The party season is almost here – think busy diaries and late nights! Don’t let the month of excess take its toll this Christmas and take some advice from The Harley Medical Group’s experts, Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall and Nutritionist Christine Bailey, who have shared what’s contributing to that hangover face along with their top tips to keep your skin and body feeling and looking its best.
In the run-up to party season, Dr Justine Hextall advises that “It is worth thinking about treatments that can give your skin a boost that will see it past the inevitable excesses. I’m a fan of skin boosters - these are multiple micro-injections of hyaluronic acid that go into the deeper layers of the skin working to hydrate the skin and give it a natural healthy skin glow. Derma FNS is also an excellent treatment for stimulating new collagen. After a course of three treatments skin appears firmer, brighter and more even with reduced fine lines.
If this more interventional approach is not for you I recommend stepping up your diet. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and avoid snacking on sugary foods. As well as adding in an anti-oxidant to your skin care regime and booking in for a hydrating facial if you can! Then when the party season hits your skin is prepared and more resilient!”
Problem: Alcohol is high in sugar which can damage collagen – a vital protein for our skin keeping it looking plump, wrinkle free and glowing. It also acts as a diuretic and therefore dehydrates the skin.
Dr Justine Hextall comments “Alcohol affects your skin in many ways. We know for some even a small amount of alcohol can cause an exacerbation of the skin condition rosacea. Excessive alcohol however tends to cause flushing in most people, this dilates superficial vessels that often become fixed, otherwise known as visible thread veins. Alcohol, particularly when consumed excessively will act as a diuretic and cause dehydration. When the skin barrier is dry and inflamed we lose more water from skin and we notice our skin becomes sensitive and can start to flake. So it’s no surprise that alcohol can exacerbate a common facial eczema called seborrheic eczema which tends to create redness and flaking, particularly around the nose, eyebrows and scalp.”
Dr Justine Hextall recommends trying (if possible) to match a glass of wine with a glass of water, to try and maintain hydration and reduce overall consumption. It’s also important to rehydrate before bed, as well as cleansing the skin and then applying a hydrating cream or serum such as DermaQuest’s B5 Hydrating Serum. If possible a combination of anti-oxidants and hyaluronic acid in a soothing preparation will start to calm and hydrate skin.”
Nutritionist Christine Bailey adds “Aim for 6-8 glasses of water daily and include hydrating herbal teas, green and white tea rich in antioxidants too. The following day hydrate yourself with plenty of water and herbal teas known to support liver and kidney function such as nettle, dandelion and milk thistle and include a little lemon juice in warm water to kick start the morning cleanse.”
Problem: Too much alcohol causes dehydration which can often be a trigger for a throbbing headache
Christine Bailey explains “Excessive alcohol can dehydrate the body, interfere with blood sugar levels and deplete magnesium, vitamin C and B vitamins. It’s not so much the alcohol that leads to hangover symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach and fatigue but some of the chemicals the alcohol is metabolized into such as acetaldehyde. Alcohol is also a diuretic so a night out on the town can lead to dehydration further exacerbating that throbbing head the morning after, as well as leaving our skin looking tired.”
Christine Bailey recommends “Before you got to bed up your intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a valuable nutrient to help your liver detoxify alcohol. At the end of the party drink at least 2-3 glasses of water or coconut water as your body will be dehydrated, then before you go to bed take 1g of vitamin C and 5g of glutamine powder to help stabilize sugar levels and repeat this in the morning before you tackle breakfast. Coconut water is a great hydrating drink – rich in electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are depleted after a night of drinking. So before you go to bed try drinking a couple of glasses of coconut water to support detoxification.
The following day aim to snack regularly if you cannot face meals in order to stabilise blood sugar and replenish depleted nutrients. Even though you may feel extremely tired and a cup of coffee seems like the best way to wake you up, try to stay away from it. Caffeine will only dehydrate you more, and since it’s also a diuretic, it will not help your stomach.”
Problem: Dark under-eye circles are the tell-tale sign of late night partying caused by a lack of sleep and an excess in alcohol
Dr Justine Hextall explains: “Unfortunately as we age the skin and underlying structures around our eyes thin, we start to see dark circles appear under the eyes. Lack of sleep and dehydration exacerbate this problem.”
Christine Bailey adds: “In some cases bags or dark under eye circles can be due to poor kidney function too (causing water retention) and food allergies. Consider eliminating gluten for a week to see if there is any improvement and include some green juices and carrot juice to help with detoxification and boost hydration. Watch your salt intake too.”
Justine Hextall makes some recommendations “Keeping hydrated and applying an anti-oxidant eye serum will help. For a more lasting solution one can have fillers injected into this area referred to as the tear trough. It is very important to seek the right practitioner who is familiar with this delicate eye area.
