Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year—but it also has the potential for wreaking havoc on your complexion. From a jam-packed schedule to ingestible temptation at every turn, it’s easy to get off-track as far as healthy diet and lifestyle choices are concerned. Here, six top dermatologists share their advice for helping you and your skin weather the final stretch of 2017—and start 2018 off beautifully.
Don’t indulge your sweet tooth.
Cookies, candy canes and all sorts of tempting treats are synonymous with the holidays, but weight gain isn’t the only threat posed by these little indulgences. Excess sugar can have an aging effect on the skin thanks to a process called glycation. According to Montclair, New Jersey dermatologist, Dr. Jeanine B. Downie, “Glycation occurs when sugars attach to supportive proteins like collagen and elastin, making them brittle and damaged, which in turn cause fine lines and wrinkles to form—and this process may be more prevalent in areas that are already a bit photodamaged.”
Skincare antidote: SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter ($161)
Keep alcohol to a minimum.
The holidays are a time to be joyous, and alcohol is usually part of the celebration equation. But in addition to a hangover the morning after over-imbibing, alcohol dehydrates the skin as well. “Signs of dehydrated skin include dullness, flaking, increased sensitivity, fine lines and wrinkles, and in addition to a good moisturizer, it’s important to hydrate skin from the inside,” says Miami dermatologist, Dr. Janelle Vega. A good rule of thumb to stave off dehydration: Drink a tall glass of water between each alcoholic beverage (and try to limit yourself to two at most).
Skincare antidote: SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($120)
Get your beauty sleep.
This rule applies year-round, but with all the shopping and parties between Thanksgiving and the new year, it’s easy to feel (and look) like you’re burning the candle at both ends. “Beyond tell-tale signs of fatigue like dark under-eye circles, too little sleep prompts the production of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and limit the oxygen and nutrients available to the skin, as well as lead to premature signs of aging,” says Great Neck, New York dermatologist, Dr. Jeannette Graf. The good news is that the skin rebounds from lack of sleep after a few good nights of shut-eye, so be sure to schedule at least a few nights in a week during the holiday season.
Skincare antidote: Oxygenetix Hydro-Matrix ($119)
Protect your skin from the elements.
Most of us may be saying, “Baby, it’s cold outside,” and winter weather does a number on our skin. Between frigid, blustery wind outside and dry artificial heat inside, the result is often tight, itchy, irritated skin. “It’s especially important to reinforce the skin’s barrier this time of year to increase its resilience to extreme weather,” says Dallas dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand. “Look for a product that contains ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol and essential fatty acids to replenish the components of the skin barrier so it can function optimally.” Dr. Houshmand also recommends staying away from petroleum-based ingredients that can actually further dry your skin in the winter months and choosing a product that has natural, nourishing ingredients. “Go for an oil-based rather than a water-based solution, as it’s more likely to help your skin retain moisture during colder weather.”
Skincare antidote: iS Clinical Sheald Recovery Balm ($72)
Think ahead when you travel.
The holiday season is also prime travel season, and our skin becomes vulnerable to dehydration the second you step onto a plane. “Most people don’t think ahead when traveling to a climate that’s different than the one your skin is used to. And if you’re heading to a high-altitude spot for skiing, remember to pack a high-protection sunscreen because the sun’s rays are extremely strong, even during winter,” advises New York City dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldenberg. Those with sensitive skin may also want to pack their own pillowcases, as hotel bedding and detergent can have a detrimental effect on the skin—and who wants to deal with a reaction on vacation?
Skincare antidote: PCA Skin The Preventative Kit ($55)
Don’t sit too close to the fire.
Chestnuts—and your skin—roasting in front of an open fire… Just when you thought UV rays and free radicals were enough to worry about, you may want to add invisible infrared radiation to the list of potential skin aggressors as well. Comprising up to 50% of the rays emitted by the sun (UV rays only represent a fraction), infrared radiation is also generated by heat sources such as ovens, blow-dryers and fireplaces. According to New York City dermatologist, Dr. Jeremy Brauer, “While the specific wavelengths used in dermatological research and infrared saunas have been found to promote wound healing and improve visible signs of aging, high doses of the near-infrared radiation emitted by the sun have been linked to skin damage.” On a positive note, “Oral antioxidants and sunscreens formulated with zinc and titanium dioxide can help shield skin from the free radicals generated by infrared rays,” says Dr. Brauer, so all the more reason to protect your skin from the inside and out.
Skincare antidotes: Heliocare Dietary Supplement ($30) and EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
NOTE: All products were purchased or sampled in-store. All opinions are my own.