Along with all the fun and festivities, party season can bring with it a host of cosmetic complaints.
Waking up with a hangover 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 specialises in dermatology and founder of Decree skincare.
We asked Sturnham to give us the lowdown on the 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. Follow these steps to tackle five pesky party season problems…
1. Acne breakouts
Cause: "Heavy make-up, sleeping in make-up, food and drink high in sugar, late nights, stress."
How to tackle it: "Avoid occlusive, heavy-coverage long-wear concealers, foundations and compact powders. Instead, look for mineral-based make-up. The particles are so fine in this type of make-up, 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 make-up sitting in pores.
"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."
2. Dull Skin
Cause: "Our skin cell remodelling 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 beautiful radiant glow. It removes complexion dulling dead skin cells and allows fresh healthy 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 sensitive winter skin. The exception is lactic acid, as it has moisture-loving humectant properties, helping to hydrate as well as gently exfoliate."
Cause: "This underlying inflammatory skin condition can be aggravated by cold weather, red wine, 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 make-up where possible to avoid pore clogging.
"Use gentle cream or gel based, non-foaming cleansers, follow with a rebalancing toner and a hydrating, epidermal barrier restorative serum, rich in ingredients such as ceramides and squalane. Do this AM and PM. Treat the skin once a week to a salicylic acid based clay mask treatment.
"We know rosacea can flare in the winter so I advise seeing a skin specialist for skincare guidance."
4. Puffy Eyes
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 make-up. Late nights, salty food and alcohol can also be a trigger."
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."
5. Dark circles
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 anti-oxidant which helps relieve fluid build-up around the eyes and improves the appearance of dark circles."