Posted by Jo on Dec 15, 2011
We Brits love to talk about the weather, and right now the constant natter revolves around how cold it is. The winds on Monday night made my windows rattle and the heating has been on full blast for the last week or so now. Its cosy inside but the constant change in temperature is playing havoc with my skin. Mine has taken a real battering: dry red patches around my eyes and chapped lips mean that a tube of moisturiser is always at hand. Plus there is the Christmas challenge for our skin to contend with. The season of good will, merriment and excessive eating and drinking has begun (well it begun on the 1st of December for some). Office parties, drinks parties, mince pie parties, call them what you like, they’re all the same and their results are too: hangovers, dehydration, jaded complexions and ultimately, exhaustion – just in time for the big day!
Enjoying a drink is part of the fun and should not be denied – after all it is Christmas… but remember this:
Alcohol dilates the blood capillaries near the skin’s surface. Each time you drink the blood capillaries continue to be enlarged until they lose their quality and tone which is why red faces are associated with heavy drinkers. Skin conditions such as acne rosacea or psoriasis are made worse by drinking too much alcohol and blemishes and blotchy bumps may appear. A lot of the body’s water is held in the skin and alcohol is a powerful dehydrating substance. If you’re dehydrated, your skin will shrivel and age much more quickly than normal, causing wrinkles. Additionally, overindulgence of alcohol can decrease levels of important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A. Vitamin A is a very important antioxidant that supports body and skin health.
So here’s a few suggestions on what you can eat and drink to achieve glowing skin during the festive season:
- Stay properly hydrated. It will leave your skin looking brighter and younger and (hopefully!) less wrinkly in the long term. Aim for 1.5litres of water per day and try and drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink if you are out at a party.
- Try to monitor alcohol, fizzy drink and caffeine consumption as they dehydrate your skin leaving it looking dull and dry.
- Try to avoid greasy, high fat fry ups the day after. Instead opt for a combination of wholegrain carbohydrates, protein and fat such as poached eggs on rye toast or porridge with yogurt and a few nuts.
- Nibble on nuts: brazil nuts are the best natural source of selenium, thought to be a wrinkle-zapping antioxidant and almonds, packed with vitamin E which helps skin heal and prevents scarring.
- Satsumas, a Christmas classic, are great for topping up vitamin C needed for collagen production (giving skin elasticity). Other brightly coloured fruit and veg are also great.
- Dried fruit such as figs and dates are full of iron which helps prevent anaemia and pale skin, dark eye circles and weak nails.
- Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to support the skin and reduce inflammation.
- If you skin is really dry, try putting some lavender oil in your bath or shower and don’t forget to moisturise. Don’t forget to look for one with SPF or UVA protection if you want to beat the wrinkles. Olive or almond oil has been suggested as a tonic for very dry skin.