Start from the inside out. Gift your skin some treats. So festive excess won’t dim your glow.
This fortnight leading up to Christmas followed by as much merriment as you can handle (even at home), is usually when burnout can beckon. Finalising and filing the last of the deadlines, indulging intensely after a particularly stressful year, and drinking all that mulled wine can cause a knock-on effect to our skin, leading to everything from puffiness to sensitive reactions and breakouts.
Katie White, nutritional therapist and founder of skin studio Re:lax can help. She understands the connection between skin and gut health and which product ingredients to put on your Christmas list. Here are her tips, from the inside out, to regain that glow.
Dos and don’ts for 12 days of Christmas:
Stay hydrated. “Drinking, heating and eating out can all lead to dehydration, which makes your skin lose its glow and stops makeup from sitting on it nicely. Dryness also weakens the skin's protective barrier (its outer surface that locks in all the moisture) so it’s more susceptible to eczema, irritation and breakouts.”
Don’t skip on skincare. “Always cleanse before bed no matter what! Don't sleep with your makeup on as it’s the worst thing you can do for your skin. Instead, find a cleanser that’s easy to use and leaves your skin feeling hydrated.”
Make time for treats. “I love using an Orgaid biodegradable sheet mask for a boost of hydration or doing a minute or two of gua sha or facial massage (especially for a night out) to brighten and sculpt my skin.”
Try to get some goodness into you before the prosecco comes out
Understand how nutrition affects your skin
Our skin depends on macro and micronutrients for its health as it’s made up of protein and fat. Nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc are responsible for collagen, cellular turnover and our skin’s ability to heal. It can be all too easy to skip meals, when you’re on the go, but I really encourage you to try to get some goodness into you before the prosecco comes out.
Make sure you are eating good quality fats, proteins and carbohydrates as well as lots of colourful fruit and veggies. It will also support your gut which can take a little bit of a beating when alcohol consumption is increased.
The negative effects of alcohol and sugar
I am a believer that we should enjoy ourselves over the festive season but it is true that alcohol and sugar can have a negative effect on your skin. Alcohol is a diuretic so it dehydrates our skin, particularly if we aren't drinking enough water. Also, it puts some additional pressure on our liver which can lead to an increase in toxic load and can leave your face feeling a little spotty, puffy or dull.
It has been shown that alcohol also decreases sleep quality which is when our skin cells usually rejuvenate themselves. Sugar, on the other hand, causes cross-linking of collagen, resulting in stiffening and the loss of skin’s elasticity. This does take time though and a couple of mince pies at this special time of year won't age you overnight!
Alcohol, sugar and stress impair gut health – hello Christmas!
Connect the dots between skin and gut health
We need our gut to be nice and healthy so it can properly break down our food and we can absorb all its vitamins and minerals. Some signs of poor gut health are bloating and either a sluggish or super speedy digestion. Also look out for reflux, burping and excess gas. What impairs gut health? Alcohol, sugar and stress. (Hello Christmas!)
In order to keep your gut in good shape, I would recommend eating before drinking alcohol and staying hydrated by drinking lots of water. Eat pre and probiotic foods like onion, garlic and yoghurt. Also try fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
Vitamin C is the real star of the show when it comes to getting that glow
Ingredients to add to your Christmas list
For me, acids and actives are what makes skin glow during the winter months. Using a gentle acid a few times a week will help to keep your skin smooth and soft, and make your other products work harder. Hyaluronic acid is a must for me when drinking, and a personal favourite is Nini Organics Crimson Beauty, which has kept my skin so clear and hydrated this winter. Vitamin C is the real star of the show when it comes to getting that glow as it is so brightening—every night I use the Mad Hippie Triple Vitamin C night cream.
Switch up your routine
Our skin needs so much more support during winter due to the cold, damp weather and dry, hot radiators. I recommend using a couple of different cleansers: one that is hydrating and anti-inflammatory (such as an oil or a balm cleanser) and then an acid-based formula to gently exfoliate. Then layer light layers of hydration (a hydrating mist, followed by a hyaluronic acid and a light oil and moisturiser) to seal it all in. Just like we need to wear more layers of clothes in winter, we need to layer up our skincare to protect our skin, too.
The views expressed on these pages are the views of the cited experts only and do not necessarily represent the views of Wellness Edit. Please always get a second opinion where specific medical advice is required.
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