By Amy Anderson
Christmas is a time that can play havoc with your skin.
From too much alcohol to new party clothes and scented gifts, your skin doesn’t rejoice at this festive time of year! So while you may return to work or school having had a joyful Christmas break, often your skin looks ruddy, spotty, dry and lack luster.
Here are 10 typical commited Skin Sins and easy tips on how to avoid them;
- Skin Sin – Too much alcohol & not enough rehydration
The liver is a filter system for the skin and the skin is the last organ in the body to receive nutrients, so it’s the first organ to show liver abnormalities. So if you consume a large amount of alcohol, your skin won’t be as radiant as it could be.
Alcohol also dilates the capillaries, some of which are near the skin’s surface and when the skin is in poor condition, these fine blood vessels are visible. The dehydration caused by alcohol is also bad for the skin.
The problem for your skin is that a lot of the body’s water is held in the skin so, if you’re dehydrated, your skin will shrivel and age much more quickly than normal.
– Drink one soft drink (without too much sugar) or preferably water for every one glass of alcohol to prevent the skin dehydrating
– Take a liver cleansing supplement for a week before Christmas and during the festive period, such as milk thistle. Try Milk Thistle caps from Lloyds Pharmacy (£6.89 for 30 caps www.lloydspharmacy.com)
– Drink liver cleansing drinks the morning after drinking, cranberry juice is a great liver cleanser
– Try and drink regular antioxidant drinks throughout the festive period to decrease capillary dilation, green tea is packed with anti oxidants and is the best tonic for the skin
2. Skin Sin – Not removing make up or cleansing
Staying in guest rooms or hotels, late nights, parties and doing to bed means that at Christmas and New Year is a time when we forget out skin acre routines and often go to sleep with make up on or without cleansing.
Make up clogs the pores and creates sebum build up, which is likely to quickly give you spots. Leaving mascara and eye shadows on at night can also cause eye dermatitis or an infection.
– Leave a water-free cleanser next to your bed and some cotton pads. Try Skin Shop’s KALME Water Free Cleanser this means that even if you can’t be bothered to go to bathroom to remove make up, you can get the worst of with a few quick wipes.[quote]- During the day use an anti-inflammatory and skin soothing eye cream to counteract the extra eye make up and heavy dark colours we tend to wear during the festive season and to reduce risk of eye dermatitis.[/quote] Try Skin Shop’s anti-inflammatory Dry Skin Eye Gel (www.skinshop.co.uk) to reduce itchy, red or dry skin around the eyes or on the eye lids.
Skin Sin – Dry chapped lips
Due to the drop in humidity and frequent dry cold winds our lips tend to dehydrate much more quickly in winter. Lips shed skin regularly, but when they get dry, the skin shedding becomes uneven and that is when chapping and flaking appears. Also unlike skin, lips do not have oils glands and so their natural moisture retention is scare at the best of times, so dehydration from alcohol can make lips extra dry and fragile.
Add to this frequent abrasive nose wiping due to streaming colds which are typical at Christmas and a lowered immune system from too much alcohol, this all lead to an outbreak of cold sores, leaving lips looking flaky, chapped and blistered.
– Don’t lick lips, this makes them even dryer and causes chapping
– When outside wear a scarf of natural fibers over your mouth to prevent extra drying from the cold
– Avoid wearing lips sticks during the day as these contain wax and can be drying and irritate chapped lips and may even cause some infection or inflammation as lip sticks are often harboring bacteria.
– Wear a nourishing lip balm. Try Skin Shop’s Liquorice Balm containing an extract of liquorice. Liquorice helps reduce the severity and duration of cold sores, according to a study carried out by the Herpes Virus Association (www.herpes.org.uk) The lip balm reduced the severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73% of subjects tested and, furthermore, 83% of subjects using the liquorice balm reported experiencing less severe outbreaks than when using their conventional treatments.
4. Skin Sin – New scents & beauty products
There is nothing more wonderful than opening a gorgeous new fragrance on Christmas morning. But the joy of such a gift can often be marred because blotchiness, rashes and swollen bits on the neck and decolage are common problems that arise from wearing new fragrances.[quote]The problem is that many people’s skin is sensitive and reacts easily to some fragrances, especially heavier winter ones, resulting in rashes, blotches and localised swelling.[/quote]
– Patch test new scents on the inside of the wrist first before applying to the neck area
– Don’t overload skin with new scented products, if you want to try a new perfume then do, but don’t try new creams, new soaps, and new beauty products all at the same time. Your skin needs gradual and careful introduction to new products. If you overload it all at once, allergic reactions are more likely
– If you suffer form sensitive skin, prepare your skin in advance. Try using Skin Shop’s KALME Undercoat for a week in advance of Christmas. [quote]Kalme Undercoat is a unique new one-stop solution of skin reactions as it contains a tetrapeptide ingredient called Skinasensyl, which has been dermatologically tested to reduce the skin’s sensitivity to allergic reactions. [/quote] Apply to the neck and decolage area to help de-sensitise skin.
- Skin Sin – Ruddy skin
Christmas can leave skin looking ruddy and furious. The combination of bitter cold, stress of Christmas shopping and visiting family, hot steamy kitchens, rich food and a higher than normal alcohol intake can make skin rage.
