The holidays are a stressful time—so much to cook, shop for, clean, decorate—and all during a time when you want to look your best. Ironically, it’s actually when your skin seems to look its worst.
This unfortunately occurs because stress and lack of sleep can manifest as wrinkles, skin laxity, dryness, rosacea and acne, says Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Zein Obagi, MD. The problem is that stress increases the production of hormones that damage collagen and elastin. Too much stress also takes some of the joy out of life, so you are more likely to frown or scowl, which induces wrinkles, he says.
Follow these five healthy skin solutions to re-energize your skin for a glowing New Year:
1. First, undo some of the damage by exfoliating. A buildup of debris, oil and dead cells can impede your skin’s ability to absorb active skin care products that you need to keep skin looking its best.
“Exfoliation is key to maintaining healthy skin,” says New York aesthetician Claudio Pinto. He recommends using a Clarisonic cleansing brush daily. “If you have oily skin use the deep pore cleansing brush, maybe a mask once a week—instead of the beads and scrubs which can be too harsh for the skin, I would go with chemical exfoliation. Peels are very healthy and can address many skincare concerns and the penetration is much more efficacious than any other methods of exfoliation,” he says.
For your body, try a lotion high in lactic acid, not just a typical smell-good body lotion. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk and it really works hard to exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin.
2. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Too much alcohol and not enough water can really dehydrate you and your skin, making wrinkles more noticeable. Drink at least 64 oz. of water throughout the day and reduce your intake of coffee and tea. Also, increase the amount of fresh fruits and veggies you eat as they have high water content.
3. Treat yourself to a pore-purifying facial at a spa or skin clinic. If you are not sure what to choose from the menu of services, sign up for a skin consultation with an aesthetician and let her choose the best treatment for you. If you prefer to try an at-home facial treatment, look for a clay mask. Natural clay can refine pores, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and rejuvenate your skin. Clay- or mud-based masks are best for balancing out oily or acne-prone skin.
4. Keep your skin active. High concentrations of retinol will work to rejuvenate your skin, produce more collagen and accelerate cellular turnover. Thirty minutes before bedtime, apply a retinol product, so it has time to work its magic while you sleep.
5. Exercise and work up a sweat at least three times a week. When you work up a sweat, you are essentially moisturizing your skin from the inside out. Avoid the temptation of saunas and steam rooms; although they may seem refreshing, they can actually dehydrate your skin. Stay away from using very hot water on your face, on your hands or in the shower too.
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