Xmas season skincare by Dr Moore

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but do you really want to ‘look’ like Christmas… red faced, puffy with outbreaks of spots?  Sadly during this party season our skin takes a hammering!  The options are avoiding the over-indulgence, limiting it, or trying to replenish and recover from it afterwards.  It’s obvious what the best advice for your skin is, but for the rest of us, here is what we are doing to our skin and bodies and how we can try to minimise and recover from it.

What’s involved in the Christmas party?  Preparing for it may include heavier make-up than normal.  The party itself - with nibbles, chocolates, puddings and alcohol, and then the late nights and the likelihood that the make-up is not removed before bed.

Sadly, by far the worst enemy to the skin is the alcohol which has minimal, if any, nutritional benefit. In fact alcohol deprives us of vitamins (especially vitamin A), and due to the high sugar content is fattening.  Alcohol is what we call a diuretic, which means it increasing the removal of water from the body.  In short alcohol dehydrates us.  Have you ever woken with a hang-over?  That headache and the feeling of un-quenching thirst.  The reason behind a hangover is dehydration.  Imagine that happening to your skin!

The healthy appearance of our skin relies on water and hydration.  By dehydrating the skin it will become dry, increasing fine lines and wrinkles, and therefore increasing the signs of ageing.  Alcohol causes small blood vessels near to the skin to become dilated (enlarged) causing flushing and redness - especially noticeable in the face.  These blood vessels (capillaries) are more likely to become broken further worsening the red or purple appearance.  This can lead on to rosacea (alcohol is one of the causative factors in rosacea) and that famous drinker’s rosacea nose.  Again, this is certainly festive, but who wants to look like Rudolph?

Alcohol also increases sweating, which won’t look pretty at the office party.  The excess sweating and high sugar content will increase your chances of spot outbreaks.

The body uses the liver to detoxify and remove alcohol.  In doing so alcohol can cause liver damage.  As Doctors, when we assess people for liver damage we particularly look at the face and skin, as liver damage can give telltale signs such as skin redness or change to complexion - especially a sallow (yellow) appearance.

Alcohol causes an inflammatory reaction in many parts of the body.  It will worsen any pre-existing inflammatory conditions such as eczema, cause hormonal imbalance including producing a surge of insulin and increase skin sebum production.

Alcohol also lowers antioxidants found in your skin, reducing the natural protection against free radicals which cause skin damage, further increasing the signs of ageing.

The types of food eaten over Christmas and at parties aren’t going to help our skin any more either, usually being high in sugar and calories.

We all know that make-up can cause irritation to skin, but can be dramatically worsened by leaving make-up on overnight, if we return from the Christmas party and crawl straight into bed.  The pore clogging effect will worsen spot breakouts, irritation, redness, and the texture of skin, whether causing the skin to be rough, oily or both.  Despite making you drowsy, alcohol actually causes a worse night’s sleep, so on top of everything, you won’t even look refreshed in the morning.

If despite all this bad news you have over-indulged, it is important to give your skin help to replenish and recover.  So while giving yourself a break from the alcohol, you should provide your skin with great skin care.  CJ Skinhealth Active Cleanse will cleanse deep to unblock pores, and can even be used to remove make-up by double cleansing.  It replenishes vitamin C providing antioxidant activity protecting against free radicals, exfoliates, reduces inflammation and starts to re-hydrate the skin.  CJ Skinhealth Enhance and Protect does just that, further hydrating the skin with hyaluronic acid, replenishes multiple antioxidants, and adds DMAE and hydrolysed wheat protein which tighten and firm the skin, reducing wrinkles, improving skin tone and softness.