While the holiday season is fun and joyful, it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. That stress will inevitably show up in our skin via lack of sleep, elevated stress hormones, dehydration, and (if were lucky) fine lines and wrinkles from so much laughing with family. Its important to devote just a little bit of time to yourself, and some of that time can be spent taking steps to ensure the holidays dont wreak havoc on your face.
Stress has a devastating effect on the skin. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which causes inflammation that can break down collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives our skin firmness, so when it breaks down our skin can become saggy or wrinkles can begin to form. It can make you look several years older than you actually are. So take a few moments every day during the season to relax any way that works for you- listen to music, sit down to read a book, go for a walk, or anything else that lets you get away from the hustle and bustle.
Always Remove Your Makeup
Washing your face before you go to bed is very important. The day’s debris, which can include pollution, dirt, and dead skin cells, settle on your face throughout the day, and your makeup will keep it on. Washing your face will remove not just the makeup, but also the built up debris and pollution (pollution will also include oxidizing components that attack skin cells and lead to aging). Removing that layer of dirt will also allow any anti-aging skin care that you use to penetrate more deeply into your skin. If youre over 40, your skin can begin to dry out with over-cleansing, so stick to just water in the morning and use your cleanser in the evening to take off your makeup.
Always Wear Sunscreen (Yes, Even in Winter)
The sun may come up later and go down earlier, but even a few minutes of sun exposure daily can lead to wrinkles, sun spots, and collagen break down. Switch to a daily moisturizer that contains an SPF, and wear it every single day. The sun youre exposed to on your way to the mailbox can be enough to negatively affect your skins appearance. During the holidays, youre probably traveling- youll be exposed to the sun while youre driving, as well, so be extra-viligant with the SPF!
Watch Your Nutritional Intake
Theres no season as rough on the nutrition as the holidays! Were surrounded by sweets, carbs, and high-fat foods that we eat for weeks. If you tend to gain weight during the holidays and then lose it rapidly after the first of the year, your skin may have trouble adjusting to the expanding and contracting. After a few years of this pattern, the sagging of the skin will make your face look haggard. To avoid this, just watch your weight fluctuation during the holiday season. Dont deprive yourself, just keep the sweets intake in moderation! Keep the alcohol consumption moderate, as well- alcohol can lead to dehydration, which also makes the skin look dry, dull, and aged.
Go To Sleep!
Whether youre up all night wrapping presents, traveling, or decorating, youre doing damage to your skin when you dont get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to dark circles and bags under the eyes, both of which make you look older. While some lack of sleep might not be avoidable during the holidays, take a little pressure off yourself to get everything done in one day. Better yet, enlist the help of your loved ones and have them decorate and cook for a change!
These are just a few simple (but not necessarily easy) ways to protect your skin during the hectic and stressful holiday season. You dont have to wait until the New Year to resolve to care for your skin like you want to. Resolve to care for yourself starting now, and take the holiday season a little easier, for your skins sake (and stay out of the sun!). If you have any additional questions, call our office at (703) 574-2588.