Party Season Skin Survival Kit!
Party season is in full swing, time to dust off the little black dress and santa hat and hit the town. Christmas and New Years Eve parties can see us consuming 2500-3000 calories on snacks and alcohol. Party food, alcohol, late nights can all leave us feeling tired, achey and hungover, but what impact does the partying have on your skin? Nutritionist Sarah Flower offers advice to keep your skin in optimum condition and how to maintain that healthy glow throughout.
Alcohol consumption increases in the UK by 40% in December. Acohol can also increase our appetite and weaken our willpower, so you are more likely to overindulge on those festive nibbles. Alcohol can have a negative impact on the health of our liver, which, in turn, can manifest as skin problems such as acne, blemishes and dull skin. We are also more prone to bloating and digestive problems as our liver struggles to detoxify. Alcohol consumption, especially if on a regular basis, can also deplete us of Omega 3, making us more prone to inflammatory conditions, impaired brain function and has even been linked to depression and anxiety.
Top tip! I am not saying you all have to avoid alcohol, but be more aware. If you have had a bit of a party binge, you may prefer to make every other drink a soft drink, helping to rehydrate between alcoholic drinks. In order to detoxify after an overindulgance, drink plenty of water and top up on vitamin-rich alkalising vegetable smoothies, combining with some supergreen powder to add a range of nutrients such as magnesium, V vitamins and antioxidants. You may feel like doing very little, especially when hungover, but excerise, even a brisk walk, helps kick your lymphatic system into clear-out mode, helping you detoxify.
The Christmas Hangover
- Vitamin C – helps replace lost nutrients and balance electrolytes
- Rehydrate! This is vital as alcohol and its effects are dehydrating. It will also help remove toxins from your system quicker.
- Milk Thistle is an excellent herb for over indulgence! It helps cleanse the body and in particular, the liver of toxins.
- Eat and protein/healthy fat meal such as bacon, eggs, avocados.
Our skin and body needs water in order to detoxify and process essential nutrients. It also helps to plump up the skin, giving a far better appearance as we age. Central heating can dry out our skin, leaving it dry and dull. Our skin and body needs water in order to detoxify and process essential nutrients, so it even more vital when you are overindulging in alcohol and party food. Lotions can claim to have hydrating affects, but they tend to have a humectant effect of drawing moisture either from the air or from the deeper layers of skin tissue (in affect, making the dehydrated skin worse, particularly in winter months when our atmosphere is very dry due to central heating.
Top Tip! Feed your skin from within by using powerful boosters such as Hyaluronic Acid, a gel-like substance that can hold almost 1000 times its own weight of water which helps puff up the skin and is extremely hydrating. Wrinkles and fine lines are usually a result of a dehydrated skin as well as a breakdown of collagen. 95% of the dermis is made of collagen. Collagen and Elastin makes our skin firm so as this depletes, so, unfortunately, does our smooth skin. I would recommend an oral drink such as Collagen Extra Marine, which also contains Hyaluronic acid, as well as vitamins and magnesium. Replenish your skin on your return by drinking lots of water, limiting caffeine and alcohol, and eating plenty of hydrating foods such as cucumber, melon, fruits and green leafy vegetables. Staying hydrated with water will also keep you fuller for longer and stop you nibbling.
Poor food choices
Party food can be very addictive. Most of us are unware of what we are consuming as we eat mindlessly, especially on salty snacks. Buffets are very tempting, but they full of beige food, empty nutrients and high calories and carbohydrates. Limiting processed foods, fried foods, alcohol and sugars makes a massive difference to our skin and hair health. Sugar can upset our natural bowel flora, which in turn, also lowers our immune system, making your more prone to infection and poor health. Your liver is also affected, becoming sluggish, and if you have a high fructose diet, can also become fatty, putting you at risk of fatty liver disease. When our liver is compromised, we start to notice more problematic skin as we are unable to detoxify efficiently. Sugar produces AGE’s, which stands for Advanced Glycation End products. This has been linked to a multitude of diseases, but also affects our skin. Glycated collagen is produced which ages the skin, makes it less flexible and therefore produces wrinkles. Interestingly, you produce more Glycated collagen from fructose, so you need to avoid high fructose corn syrups, fruit concentrates and smoothies. You can also get more AGE from eating a diet rich in fried foods.
Top Tip! During party season, fill up when you can on real food, ideally protein rich to help keep you fuller for longer. Eat before you leave for the party so you are less likely to snack on the inappropriate foods. It will also help to line your stomach if you are consuming alcohol. If you are going straight from work, pop some heatlhy snacks into your bag
Smoking and Smokey Environments does not just have a detrimental effect on our health, it also dramatically ages our skin. Smokers also tend to have far more lines around their mouth and nose than non-smokers. If you are a smoker, you will benefit from giving up. You will also benefit from taking additional vitamin C, Vitamin E and zinc supplementation.
A Helping Hand
There are a range of supplements that can help keep you and your skin in tip top condition. Top of my list is the oral drink such as Collagen Extra Marine, which also contains Hyaluronic acid, as well as vitamins and magnesium, but you can also top up with any of the following:
Astaxanthin (found in krill oil, salmon, lobster and crab), is a great antioxidant that also helps protect us from oxidative damage, and when combined with Vitamin E can help protect us from premature ageing. It helps to lubricated the skin, improve elasticity and can help reduce pigmentation and dark circles under the eyes. It also boost skin cell regeneration, helping to repair and renew your skin. Krill oil is also a good antioxidant and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Packed with omega 3, I prefer taking Krill oil to fish oil as it does not have a fishy aftertaste. Krill also is also great for your hair, helping to hydrate the scalp and reduce inflammation.
Vitamins & Minerals – vitamin C and E are vital for skin health as well as collagen production, but can also help you recover from an over-indulgance. Zinc is a great mineral for skin health, aiding with collagen production and helps to keep the skin smooth. Try to fill up with a range of colourful fruit and vegetables, which are also rich in antioxidants.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin – Lutein is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale. This helps protect the skin from damage as well as increases hydration and skin elasticity.
Resveratrol – found in red wine and some berries, this is a great antioxidant and can help protect us from sun damage, pigmentation and premature wrinkles. This is not the green flag to consume lots of red wine, as the alcohol content will obliterate any great affects. Instead look for supplementation that contains Resveratrol.
You may feel that your body needs a bit of a cleanse to remove any unwanted toxins and improve a sluggish digestion. Along with a good quality probiotic, you will also need to eat an alkaline diet, with plenty of fresh vegetables, limit caffeine and drink plenty of water. You may also find some benefit from the following:
Skin brushing can help improve your lymphatic drainage. Do this dry, not on a wet body. Brush towards your heart. This improves your circulation and aids the lymphatic system, helping your body eliminate more waste.
Epsom Salt Baths
These can increase circulation, aid the lymphatic system and help your relax. The high magnesium content helps ease aching muscles. Seek your doctors advice if you have any health problems, high or low blood pressure or are pregnant.
Your liver may need a helping hand whilst you are detoxing. This is an excellent herb, otherwise known as Silymarin. You can buy this in liquid or capsule form. Take daily as directed by the manufacturer. I would advise you continue with this for at least 1 week after finishing your detox.
By Sarah Flower, Author, Nutritionist and freelance Journalist!
For more information on Sarah, her work and recipes visit www.sarahflower.co.uk
Visit her Sugar Free Group on Facebook