Along with all the fun and festivities, party season can bring with it a host of cosmetic complaints. Waking up groggy is bad enough, but when you work up the courage to peek in the mirror – only to discover massive eye bags and a constellation of spots sprouting across your chin – it’s enough to make you want to go straight back to bed.
Help is at hand, however, in the form of beauty guru Dr. Anita Sturnham, a GP who specializes in dermatology and founder of Decree skincare. We asked Sturnham to give us the lowdown on the pesky skin issues that are most common at this time of year, and she had some useful advice on how to both prevent and treat them. Listen in.
Cause: “Our skin cell remodeling cycle tends to slow down over the winter months, [which can mean] lots of old, dull-looking skin hanging around on the surface layers.”
How to tackle it: “This is where gentle exfoliation can save the day and give your skin a radiant glow. It removes complexion-dulling dead skin cells and allows fresh skin cells to reach the surface, resulting in skin that looks bright and healthy. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in some products are often harder to tolerate in sensitive winter skin. The exception is lactic acid as it has moisture-loving humectant properties, helping to hydrate as well as gently exfoliate.”
Cause: “Heavy makeup, sleeping with makeup on, food and drink high in sugar, late nights, stress.”
How to tackle it: “Avoid heavy-coverage and long-wear concealers, foundations, and compact powders. Instead, look for mineral-based makeup. The particles are so fine in this type of makeup that the products don’t clog pores [as much], yet still give good coverage. I love bareMinerals. Also, use an effective cleanser before bed. Clay-based cleansers purge the skin of dead skin cells and makeup sitting in pores.
“I recommend using the Decree ‘Deep Cleanse’ as it contains a low dose of salicylic acid and lactic acid to gently resurface the skin, as well as an oil-regulating clay. If you are prone to oily skin and breakouts, then you should also skip daily primers. Acting as an occlusive layer, this product also clogs pores and can lead to dull and lifeless-looking skin. To shrink spots, try massaging with an ice cube for around 15 seconds before bed. The ice will help to shrink inflammation. Look for mineral-based concealers with skincare actives, such as salicylic acid, that can relieve breakouts whilst covering blemishes.”
Cause: “This underlying inflammatory skin condition can be aggravated by cold weather, alcohol, central heating, and spicy foods.”
How to tackle it: “Less is more with rosacea skin. Don’t overload it with too many products, and use mineral makeup where possible to avoid pore clogging. Use gentle cream or gel-based/non-foaming cleansers, then follow with a rebalancing toner and a hydrating, epidermal barrier restorative serum that is rich in ingredients such as ceramides and squalane. Do this morning and night. Treat the skin once a week to a salicylic acid-based clay mask.”
Cause: “Puffy eyes are caused by a build-up of fluid around the eyes. While some degree of puffiness can be normal, it can also suggest an underlying problem, such as an allergy to your skin products or makeup. Late nights, salty food, and alcohol can also be triggers.”
How to tackle it: “Keep a hyaluronic acid eye sheet mask in the fridge, and use this after a night out. The hyaluronic acid will plump and hydrate, while the soothing cold mask will cause vasoconstriction and reduce inflammation. For an extra ‘at home facial’ touch, use a facial roller over the top of the mask to gently boost lymph drainage.”
Cause: “As with puffy eyes, late nights, salty food, and alcohol can make dark circles worse.”
How to tackle it: “Look for eye creams containing soothing plant extracts – recent studies show that yeast extract is effective at reducing both puffiness and dark circles. Aloe is a soothing natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that helps relieve fluid build-up around the eyes and improves the appearance of dark circles.”