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Hide Your Booze
An occasional glass of wine is one thing. But heavy drinking —whether it’s a one-night binge or a regular habit — is nearly as bad for your skin as it is for your liver. “Alcohol dehydrates...and causes your face to look bloated and puffy,” says Annie Chiu, dermatologist and founder of The Derm Institute in Redondo Beach, CA. “It also deprives skin of vital vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamins C and A, antioxidants needed for collagen production.” Translation: The more glasses you throw back, the faster you're aging your skin.
Sugary mixed drinks are especially bad. Sugar causes inflammation, exacerbating conditions like acne and rosacea in the short-term and damaging cells and collagen long-term, says Chiu. If you do go on a margarita bender (it happens), down lots of water the next morning, cut out caffeine (which will further dehydrate you), and replenish your skin’s moisture with a hydrating sheet mask followed by a hyaluronic-acid-based moisturizer.
Grab Some Greens
A less-than-stellar diet will show in your skin. But the good news is, a healthy one will, too. “What you eat affects your hormone balance, which can cause acne and create or lessen inflammation,” says Chiu. So follow an antioxidant-rich diet to nourish and protect both your body and your skin.
If you're already mentally meal planning, Chiu suggests loading up on foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium (found in foods like brown rice or eggs), beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re particularly pimple-prone, steer clear of foods with a high glycemic index, says dermatologist Whitney Bowe. Foods like white bread, white rice, cookies, and cakes are known to increase breakouts. We're not telling you to cut out all the fun stuff, just keep things in moderation.
Hit The Sheets
Need another reason to hit the sheets early? Beauty sleep is a real thing, friends. “Less than six hours of sleep a night will negatively impact your appearance,” says Chiu. “When you’re asleep, the...nervous system takes over, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the skin and building more collagen.” Skimp on the ZZZs and your body concentrates blood flow around your internal organs, not your skin, which is bad news for lines and wrinkles — both immediately and over time.
Lack of sleep breeds puffiness, too. “Excess fluids and toxins are drained when you sleep, so if you don’t get enough rest...you’ll look puffy — especially around the eyes where there's less fat.” Other super-fun side effects: dark circles, dullness, and zits. If you do have a night or two where you toss and turn, you can give your skin a temporary wake-up call with the right products. We like Clarins Booster Energy, which is packed with ginseng, known for its stimulating properties. Add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer to quickly perk up a dull complexion.
Easier said than done, we get it. But here’s why you’ll want to at least try: “When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which causes sugar levels in your blood to increase, damaging collagen and increasing oil production that leads to acne, fine lines, and wrinkles,” says Chiu. Stress can also cause psoriasis or eczema flare-ups and can even dry out your skin.
For the good of your face (not to mention your psyche), try to find ways to chill out. Get a massage, drop in on hot yoga, or just take some breaks throughout your day to mindfully breathe in and out, says Bowe.
“At night, you remove dirt, grime, and sweat that have accumulated all day, which can cause inflammation and barrier damage over time.” But if you think cleansing just at night is enough — think again. As you sleep, you slough off dead skin cells and dirt that need to be washed away. “[An a.m. cleanse also] gives you a clean, blank canvas for a better, longer-lasting sunscreen application,” says Chiu.