Thursday, January 25, 2018

TIME TO SAVE FACE: Pamper Your Post-Holiday Skin

As much as I enjoy all the festive cocktails, delicious food and late nights celebrating with family and friends over the holidays, I pay for it in January and the price is a puffy face, raccoon circles under the eyes and dry, blotchy skin.
Did the holidays leave you with a less-than fabulous face? I've laid out my top tips for a return to 'normal' that will have you looking as fresh as a daisy faster than you can say 'how many days till Christmas?'

All that sugar, dairy and refined carbohydrate you've been indulging in can wreak havoc on your skin because they can cause inflammation, uneven skin tone and irritations where there weren’t before. Commit to a clean eating plan for at least seven days. Toss any of the less-than-healthy leftovers still lurking in your fridge and start filling your plate half-full of vegetables (stick with anything green or yellow in colour) and devote the rest to lean protein (Poached or grilled salmon with brown rice and broccoli would be a perfect choice). If you start to feel really tired or cranky, it's the lack of carbs that is making you feel that way so grab yourself a healthy wholegrain option without overdoing it. There is no need to completely punish your body and that is exactly what you are doing when you go from full holiday eating mode right to pretending you are a castaway on a deserted island. Your goal is to stick with your meal plan for at least 7 days before you actually see results so listen to your body.
Cut out the dairy altogether if you can, as it will give your digestive system a break and will decrease puffiness while improving your skin tone. The old “water = beauty” advice is right on, but only when done properly. Drink plenty, just not at the same time as your food, when drinking can dilute your digestive enzymes and make the process of digestion harder on your body. Instead, drink 1.5 litres throughout your day, sipped between meals or at least 20 minutes before eating.
And for those who aren't usually big water drinkers, as an alternative try adding fresh ginger, lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper to green tea.

Lack of quality sleep will wreak havoc on your whole being, physically and mentally. I am a big believer that the winter blues we start to feel around the middle of January (and usually last till the end of February) have as much to do with the extended lack of proper sleep we get over the holidays as it does with the minimal sunshine (Vitamin D) our bodies get when we spend too much time indoors avoiding the cold temps. Make sure you start to unwind earlier in the evening, keep your bedroom at a cool temperature and try your best to avoid tech stimulation for at least an hour before you would like to nod off. I've also read that keeping your tech (phones, iPads, televisions etc.) on and in the bedroom with you is a big no-no since their screens continue to emit the blue light which works as a stimulant even when the gadgets are in sleep mode. Designate another space away from your bedroom as a charging station, plug those bad boys in and walk away.
A recent study I came across found people who had a glass of cherry juice before settling into bed not only slept longer, but also better. This is due to high levels of melatonin in the cherries. If cherry juice is not something you can locate easily at your local grocery store or doesn't tickle your taste buds, try a melatonin supplement (available at any pharmacy) and look for a time-released version but make sure you take it at least an hour before retiring.

Daily exercise that will get your heart pumping and circulation going should always be your first weapon when you feel and look sluggish but how about a little activity for your face? Stimulate your skin each day with a face massage to help to clear impurities, stimulate lymph drainage and reduce puffiness.
Make a loose fist and using your knuckles, gently massage all over your face, starting from the centre and working out. Get rid of puffiness by using your fingertips to gently tap the orbital bone around your eye socket (I like to go in a clockwise rotation). During the winter we have a lot of central heating on, which dries out your skin to the max (it also wreaks havoc on your sinuses. Dry, irritated and inflamed sinuses will only make your eyes puffier and under-eye circles look even darker) so I reach for products that contain hyaluronic acid which are super because they really lock in moisture and give your skin a dewy appearance. Double up on the hyaluronic acid with a daily supplement (I love this one and use it everyday). It's the hyaluronic acid that is found in almost every one of our cells that keeps our skin plump. Our levels decrease as we age, as early as our 30's for some. Also, try exfoliating daily or at least every other day with a gentle scrub to speed up the shedding of dull, flaky skin. Look for products that contain glycolic or salicylic acid. They will lightly exfoliate the top flaky layers of your skin and will help your skin absorb other products. Swap your usual night cream for one that contains vitamin A to do the same thing as you sleep.

Less is more when you skin is on the edge and after weeks of heavy holiday party makeup, give yourself a break and change up your usual routine. Start with a good primer which will temporarily fill lines and wrinkles and give your skin a soft-focus look. Keep foundation light by mixing it with a little of your moisturizer (place a pea sized amount of foundation in your palm, use half of that amount of your moisturizer and mix together before applying) or look for a lighter version of your favorite brand and apply sparingly. Stick to a glossy neutral lip color as close to your natural lip hue as possible and avoid the matte variations which have a tendency to be really drying (we are trying to combat dryness in general). Wide awake eyes are easy to fake by using an eyelash curler and a few of light coats of mascara. I like to use a mascara primer before applying mascara to help keep it in place and avoid the dark smudges underneath the eye I always get a few hours after applying mascara which does nothing to help with under-eye circles. Avoid heavy eyeliner on your bottom lash-line which will make your peepers look even beadier.
And since no amount of make-up wizardry will make your eyes look fresh if they are irritated and bloodshot, I am a big fan of eye drops like Visine to rid you of any redness. A couple of drops in each eye before you start your makeup routine should do the trick., Inc.

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