The party season is in full swing. It's starting to feel like Christmas, the weather is warming up, people are coming out of their winter hibernation and the champagne has started flowing.
If, like me, you tend to overindulge a little bit over the festive season – be it with later nights, an extra glass of wine or those Christmas treats that seem to appear in the staff room at work – then you may notice your body (and your skin) doesn’t always thank you in the months following.
It's important to remember that those little over indulgences, later nights out on the town and increased sun exposure can wreak havoc with your skin; causing breakouts, formation of wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes and a dull and lacklustre complexion.
I don’t want to sound like the Grinch, I love my champers and Christmas pudding like the rest of us, however I though it would be a nice idea to bring to your attention (a gentle reminder) that these seemingly harmless activities can cause multiple problems to our skin, health and wellbeing. In this post I will focus just on the skin but if you would like to learn more about the effects on the body/our waistlines just let me know.
Time to do some damage control. So where do I start?
Ahhh the love of champagne, cocktails, wine and eggnog (maybe not). Unfortunately alcohol is one of the worst things you can consume in regards to your skin. I am sure many of you (myself included) have woken up the morning after a big night out with a new friend on your face and a dry and dull complexion for the days following. Alcohol causes dehydration, and dehydration affects the skin by causing a reduction in the ground substance and supportive structures. This results in poor skin tone and integrity, and a dry and sallow appearance. As alcohol is a diuretic and slows down gut motility, affects liver function and digestion we see the effects in dehydration, headaches, poor sleep, bloating, poor digestion to name a few.
So how do we combat this and still enjoy a glass of wine during party season?
Make sure you drink a large glass of water before you leave the house (having a stomach full of water will help make you feel more full too) and abide by the old rule of drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic drink. Once you're home drink at least 1L of water before you go to sleep, adding in an electrolyte supplement or Berocca to help replenish and rehydrate (and help prevent a hangover).
In regards to your skin care the addition of a hydrating serum is essential.
I would start using a hydrating serum (such as Ultraceuticals B2 complex) . This is my go to product to help restore moisture balance and provide hydration. It’s oil free, feels smooth and silky on the skin and can be used morning and night. It contains provitamin B5 (Panthenol) and Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) and high levels of hyaluronic acid which work as humectants in the skin (that is they attract and retain water). In addition to a hydrating serum a good emollient or moisturiser is essential. If required, a rehydration mask containing similar active ingredients can help to relieve dry, distressed and dehydrated skin and help kickstart your skins recovery.
But like I have said before, prevention is better than cure so start sipping that H2O and monitor your intake of alcohol this festive season.
Sugar is my nemesis. It is also my skin's nemesis and it can rear it’s ugly head during Christmas parties and in those delicious cocktails on a Friday night. I won’t discuss the health problems associated with sugar however it’s affect on our livers and metabolism result in increased inflammation manifesting as congestion and acne.
Many people relax their eating habits this time of year then go on to have a new years ‘detox’ and make new years resolutions that fail after a few weeks. Why not keep a bit of balance during the holiday season to avoid the post Christmas slump.
Every thing in moderation. Simple. Easy. Effective
Eat a wide variety of lean protein, fruit, vegetables, good fats such as avocados and nuts, and cut out processed foods, whist allowing a little treat here and there. It really isn’t rocket science. Your skin and your waistline will thank you for it.
A few tips in regards to diet and excess sugar consumption:
- Eat a light meal before you go out – include a lean protein such as chicken, salmon and lots of light salad greens so you don’t get bloated. This will keep you full and stop you grazing at all of the sugar laden treats on offer.
- Have some cinnamon before you go out or go to bed. A teaspoon will help balance your blood sugar a little bit and fight inflammation.
- Exercise. Keep up your regular exercise regime. Move every day and try and incorporate exercise into some of your social engagements.
- Use antioxidants in your skin care regime to help decrease inflammation in your skin from the dietary changes that accompany the party season. A high dose vitamin C serum works to promote collagen synthesis, provide environmental protection and smoothes and firms the skin. Add this to your usual routine and you will see the changes at the end of summer.
I don’t really need to elaborate here. 7-8 hours is ideal. This is when our body (and skin) rejuvenates and repairs for the day ahead. Too much sugar, alcohol and irregular bed times can all result in poor quality sleep. Try and maintain a regular bed time and waking time, sip on a herbal tea before bed and SWITCH OFF the iphone.
And don’t forget to wash of the makeup before sleep. Use a micellar water followed by a gentle cleanser. A good overnight mask does wonders too but can be easily forgotten in a tipsy haze at 1am.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times before (and often sound like a broken record to my patients) the sun exposure in Australia is a direct contributor to our aging skin and the primary cause of wrinkles, pigmentation changes and of course skin cancer.
STAY OUT OF THE SUN!!!!!!
Daily SPF 30+ non negotiable. I can’t stress this enough. In fact I might write my next blog post about sun protection and skin cancer.
I hope this was helpful and practical for the upcoming party season. Party proof your skin this year and I promise you will see the changes come 2016.
Dr Kate x