– Champagne or fizzy alcoholic drinks make skin that is prone to redness redder than non fizzy drinks, so try and avoid the bubbly
– Spicy food can also make red skin worse[quote]- Washing a hot face with cold water causes red skin to go even redder due to the sudden temperature change so avoid splashing a hot face with water. Stick to a water-free cleanser when washing the face and use gentle fanning or go to a cooler room to cool face down rather than using cold water o stepping outside in the cold night air to cool down.[/quote]
– Winter sun can be just as bad as summer sun for skin prone to redness and add to that harsh cold winds and skin can become ruddy from sun and wind exposure, so always wear an SPF during the Xmas break for outdoor walks and activities.
– Start using an anti-redness skin care product a few weeks before Christmas. Try Skin Shop’s KALME anti-redness skincare range which offers a scientifically tested 3 in 1 action which can reduce redness by up to 70% as well as reduce dryness with a 24-hour moisturisation ingredient and a chemical free SPF25 to protect red skin from further aggravation by UV light.
6. Skin Sin – Lack of sleep
Late nights and lack of sleep are typical over the festive period. But sleep deprivation leads to spots and can also increase the likelihood of eczema and psoriasis flare ups as it causes increased inflammation in the body. [quote]A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (www.jcem.endojournals.org) reports that a lack of sleep increases inflammatory cytokines. This helps explain why skin flare-up occur in response to sleep deprivation. Even modest sleep restriction, such as 1-2 hours less a night, adversely affects inflammatory cytokine levels.[/quote]
– If you have a very late night, try to have a small siesta in the afternoon the following day. One hour of sleep during the day is approximately equivalent to two hours at night.
– Avoid caffeine drinks after 6pm so at lest you can get to sleep when you get in.
– Try and urinate before you get into bed, even if you don’t need to so that you have a solid block of sleep and don’t have to wake needing the toilet. Alcohol is a diuretic which means if you have been drinking you are far more likely to need to urinate during the night. But blocks of uninterrupted sleep even for shorter periods of time, are more beneficial to the body and your skin that longer periods of interrupted sleep.
Skin Sin – Over indulgence in sugar
– For the festive period use a moisturizer that specifically targets elasticity in the skin. Try Dr Brandt’s Lineless Anti-Glycation Gel (www.spacenk.co.uk)[quote] – Take an omega 3 & 6 fish oil supplement for a month over the festive period as these help skin stay more elastic and are excellent preventatives for eczema & psoriasis in particular.[/quote]
– Try to cut out your regular sugar intakes to compensate for the extra sugar you consumer over the festive period. So you have sugar in tea and coffee try just for this period to cut it out for a week, same goes for drinks, try and avoid sugary soft drinks and alcoholic ones with lots of sugar in.
– Drink regular antioxidants such as green tea and white tea, which help to neutralise AGEs.
8. Skin Sin – Tight & itchy party clothes
Tight, sequined, glittery, spangly dresses and costume jewelry are typical attire for the festive season, but they can cause contact irritation to sensitive skin. In addition the constriction from tight non-breathable party clothes can also increase the temperature, making skin itchier and skin flare ups more likely as well as increasing likelihood of thrush.
– Remove all tight clothing as soon as you get home and have a cooling shower afterwards to reduce skin swelling and heat. Also take out labels from clothes to minimize abrasions or irritation.
– Wear a cotton vest or cotton under garment under party clothing to protect skin and wear cotton knickers or boxer shorts to let skin breath and to help avoid thrush.
– Wear stockings instead of nylon tights if possible to let the crouch area breath
– Only put party clothes on just before leaving, and remain in loose cotton clothing for as long as possible beforehand.
– Never wear new costume jewelry for the first time to a party in case of a skin reaction. Test the item first during the day to check it does not cause an allergic reaction.
- Skin Sin – Cleaning Frenzy
With the house usually full of house guests and family at Christmas, most of us have to do more cleaning than normal not to mention increased washing up of dirty dishes. But for sensitive skin this can cause reactions.
– Don’t be tempted to use more fabric or air fresheners just because you have guests. Christmas tends to mean much more time trapped inside stuffy rooms and on sofas, which fabric fresheners contain harsh chemicals which can irritate sensitive skin and cause flare ups. Open windows to air and if you have one, use a de-humidifier to reduce room stuffiness.
– Wear rubber gloves with cotton gloves on the inside for ALL cleaning to avoid contact dermatitis from cleaning products.
– Keep pets outside as much as possible and groom them more often than usual over festive period to avoid allergies
– Use anti-dryness skin savers on hard working hands. Try Skin Shop’s Defensil Rescue Serum. [quote]Defensil reduces dryness and irritation[/quote] . Use on hands and elbows at night to reduce dryness and irritation.
Skin Sin – Sweaty & Sedentary
At Christmas we all spend more time indoors and on sofas, which can mean hours sitting in sweaty and sedentary positions, which are triggers from skin flare ups of eczema and psoriasis as well as an in creased likelihood of fungus such as athletes foot or thrush.
– Sweat itself can cause dermatitis skin flare ups so wear breathable looser clothes
– Wear loose fitting cotton underwear if sitting indoors for long periods to avoid thrush and try and sit on harder chairs rather than soft deep sofas that do not let the crouch area breath
– Don’t wear bare skin against furniture fabrics as this can increase risk of both contact dermatitis and sweating
– Invest in natural fiber or wool slippers instead of synthetic ones as these let feet breath and reduce risk of athletes foot.