4 Sneaky Things That Could Be Ruining Your Skin

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
You know the drill: It's Halloween night and you're looking fantastic. You've got three pounds of makeup on your face, you've eaten your weight in candy (and booze), and Hocus Pocus is queued up on your DVD player — in other words, you're in for one helluva night.

You stay up way past your bedtime engaging in all that ghoulish frivolity, and face-plant into your bed at 3 a.m., only to wake up at noon the next day looking (and feeling) less than fresh. The after-effects of too much Halloween partying aren't pretty, but fortunately for all of us there are things we can do to reverse the damage. Board-certified dermatologists Ted Lain, MD, and Julia Tzu, MD, shared all the details with us — check 'em out ahead.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Problem: Too Much Candy
One of the first things that comes to mind when we hear the word "Halloween" is definitely candy — and lots of it. This is basically the only time of year when we're surrounded by our favorite childhood indulgences — Kit Kats, candy corn, Jolly Ranchers — all day and night. But, as we're sure you've heard a thousand times, overloading on candy one day almost always means nursing a few pimples the next. "Candy consists of tons of simple carbohydrates, which are pro-inflammatory, [and that's] not good [for your skin]," says Dr. Tzu. "Eating too [many] simple carbohydrates accelerates aging of the skin and induces acne breakouts."
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The Solution
If you wake up the next morning with a few candy-induced pimples, set your sights on spot-treating the problem. "Acne flares can be treated with over-the-counter products that contain the correct ingredients, " says Dr. Lain. "For pimples and inflammation, look for products containing benzoyl peroxide or sulfur." We love this one from Clean & Clear, which contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. Smooth a thin layer of the product over your zits, and remember to moisturize morning and night because many acne medications can be drying.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Problem: Too Much Makeup
Half the fun of Halloween is experimenting with makeup (or heck, going for an entirely beauty-centric costume). But, unfortunately, wearing heavy makeup — or worse, falling asleep in said heavy makeup — can wreak havoc on your skin, resulting in "the blockage of pores, which can lead to acne, irritation, and inflammation," says Dr. Lain.
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The Solution
Your Snapchat rainbow costume may live on in infamy, but you could get stuck with a few extra mementos on your chin that you would much rather forget. Prep yourself before All Hallows' Eve, and stock up on a serious cleanser that will cut through all of the oil and grime in the heavy makeup you’ll be wearing. Then, be sure to cleanse really well the night you get home from your Halloween party (no excuses — you’ll regret it if you don’t). What makes this gel cleanser even better is that it has encapsulated salicylic acid, meaning the breakout-fighting medicine stays on your skin for hours after you’ve washed your face. Keep it up post-Halloween, and those chin zits will never see the light of day.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Problem: Too Much Booze
You probably already know about the effects booze has on your skin — dryness, blotchiness, and a generally lackluster complexion, to name a few. "The skin becomes dehydrated and appears dry, sunken, and filled with fine wrinkles," says Dr. Tzu.
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The Solution
"The key is to hydrate from within as well [as] without," says Dr. Tzu. She recommends drinking lots of water and using a heavy, cream-based moisturizer like this one from Avène. "And get some beauty sleep, so your skin [can] rest and repair itself from all the damage sustained during the day," she adds. The effects won't be immediate, but your skin will thank you.
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Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
The Problem: Not Enough Sleep
The effects of fatigue on the face are similar to those of a hangover — dry, dull skin with fine lines, according to Dr. Tzu. "Like the rest of the body, the skin has a natural circadian rhythm it needs to follow," she says. When you deprive your body of sleep, your skin doesn't have the time to recover from the previous day.
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The Solution
Moisturizing your skin is a must when you wake up in this state. Reach for your favorite moisturizer and even a soothing mask to do the job. To brighten the skin, both Dr. Lain and Dr. Tzu recommend smoothing on an antioxidant, vitamin C-based serum like this one from SkinCeuticals. "An antioxidant topical [can] be helpful in the repair process of the skin and to protect the skin from damage as well," says Dr. Lain.

So go forth and have all the fun this Halloween — just remember to give your skin the attention it needs before, during, and after.
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