6 Steps to Responsible Skincare
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Post-Christmas Excess SOS: Top Recovery Tips
Making space for yourself to celebrate joyfully with family and friends is a gift we should all embrace. After all, ‘tis the season to raise a toast, pile on the trimmings, stay up late and have a jolly good time.
Naturally the thing we sometimes forget about amongst all the festivities, is how tired, delicate or dehydrated we might feel the morning after. As the parties slow down post-New Year, you’ll most likely want to hold onto the great memories but say goodbye to the sore head, dull skin and sluggishness that can appear as a consequence.
If you’ve had a little too much of everything this festive season, don’t feel guilty. Or at least, don’t be too hard on yourself. Resolve to end the year – and start a new one with kind intention – and the compassion you would show a loved one.
Overindulging occasionally is natural. Arming ourselves with the knowledge to recognise that and have a toolkit to get back on track when we’re ready, is the next best thing to consistent moderation. And we’ll drink to that – just make ours a water please.
Festive Skincare Red Flags, And How To Deal With Them
We asked Skin + Me’s Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson to give us his most commonly observed seasonal skin aggravators, and quick tips to negate them:
“Unfortunately this has a negative impact on our skin, mainly through dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic which means it increases water loss from our blood via the kidneys. This has a knock on effect.”
“Skin can become dehydrated, leading to moisture loss in the upper layers and result in dry, rough patches, regardless of your skin type. It can also cause flushing due to acetaldehyde, a breakdown product of alcohol that stimulates the release of histamine.”
So, keep hydrated (avoiding alcohol) and aim to drink around three litres of water a day. Eat water-rich foods and fruit and vegetables.
Sugar and chocolate
“Excessively sugary meals (high glycemic index foods) can elevate hormones that increase the activity of oil glands in the skin that can ultimately contribute to acne.”
Don’t finish off the (whole!) box of celebrations – aim for moderation and a balanced diet.
Cold weather and central heating
“Low humidity causes more water loss from the skin. This can lead to damage to the skin barrier and potential dermatitis.”
Moisturise your skin and don’t over-cleanse. Make sure you’re using a moisturiser with barrier friendly, moisturising ingredients to counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol and the reduced humidity associated with cold weather and central heating. Ingredients to look out for include: hyaluronic acid, ceramides, humectants and natural moisturising factors.
Stress and family arguments
“Stress hormones such as cortisol can also indirectly affect the activity of oil glands and contribute to acne.”
Reduce stress – easier said than done! Learn to manage it in more productive ways, such as deep breathing exercises, calming mantras and taking time out of a room to recalibrate if things get heated.
“Using too many greasy (occlusive) cosmetics can block pores which can lead to dullness and acne breakouts.”
Dr Jason’s advice? “Use anti-comedogenic (non-pore blocking) cosmetics. Cleansing twice daily is essential to keep unwanted breakouts at bay and remember to double cleanse in the evening to remove SPF and makeup which can block pores. This also allows your evening skincare to penetrate your skin to exert its effects.”
Cleansers with mild acid such as PHA (polyhydroxy acid – gentler than its cousins AHA/BHAs) will add mild exfoliation to help brighten dull looking skin without compromising barrier function.
seasonal allergies and dermatitis
“Some people can develop allergies to mistletoe and christmas trees. Some people are allergic to the sap of Christmas trees and can develop hand eczema after handling them.” So, don’t forget to wear gloves (if you react to Christmas trees) when handling them.
Stick To Your Routine, With A Touch Of TLC
Throughout the festivities and beyond, sticking as closely as possible to a regular skincare routine can help.
Dr Jason Thomson explains: “There’s no one silver bullet (although your Daily Doser comes close!) but rather the key is to have an effective, simple skincare routine that consists of evidence-based ingredients, targeted towards what you want to achieve. Once you have this routine, sticking to it consistently will ensure success.”
“If the excesses of Christmas result in you waking up on boxing day with a puffy face, then skincare with caffeine can help reduce the swelling, particularly around the eye area. Lymphatic drainage massage of the face and neck area can also help shift the excess fluid in your face.
“Vitamin C added to your morning routine can also be really helpful. As a powerful antioxidant it works to brighten the skin.”
‘Detoxing’ Your Skin – Is That Even Possible?
A post-seasonal skincare review appeals theoretically but what does ‘skin detox’ really mean and is it just jargon for the regeneration process our skin is constantly undergoing anyway? Going easy on our skin and prioritising our health post-indulgence is one thing. We asked Dr Jason Thomson if we can officially use the D-word:
“There’s no good evidence backing up any form of ‘skin detox’. This concept has many different meanings that range from stopping applying all products to your skin to let it reset (skin fasting) to applying (or ingesting) products that claim to promote the skin’s natural detoxing function.
“The exception to this is when you’ve overdone your skincare, for instance, by using too many acids and actives resulting in sensitivity, irritation and compromising your skin’s barrier function. If you have sensitive, irritated skin, then stopping these products and going back to a gentle and supportive skincare routine can be considered a type of ‘skin detox’ and will help you to get your skin back on track.”
The Quick, Natural Glow-Up Tip That Always Works?
Outdoors is free, as they say. When you want to recover, returning to a solid sleep routine and getting outside in daylight – will give your mind, body (and skin!) the back-to-best boost you need. Just don’t forget your SPF.
Dr Jason Thomson says: “Spending time outside – particularly in green spaces is a natural stress and anxiety-reliever. The less stress you have the happier your skin will be, so get outside in nature as much as you can.”
Make time for that post-lunch walk – no matter how you feel now, your skin will thank you for it. And when it comes to moderation, it’s all about the little things. Go forth, enjoy and feel good.
Medical facts checked by Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson
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