How to help your skin recover after Christmas

Laura Mulley OK! beauty Editor

By Laura Mulley

Laura is OK!'s beauty editor and covers celebrity beauty news, product launches and beauty hacks.

The Christmas holidays are over for another year – but you may still be seeing the effects of all that festive fun in your skin. Days filled with alcohol, cheese, neverending tubs of chocolates, late nights, TV box set binges and seasonal stress can have a real effect on your complexion, resulting in skin that’s more dry, dehydrated, dull or prone to breakouts than normal.

And the experts agree. “A spiked increase in sugar can wreak havoc with our skin,” says skincare formulator and founder of Skin Masterclass Cigdem Kemal Yilmaz, referring to the less-than healthy eating habits that usually occur around Christmas. “Sugar breaks down collagen and elastin – the proteins that give your skin shape, structure, and firmness – and skin can start to look lined, saggy, dry and lacklustre. Excess sugar consumption can also increase the risk of acne breakouts. 

“On top of this, alcohol also has a negative impact on vitamin A levels, which is a key antioxidant to help fight the signs of ageing. Alcohol can also be incredibly dehydrating." 

If this sounds like your skin right now, don’t panic, as there are some easy steps to get your complexion back to looking its best. Cigdem shares her top tips on how to give skin some much-needed recovery in the new year… 

1) Drink lots of water

"Concentrate on rehydrating your system with a healthy dose of H2O,” she says. “It'll do your skin the world of good and will help to reduce the puffiness that often hangs around after nights of drinking. Keep up with the water consumption in January and by February it won't even feel like a task!"

2) Skip retinol

"We all love retinol, but there are a few times it's best to avoid it, i.e. when your skin is feeling more sensitive and drier. Retinols can dry out the skin so if you still have signs of dehydration due to alcohol consumption, wait a few days before using retinol again and rehydrate your skin instead." 

Alternatively try switching to more gentle skin-rejuvenating ingredients such as bakuchiol.

3) Depuff eyes

"Having puffy eyes is usually the main side effect of ‘partying too hard’,” says Cigdem. Tackle this with soothing tools like ice globes (or even cucumber slices!) and eye creams that help to depuff and refresh.

And you’ll find two eye care products that are perfect for perking up your peepers inside the latest OK! Beauty Box Winter Wonderland Edit: Wild Science Lab Night Shift Renewal Eye Serum, which contains bakuchiol (see above), and a Sensory Retreats Dreamy Eyes Self-Heating Eye Mask, a warming, soothing mask that will help to relax tired eyes.

The Winter Wonderland Edit contains six seasonal beauty treats worth an impressive £105 in total, but new subscribers can pick it up for just £7.50 when they sign up here.

4) Exfoliate

"Using a gentle exfoliant such as lactic acid not only removes dead and old skin but also increases circulation, which helps your skin recover more quickly," says Cigdem.

5) Use a face mask

"Dehydrated skin looks and feels sallow and dry, so using a rich hydrating face mask can restore moisture into your skin. A face mask that contains hyaluronic acid tops up the skin's hydration levels and acts as a magnet for moisture."

6) Moisturise

"This is pretty obvious, but after losing so much moisture in your skin from drinking or being out in the cold, you have to work on getting that moisture back. Use a moisturiser with hydration-boosting ingredients such as urea, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and fatty acids," Cigdem advises.

You’ll find all of these moisture-boosting ingredients inside the brilliant Eclat Skin London Hyaluronic Acid + Shea Butter Day Cream, which is also included inside the Winter Wonderland OK! Beauty Box. This moisturiser alone is worth £59.99, so you’ll be saving a fortune on it by signing up for this month’s box – and your skin will thank you for it!