Christine Bailey gives advice on what we should be eating to help combat the effect of lack of sleep “Vitamins A, C, E and K are essential to healthy skin and can be effective when applied topically and well as including them in your diet. Vitamin C can strengthen blood vessel walls so include berries, cranberries, leafy greens – including Brussels sprouts of course and red peppers which are all rich in vitamin C. Orange, vitamin A-laden fruits and vegetables such as papaya, mangoes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash can promote strong, firm skin. Vitamin K strengthens capillary walls and often broken capillaries leak deoxygenated blood to form dark circles. So include leafy greens, kefir, natto (fermented soy bean product), yogurt, prunes, aubergine, leeks which are all good sources of vitamin K.
Be sure to allow yourself a few quiet nights in to catch up on sleep. A cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea before bed will help you wind down ready for a long night’s sleep. Or try a cup of warm Montmorency cherry juice too – one of the few food sources of melatonin – our sleep hormone.”
Problem: Often processed and party food is high in sodium which can encourage water retention.
Dr Justine Hextall explains: “When we are partying hard it’s not just the type of food that we are consuming that will affect our skin but the food we are not eating such as fresh fruits and vegetables. We tend to pick up a quick fix before we go out, often fast food or a ready meal. Once we are at the party we often eat high glycaemic index foods such as pastries, crisps and sugary treats. We know that the sugar from these foods causes glycation of collagen which damages it. Also a poor diet full of so called junk food affects the bio-diversity of our gut flora. We talk a lot now about how changes to our intestinal microbiome can influence skin health. We call it the gut-skin axis.
Dr Justine Hextall advises: “Try and avoid that bacon sandwich the morning after, a smoothie with berries and avocado would be a much healthier skin fix! If you find that your skin is looking dull and tired, I recommend a micro-needling treatment to refresh. The Harley Medical Group’s Derma FNS is an advanced micro-medical skin-needling technique, that stimulates the skin to regenerate and repair itself naturally and safely, forming new collagen, creating smoother, brighter, healthier skin. The key is to meet with a skin care specialist and plan a treatment programme, that includes the best possible skin care regime for your skin.
Also try Epsom Salt bathing - a traditional way to detox and unwind. Simply place 2 cups of Epsom Salts in a warm bath and soak for 15 minutes. Epsom salts is simply magnesium sulphate which can be absorbed through your skin. Magnesium helps the muscles relax and unwind why sulphur is a well-known beauty mineral and helps the body detox too.”
Christine Bailey adds to try eating some Yogurt or try Kefir. “Bloating after too much party food? Give your gut some loving support with a pot of plain yogurt or kefir. Packed with friendly bacteria they can help tune up your digestion and crowd out the bad bugs too.”
Problem: Many of us get home late and after one too many glasses of wine, and despite knowing it’s not very good for our skin, the last thing we want to do is take off our makeup.
Dr Justine Hextall reveals “It’s not the make-up that leaves your skin looking so awful the next morning, it is usually the circumstances in which it is left on! After a late night of partying with alcohol, arriving home in the early hours a skin care regime is often abandoned. Add to that a lack of sleep and the results are often dehydrated inflamed skin and dark circles”
Justine Hextall advises “Hydrating with a large glass of water, using a very gentle cleanser such as DermaQuest’s Essential Cleanser, before applying a hydrating serum or oil with anti-oxidants will definitely help morning after skin look a little fresher! Over time not cleansing skin at night will cause a problem as we now know that pollution plays a significant part in skin ageing. Cleansing skin at night and preferably applying an emollient that contains anti-oxidants is going to help protect against this problem”
Christine Bailey adds “If you have a day off from the hectic social calendar that comes with the festive season, try going make-up free. This will give your skin a chance to breathe and recover. To get your glow back, try a facial peel. The Harley Medical Group’s Rejuvenating Pumpkin Resurfacer improves skin tone and texture, decreases the appearance of large pores and hydrates skin (£99, available nationwide).
Try Watermelon. Like berries watermelon is a fabulous source of potent antioxidants including carotenoids which are important for glowing skin. It is also packed with water to boost hydration. Watermelon is high in many essential nutrients that can be depleted by alcohol, including vitamin C, B-vitamins and magnesium making it the perfect post party snack
Eggs for Breakfast. Eggs contains an amino acid called N acetyl cysteine one of the building blocks of a potent antioxidant called glutathione which is important in ridding the body of the toxins from alcohol. Protein will also help support energy levels through the morning. So the morning after the party if you can face it have a couple of scrambled eggs with veggies for a breakfast energy boost
Try ginger. Hangovers, party food and eating out frequently can often be accompanied by an upset stomach or bloating. If you feel a little queasy try sipping some ginger tea or cordial. Ginger’s root contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols. These chemicals relax the intestinal tract, preventing motion sickness and relieving the nausea and stomach cramps. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory spice so may help calm any redness on the skin too.
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