Even if energy is high, holiday stress makes skin look tired

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The holidays are officially here - along with shopping, cooking, cleaning! There's too much celebrating, with too much food, too much drink and too much to do on too little sleep.

Just when you want to look sparkly and fabulous, your skin gets the holiday blues.

Here's the good news: There are things you can do to get your holiday glow on.

Q: What can I do to make sure my tired skin looks great for the holiday?

A: You should start treatment early in the season by increasing the moisture level in your skin. Also, laser treatments may be a great option for you to consider.

Q: I always seem to get dark circles during the holiday season. What's causing this?

A: It could be lack of sleep, lack of moisture or stress. Also drinking alcohol might add to skin dryness. Trade up to a richer, more emollient moisturizer, be sure to get enough rest, and be mindful of alcohol consumption.

Q: Even though I don't normally suffer from acne, my biggest holiday skin problem is breakouts. What can I do about this?

A: Do your best to manage stress. It causes women to produce more of the traditionally male hormone testosterone, and it's those surges that lead to holiday zits. You might try over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatments, placed directly on the pimple.

Q: After a holiday party I feel like my skin has a hangover. Is there anything I can do to look refreshed the next day?

A: While preventative measures are always the best route, there are a few things you can to do freshen up tired skin. Cold is the best solution for puffiness. You might try a 5-minute cold pack treatment. You might also try elevating your head while sleeping.

Alcohol dilates your blood vessels, and that is what allows the fluid to leave the vessels and enter the tissues, which in turn is what causes the puffiness. Sleeping with your head elevated can help the fluids drain from your puffy cheeks and eyes.

While stress is sometimes unavoidable during the holiday season, taking steps to manage stress, such as exercise, eating right or using relaxation techniques can help to make you feel more relaxed and may just improve the look of your skin as well.

Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps your skin look better. Make sure you drink water throughout the day and, if you are having a few drinks, increase the water you drink before going to bed and again the next day to avoid dry skin.

Laser treatments are another great option. If you think this might be a good plan for you, call a dermatologist to schedule a consultation and find the treatment that is right for you.

Dr. Oswald Lightsey Mikell, certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is the owner of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.

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