Naughty habits like overindulgence in junk food and alcohol affect your skin in different ways
Is a champagne, cigarette and carb-filled lifestyle catching up with your skin? While detoxing from the inside out after an indulgent spell should always be your focus, why not nourish your outside with a stint of skin rehab too?
To arm you with the arsenal needed to help your skin recover, we asked NYC-based dermatologist Dr Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center, to break down the most common signs partying has taken a toll on your skin, and the fastest ways to fix each.
If you’re dealing with: Dull, dry skin
Cause: Smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Effect: ‘Results in an increase of a stress hormone called cortisol which diverts important nutrients and blood flow to the more vital organs, leading to dull skin.’
Fix: ‘Skin-brightening ingredients such as vitamin C, fruit extracts, lactic acid, glycolic acids, and retinols can all be helpful in improving skin tone. Hyaluronic acid is one of my favourite ingredients for plumping, moisturising and retaining water.”
If you’re dealing with: Under-eye bags and dark circles
Cause: Lack of sleep
Effect: ‘Skin goes into a repair mode from regenerating new skin cells and repairing the damage. Chronic lack of sleep causes dilation of blood vessels, darkening the appearance of circles and swelling under the eyes.’
Fix: While getting some shut-eye is one of the most important fixes, Dr Levin suggests adding an eye cream such as vitamin C. ‘The powerhouse antioxidant is integral to collagen production and will also brighten up the skin.”
If you’re dealing with: Enlarged pores and blemishes
Cause: Foods that are high in glycemic load — namely carb-dense foods — and alcohol
Effect: ‘A high sugar load increases blood levels of the hormone insulin, which triggers androgens, growth hormones and cell-signalling pathways, resulting in low-grade inflammation, more oil secretion, clogged pores and acne flares.’
Fix: ‘Retinoids are the absolute backbone of enlarged pores treatment, whether it’s blackheads or whiteheads.’ Dr Levin also suggests looking for acne-fighting ingredients benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic and lactic acid.
If you’re dealing with: Wrinkled, saggy skin
Cause: Sugar and fried foods along with stress, whether it’s caused by a crash diet or poor sleep, are factors in skin that looks aged
Effect: ‘Sugar molecules permanently bind to proteins, such as collagen and elastin. Once these proteins are cross-linked they’re unable to repair, leading to increased stiffness and reduced elasticity in the skin. Additionally, when you’re stressed, the body produces a specific stress hormone called cortisol, which breaks down collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, all affecting our skin’s elasticity.’
Fix: ‘Retinoids — a tried-and-true vitamin A derivative — that cause collagen production and remodelling. Peptides are also a great building block of proteins such as collagen, elastin and keratin, all important for skin texture.’
Product availability was checked at the time of publishing