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How To Cure Your Skin’s Hangover

Here’s how to combat the effects that holiday libations can have on your skin during the winter season

Whether it’s the Peppermint Schnapps, whiskey neat, mulled wine, or the New Year’s champagne toast, the holidays are all about celebrating with spirited glass in-hand. While the parties will end and your headache will fade, what about the toll those holiday soirées have on your skin?

Dr. Stanley Poulos, board-certified San Francisco Plastic Surgeon is an expert in all things skin-related, as it’s the largest organ we have and need to protect. Dr. Poulos explains how alcohol dehydrates your body, which in turn, can result in adding years to your face in the form of wrinkles, poor texture and lack of radiance. “Since alcohol increases your blood flow, it often causes blood vessels in your face to dilate (sometimes permanently) and often burst, leaving behind broken capillaries and red spots that are difficult to get rid of,” Dr. Poulos says.

While the obvious tips for bright skin start with hydration, that should start long before the morning after. Dr. Poulos recommends balancing one glass of water with each cocktail consumed for optimal minimization of unwanted effects. Besides increased water consumption and your typical before-bed cleanse, keep reading for other remedies that can help reverse the ramifications of alcohol on your skin’s appearance from Dr. Poulos.

Prop pillows and use tea
One way to minimize the eye and face puffiness is to sleep on two pillows, slightly propped up. In the morning, rubbing ice cubes all over your face helps, too. “One of the best ways to deflate eye puffiness and reduce the redness is to place cold tea bags over the eyes. The tannins in the tea help constrict blood vessels,” adds Dr. Poulos.

Cover up what you can’t cure
To camouflage the redness in the face, use a green-tinted primer before applying makeup, which should help neutralize any redness. If you must use foundation, look for a lightweight, moisturizing formula. Avoid powders, as they are often more drying.

Consider lasers
When at-home remedies aren’t making much of a difference, there are pricier measures you can take to minimize the effects of alcohol. “Certain laser treatments can reduce redness and spider veins on the face. It’s important to see someone who is well-trained to administer the laser treatment,” suggests Dr. Poulos.

Choose your booze wisely
If you are going to consume alcohol, know that different alcohols have different effects on the skin. As a general rule, the clearer, the better. Vodka, gin, and tequila leave your system quicker. “If you’re going to drink anything, drink vodka that doesn’t have a grain in it, like potato vodka. It’s a lot clearer and smoother, so it gets in and out of your body quickly,” says Dr. Poulos. Most physicians agree that although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, if you can remember to drink in moderation and stay hydrated, you can save your skin.

Reach for Caffeine
Grab an extra-large coffee, then give your skin a little caffeine boost, too. Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels and is a good option after a night of drinking, since alcohol dilates blood vessels. “This can make the area around your eyes look puffy and bloated,” explains Dr. Poulos, who recommends keeping an eye cream with caffeine handy.

Go for Yogurt
Dr. Poulos advises applying it as a face mask and to make sure it’s plain yogurt. Because it’s anti-inflammatory, it will help soothe redness, another side effect of drinking too much, especially for those who have rosacea, he notes. Leave it on for five to ten minutes before rinsing.

Put Your Face on the Rocks
“Take the ice cubes out of the freezer, put them in a hand towel and rub them over your face,’ says Dr. Poulos. He suggests doing this to minimize puffiness and swelling. Use cold teaspoons to de-puff around the eye area.

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