Early nights and eye masks ... top tips to banish those winter skin blues
We asked the experts what we can do to prevent total complexion meltdown in the run-up to Christmas. By Katie Wright.
1. Try a raw egg face mask
To brighten dull skin, whip up a quick home-made face mask, says Dr Penelope Tympanidis, consultant dermatologist and owner of Dermaperfect Clinic. "Beat a whole egg and apply it to all areas of your face and leave until it dries. Remove it with olive or almond oil."
2. Schedule a few early nights
Dr Adam Friedmann from the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic says top up on sleep between late nights. "At night, the skin relaxes. It's not under any stress, so can recuperate after a hard day. Your skin cells go into regeneration mode, replacing damaged or dead cells with new ones. When sleep is reduced due to lots of late nights, so is the body's ability to carry out these functions. A bare minimum of six to seven hours - but ideally nearer to eight hours - would suit."
3. Pop on a couple of eye masks
Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55, says: "Eye masks are a good, quick, temporary fix for puffiness and dark circles, which can occur after lots of late nights.
"They're usually gel-like treatments, which are formulated with hydrating and plumping ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, caffeine and colloidal gold."
Skin Republic Brightening Eye Masks, £4.99 for three pairs, LookFantastic
4. Make a camomile compress
A cheaper alternative for refreshing puffy eyes is a camomile tea bag compress, which Dr Tympanidis says is "great for reducing swelling and inflammation". Make yourself a pot of this soothing tea and once the tea bags have cooled, squeeze the excess liquid out and spend 10 minutes relaxing with them on your eyes.
5. Don't forget your 5-a-day
"It's important to eat a healthy and balanced diet to maintain all of one's minerals and natural oils," says Dr Friedmann. "Eating lots of vegetables and salads will soak up the free radicals and help the look and feel of your skin."
6. De-stress not distress
"Stress and exhaustion lower the immune system and can make skin worse," explains Dr Friedmann. "So, try and take some time out for yourself and do something you know helps you relax."
7. Always remove your make-up thoroughly
Dr Friedmann advises: "If you haven't removed your make-up properly, you tend to be heavier handed to try and remove stubborn make-up that's been on the face a while. This firm wiping action can irritate the skin and encourage flare-ups. When removing mascara and eye make-up, it's best to gently place a cotton ball with remover over your lid and hold it there for a few seconds, to help dissolve the product, before wiping it away."
Eucerin DermoPurifyer Micellar Water, £9.50, Boots
8. Go easy on the booze
"Excess alcohol consumption can cause blood vessel dilation, which can make the face look quite red," says Dr Friedmann. So on the nights you haven't got a party in the diary, stay off the sauce and quaff plenty of water or herbal teas to rehydrate.
9. Up your antioxidants
"Add a teaspoon of organic matcha green tea powder to your festive gin and tonic," Dr Rupert Critchley, founder of Viva Skin Clinics suggests. "It takes mere seconds, but it will give you a potent antioxidant boost, which protects the skin from free radicals."
10. Watch your water intake
"Try and switch over to water or a soft drink in-between alcoholic beverages, and pace yourself as alcohol can cause dehydration of the skin and lead to facial bloating," Dr Critchley recommends.
11. Slap on the sunscreen
Dr Mahto adds: "Sunscreen isn't just for the summer and should be worn throughout the year, as there is still damaging ultraviolet radiation around. Sunscreen should be offering protection against UVA and UVB, and at least SPF 15."
Murad City Skin SPF 50, £45