as the holiday season starts, the better you will look throughout the season.
What can also help: Increasing the moisture level in your skin, also starting as early in the season as possible. 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. Once you begin drinking alcohol (or too much caffeine), you add to the dehydration and even that extra glass or two of wine could alter the state of your once- healthy skin
One way around the problem is to trade up to a richer, more emollient moisturizer, beginning right at the start of the holiday season. If you’ve been using a gel product, switching to a cream or lotion may suffice. 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.
For many women, the biggest holiday skin problem is not dryness but breakouts, even if they don’t normally suffer from acne. The reason is that stress causes women to produce more cortisol, 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. You may be able to stop those holiday breakouts before they start if you exfoliate your skin regularly and use an alcohol-free toner to keep pores open.
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. I suggest keeping your eye cream in the fridge and applying around the orbital bone. Colhy gel, from Clayton Shagal is excellent applied cold to the entire eye area including the lid. A cool compress can be applied for 5-7 minutes as well to decrease puffiness. Sleeping with the head elevated helps to drain toxins from the eye area as well. 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.
At Toronto Dermatology Centre (TDC) we can provide cures for the harsh stress skin can go through at any time of the year. At this time of the year, you want to look your best. Come in to TDC to find out which options are best for you. And have a happy holiday looking your best on the outside.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre