I am sure we all had a little too much alcohol and sugar and too little sleep (think Christmas parties…) over the festive season. So, in today’s blog post, I am going to talk about what we can do to minimise the damage! But first a quick recap on why the above could be a problem for our skin in the first place. Let’s start with alcohol…
Excess alcohol consumption has been shown in many studies to increase oxidative stress and microinflammation in our whole body including the skin. Chronic alcohol consumption has also been revealed to lead to mitochondrial dysfunction (mitochondria are the power houses of our cells) via generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), ie free radicals. But it doesn’t end there – excess alcohol intake has also been confirmed to shorten telomeres. Not speaking of disturbing our natural gut flora…
And you will all agree that drinking alcohol has of course also a tendency to dehydrate our skin and body.
Alcohol consumption has even been shown in a study from 2012 to make your breasts look less attractive (if that’s not enough to stop you from drinking…)!
And how about all those lovely Christmas cookies, sweets and sugary mulled wine (a double whammy…)?
Well, we know that eating too much sugar increases ‘glycation’ processes in the skin, a process where sugar molecules attach themselves to other molecules. Namely, glycation cross links important proteins in the skin, such as collagen, to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Sadly, these cross-links prevent collagen from performing its optimal function as a major supporting structure in our skin, so contribute significantly to premature skin ageing.
Sleep or lack thereof…
And then there often is the stress and lack of sleep often associated with Christmas preparations and parties in December. Both stress and sleep deprivation unfortunately cause cortisol levels to go up in our body (cortisol is one of our major stress hormones). This is bad for our skin and also contributes to premature skin ageing.
Sleep deprivation is also known to impair insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which lead to higher blood sugar levels (add cookies and mulled wine to the mix and you know what we are dealing with…). With regards to the skin, higher blood sugar levels mean higher generation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), which are known to accelerate the skin’s ageing process, as outlined about.
So, I strongly recommend trying to get 8 hours sleep every night, also to enable your skin cells to optimise repair and regeneration, which naturally happens overnight.
To moderate stress levels, why not try out meditation. I had been dabbing in and out of meditation for quite a few years, but since being introduced to Dr Joe Dispenza’s energy centre meditations last summer, have been quite diligent (long may it last!) and now do just under an hour each morning, which has made a huge difference for me personally.
So what other lifestyle adjustments could your skin benefit from in January?
Antioxidants and Co
As many of the discussed harmful effects of the festive season are mediated via free radicals, upping the intake of antioxidants certainly is a good idea. My preferred option for this is increasing antioxidant intake via natural wholefoods such as antioxidant rich fresh vegetables.
Systemic antioxidant supplements such as for example containing liposomal glutathione (our master antioxidant) amongst others can also help neutralise some of the pro-oxidative harms but is by no means a get-out-of-jail-free-card.
And of course, we don’t want to forget daily application of a high-grade antioxidant serum each morning! Have a look at EudeloBoutique.com to find my favourite ones.
Naturally, drinking lots and lots and lots of (ideally filtered) water will help counteract the effects of dehydration alcohol may have. Best however to drink this on the same evening (why not have two glasses of water for each glass of wine!), not just the day after, when your body is already dehydrated.
Ultimately many of the detrimental effects of festive season excesses lead to collagen destruction in the skin. The good news is that there are cosmeceutical ingredients that can help counteract this, the gold standard of which remain retinoids (ie vitamin A derivatives) such as retinol, retinaldehyde and prescription strength tretinoin.
I am also a fan of bovine collagen type I & 3 supplements such as Dermacoll (take 10g per day). These have been shown to be able increase natural collagen production in our skin (by providing the building blocks and tricking the skin into boosting endogenous collagen biosynthesis), which is anti-ageing and will help counteract the problems caused.
For best benefits to counteract collagen breakdown and damage over the festive season however, I strongly recommend a course of regenerative treatments. At Eudelo, our most popular regenerative treatment is PRP Needling, which combines natural growth factors derived from your own blood with the benefits of medical needling. This greatly boosts collagen production in the skin, improving skin quality, texture, firmness and elasticity and is a perfect post-Christmas boost for your skin.