Holiday Skincare

The holidays can wreak havoc on your skin – here’s how to fight back

The holiday lights and parties make this a merry time of year, but all the diet-busting dishes, to-do lists, and socializing can wreak havoc on your complexion.

December’s whirlwind of holiday soirees, workplace carry-ins, and happy hours with friends translates into added alcohol, sweets, and stress. All that indulging, coupled with dark days, late nights, and poor sleep, can trigger acne outbreaks, dry skin, dark circles, and other skin issues.

Try these tips to keep your skin looking fresh and clear and avoid looking worn-down this holiday season:

Overbooked schedule and stress

Between late nights, family gatherings, traveling, and never-ending to-do lists, the holidays are a stressful time. If you struggle with seasonal affective disorder, grief, or social anxiety, keeping up with a harried pace and social commitments can feel overwhelming. Similar to alcohol, stress can age you and magnify dryness and wrinkles, or trigger you to gorge on greasy foods. Acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, and other chronic skin conditions can all get worse due to stress.

Healthy tip: Practice self-care!! Whatever that means for you will help you manage your busy schedule. We all know that when you look good, you feel more confident. Treat yourself to a facial or skin treatment and remember to get plenty of sleep.

Holiday food frenzy

Fancifully decorated sugar cookies, holiday rum balls, yule logs, and cheesecake make it hard to step away from the dessert table. Many people forget that food intolerances often manifest as skin issues. Eggs, milk, wheat, soy, nuts, and gluten are common food allergens, and too much milk and cheese can cause acne. Other culprits are highly processed foods and meats, desserts high in refined sugar, chips, and crackers, and dishes loaded with carbs.

Eating too much of these foods can cause inflammation, puffiness, and skin rashes. High glycemic foods spike blood sugar and trigger a hormonal cascade, including the over-production of oil glands. Excessive sugar can lead to sagging skin and wrinkling over time. Another challenge is knowing how dishes are made or if they have seemingly innocent ingredients such as cinnamon or cayenne pepper.

Healthy tip: If you have a known food intolerance, avoid inflammatory foods. Better yet, take your own dish to a party so you know there is at least one thing you can eat. Moderation is key. It’s fine to enjoy a slice of your grandma’s pumpkin pie or a glass of wine with dinner. Stick to your regular eating habits in between the parties, and opt for the veggie tray, healthy protein, and fiber-rich foods when possible.,

Consider a gentle chemical peel or Dermalinfusion early December to strip away the dull top layer of skin. By keeping surface skin exfoliated, you increase cell turnover and proudly present with the healthy skin glow. Anti-oxidants, like Vitamin C serum, help skin cells repair damage from exposure to the environment, enhancing the texture of the skin. And don’t slack off on Sunscreen!!

Too many drinks

Whether you want to take the edge off a family get-together or ring in the New Year, alcohol tends to accompany holiday gatherings. Your version of holiday cheer may involve craft beer, a specialty cocktail, or champagne, but indulging in too much alcohol takes a noticeable toll on the skin. Also, many recipes have hidden alcohol, including meats cooked in wine, no-bake desserts, and flambé.

Alcohol dehydrates the body, the skin, and dilates blood vessels. Other side effects include chronic inflammation, facial redness, premature wrinkles, spider veins, bloating, and a generally dull appearance. Alcohol also aggravates psoriasis and rosacea and other chronic skin conditions.   

Healthy tip: Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water in between the eggnog, Irish coffee, mulled wine, and hot toddies. Water helps maintain intracellular water levels in the skin and flush out toxins. Rotating a cocktail with a glass of water helps regulate your drinking and reduce hangover symptoms. Use skincare products and eye serums that help hydrate the skin and have anti-aging properties. Try to drink in moderation and opt for red wine over hard liquor since wine at least has antioxidants that help fight aging and has other health benefits.

Lack of sleep

The darker days leading up to the winter solstice can disrupt serotonin levels and your circadian rhythm, which helps regulate sleep, mood, and food cravings. In addition, holiday preparations, travel, and alcohol can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so it is important to get 7-8 hours per night. Chronic lack of sleep causes circles and “bags” under your eyes and can leave you feeling tired, hungry, moody, and forgetful.

Healthy tip: Try to stick to a regular sleep and exercise schedule and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol. Get sunlight early in the day. That daylight sends signals to your brain to raise your body temperature and produce hormones like cortisol that regulates many bodily functions. Take a walk outdoors during lunch or a quick coffee break in the park. Regular exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety, can help you fall asleep, and get better quality sleep. At night, turn down the lights, power off electronics, and take a low-dose melatonin supplement 30 minutes before bed.

The lure of looking glam

While out shopping, it can be tempting to spritz on a new perfume, try out a bunch of different products, or buy glittery eyeshadow to wear on New Year’s Eve. After all, it is the season to sparkle and shine. But experimenting with new makeup can leave you hiding in the shadows or frantically calling your dermatologist. New products, especially glitter makeup, heavy foundation, and concentrated serums, can cause skin irritations and aggravate sensitive skin.

Healthy tip: In the midst of the holiday rush, it is easy to get lax on your skincare routine or fall for a doorbuster deal. Going to bed with makeup on can clog pores and cause breakouts. Remember to wash your face at night and follow good skincare practices. Your weary and stressed-out skin will thank you! Studies show that keeping your routine simple improves the likelihood you will create healthy skincare habits. Don’t overload your stash with multiple products. Try to avoid making a rash purchase or putting an expensive skincare product on your holiday wish list. Book a skincare consult, bring your lotions and potions and let us help you simplify!!

APDerm offers a variety of medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology services backed by a team of skincare experts. Contact APDerm today if you want to freshen your look for the New Year or have a skin rash or persistent skin problem that won’t go away.