The festive season is fast approaching. This often means that our evenings are filled with after work drinks, quick catch ups and long-awaited festive themed parties. As fun as this time is, it can have a detrimental impact on our skin. Here, Aimee Benbow, Technical Services Director at leading ethical vitamins company Viridian Nutrition, reveals the 4 party season habits that will disrupt the skin the most, along with advice on how to counteract damage.
The Perils of the Christmas Cocktail
The festive season often ignites a wave of social events that involve the consumption of alcohol. It is no secret that a sudden increase in alcohol intake has a negative impact on a person’s internal organs however, it can also play havoc with our skin.
“Alcohol is one of the fastest ways to dehydrate the skin”, says Aimee Benbow at Viridian Nutrition. “It holds practically no nutritional value and will drain the skin of its essential oils and nutrients. Depriving the skin of moisture will see it appear dull, lacklustre and even aged.”
According to Benbow, it is not just moisture that the skin is deprived of through alcohol. “Vitamin A is a nutrient that supports the immune system and is essential for the eyes and skin. The excessive consumption of alcohol can rob the body of Vitamin A and lead it to look dull and lacklustre in appearance. We obtain vitamin A from food sources as either retinol or beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is the best way to get Vitamin A because the body converts it at the rate required thereby eliminating the possibility of toxicity. If you have a jam-packed festive diary that involves a lot of alcohol, I would strongly advise taking a beta-carotene supplement in order to ensure that you do not deprive the body of essential Vitamin A.”
“Alcohol beverages are often laden with sugar and are considered ‘high’ on the glycaemic index. Consequently, when we drink wine, beer and cocktails, we get a sudden spike in the body’s insulin levels. This spike in our sugar levels can trigger inflammation of the skin and even conditions such as Acne and Rosacea.”
“High consumption of sugar ensures more bad news for those that enjoy Christmas cocktails. Sugar binds to proteins in a process referred to as ‘glycation’ which in turn leads to the production of ‘AGEs’ which are responsible for overall ageing. Therefore, large intakes of sugar accelerate the ageing process and pave the way to premature ageing. Water is also essential after an evening of cocktails to prevent dehydration of the skin. Ensure that you drink plenty in the days after.”
‘I Need a Fry Up’
Excessive drinking often leads to fast food and a craving for a fried breakfast. It is a common belief that a traditional English breakfast is the best hangover cure and a heavy night on the town can often pave the way to an increase in appetite for several days. Many believe that food cravings and an increase in appetite is simply part of the parcel when you are enjoying a drink however, there is science behind it. Alcohol urges the brain to release galanin, a chemical that ignites a craving for fatty foods. Even after a good night’s sleep post night out, your galanin levels will be higher than usual.
“Consuming heavy amounts of poor-quality fats can result in outbreaks” reveals Benbow. “Foods that are fried use high amounts of oil which are heavily processed and refined. This will lead to oilier skin and in turn, trigger outbreaks. You can ensure your skin is nourished with flax seed or hemp seed oil. These contain healthy fats, rich in omega 3, which aid in skin tone and fluidity.”
‘I Am too Tired to Take My Make-Up Off’
We have all been guilty of sleeping in our make-up ‘just once’ however, it can be detrimental to the skin’s health. “If you sleep with your make-up on, you are essentially neglecting your skin” says Benbow. “Several make up products contain silicones that work to clog the pores and therefore, sleeping in them is a sure-fire way to trigger outbreaks. If your skin type is oily or acne prone, then you are especially susceptible to this outcome.”
According to Benbow, clogged pores is not the only consequence of sleeping in your make-up. “People often assume that when you cleanse the skin, your prime objective is to remove all make-up however, this is not the only reason. Make-up captures free radicals such as dirt, pollution and bacteria which can damage the skins DNA and collagen. This results in premature ageing.”
“Sleep is not just a means to gain energy. Sleep allows the body to efficiently repair itself and aids in skin renewal via the growth hormone. Sleeping in your make-up will not halt the production of the growth hormone but it will serve as a barrier to its function meaning that it’s less efficient. For instance, the growth hormone aids in cell renewal and works to push new cells up to the epidermis and shed the old ones. If you wear make-up to bed, the old cells are unable to shed and therefore the skin will lack radiance. Younger skin types exert a glow and a lack of glow and radiance can signal the first signs of ageing. Supplemental antioxidants such as Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) have been well researched to quell free radicals which particularly impact skin.”
‘I Got No Beauty Sleep’
A packed social calendar often sees that the quality of our sleep suffers with a combination of several late nights and early starts. Lack of sleep lowers your complexions pH levels. The decline of pH levels creates an imbalance within the skin and sees that it looks uneven, dull and lacklustre. Ultimately, sleep is food for your skin. Depriving your skin of sleep will impact the skin in ways that is difficult to rectify. “We can become obsessed with numbers when it comes to sleep”, says Benbow. “People often proclaim that 8 hours is perfect however, everyone is different. Some people will need more, and some people will need less. Do not attempt several late nights in a row and ensure that you get some much-needed rest over the festive period. This will not only give your body a chance to restore but will improve concentration levels and productivity throughout the day. Deficiency in the essential mineral magnesium has shown to result in low levels of melatonin which may impair sleep. Increasing magnesium intake may offer support to getting a good night’s sleep.”