Tips to keep skin looking its best over the holidays

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It's that time of year when we all want to look our best, but for many of us, there's a good chance that our skin conditions might worsen over the holidays.

Stress, cold weather, overindulgence and winter viruses come hand-in-hand with the holidays, but fortunately treatment and lifestyle tips can help.

Q: What can I do about psoriasis flare-ups over the holidays?

A: Between the physical discomfort of your skin lesions and concern about camouflaging your condition, or handling people's remarks and stares, holiday stress can cause your psoriasis symptoms to worsen.

Stress-reduction therapies such as massage or yoga might be beneficial.

Despite the temptation, avoid going overboard with holiday indulgences. Follow a healthy lifestyle - eat healthy foods and get regular exercise.

Q: What can I do to quickly get rid of pimples? I get impatient and end up "popping" them.

A: We've all done it - popped the pimple then regretted it when we saw the red blotchy mark it left. Popping a pimple can make things worse, irritating it further, spreading the bacteria and even leaving a permanent scar.

Instead, wash the problem area with a gentle cleanser. Avoid irritants such as oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hairstyling products or blemish concealers. Also, try to avoid resting your hands or objects (like cell phones) on your face.

Q: My rosacea always flares up over the holidays. Is there anything I can do to help manage it?

A: The holidays can pose some hurdles for rosacea suffers. The changing weather, combined with a heavy social calendar, can wreak havoc on rosacea. Here are a few suggestions to navigate the holiday season successfully:

  • Now more than ever is the time to use your rosacea medication.
  • A hectic schedule can lead to stress-inducing flare-ups. Get plenty of rest, eat right, maintain a daily exercise routine and, above all, don't over-commit yourself.
  • Holiday cooking can quickly heat up the kitchen and lead to a rosacea flare-up. Keep a damp towel nearby to pat your face, and take a break to a cooler part of the house when you can.

Q: Once the cold weather arrives, my lips stay chapped. Help!

A: Chapped lips are always a problem in the winter because your lips do not have hair follicles or oil glands to protect them like the rest of your skin.

Try moisturizing your lips daily, carry a lip balm or lipstick - and remember that licking your lips only makes it worse.

These are steps you can take (that don't include hibernating through the holiday season) to help your skin look its best. If you need aggressive treatment for any skin condition, call a dermatologist.

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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