How to Take Care of Your Skin During a Stressful Holiday Season

When it comes to the holidays, many look forward to the decorations, traditions, family time, and gift-giving. But those moments also tend to bring us stress, proving that if anything, joy and stress can co-exist. And while these sentiments can come and go, their impacts on our skin may be more long-lasting.

Increased stress is known to lead to breakouts, facial redness, darker under-eye circles, and puffiness. But stress isn’t the only issue regarding the holiday season, according to the experts. Board-certified dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD, says it’s also common to see skin reactions due to lack of quality sleep and dietary changes — which often include more alcohol and sugary foods during this time. As for resting, we know getting more sleep can sound cliché, but as she likes to remind patients: Lack of sleep means less cellular repair. 

That’s not all. Environmental factors also apply. The weather change can affect your skin in certain regions, often leading to drier skin during the colder months. “Skin tends to be overall more sensitive during the holiday season — combined with less healthy oil production during colder seasons,” stresses Dr. Ciraldo. 

However, don’t fret. There are ways in which you can prepare or treat your skin for this time of the year. Here, how to keep skin balanced amid the inevitable sensory overload.

Tweak your existing skincare routine

Dr. Ciraldo recommends taking a systemic approach to skin recovery during the holidays. You’ll want to identify the most efficient means of generating consistent and optimum results. Or, in other words, you’ll want to work with the routine you already have, making minor tweaks or additions while also not depriving yourself of holiday fun or your favorite food and drinks. For instance, if you’re waking up to dark circles several days in a row, take it as your cue to incorporate a vitamin C-packed eye cream, like Guava Vitamin C Bright-Eye Gel Cream, into your routine.

Think back to last year

Recall your most recent holiday seasons and how your skin might’ve reacted in the past during this time — this will help you cater to your specific needs. If you know your skin tends to get dry and rough, for example, reach for a formula like Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm, which both gently exfoliates and nourishes skin, all while making sure it’s thoroughly cleansed of makeup, sunscreen, and other residue. Then, follow up with Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream; it hydrates, plumps, and brings skin back into balance, keeping your complexion soft and smooth.

If you’re still looking for that freshly scrubbed result, meanwhile, you can reach for Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial that will give your skin that fresh start without over-drying it. For those with oiler skin that remains oily during this season or more acne-prone skin, consider incorporating a serum like Strawberry Smooth BHA+AHA Salicylic Serum, which uses a gentle (but strategic!) blend of acids to help keep pores clear and free of clogs.

Don’t sleep on your routine

No matter what texture or skin type you have, it’s essential to stick to your routine during this time. Since it’s easy to forget or miss your skincare routine (or two…) with all the holiday shopping and possible travel, you might want to set an alarm or find a reminder that works for you to avoid reactions. “I’ve had a lot of feedback from patients that they are missing nighttime routines during the holiday season,” adds Dr. Ciraldo. 

Enjoy yourself

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. After all: Skincare is a journey involving all of life’s moments, even the stressful. Dr. Ciraldo also adds that this is a time for yourself, and much stress can come from forgetting to cater to ourselves. “Enjoy and celebrate yourself during the holiday season,” she reminds us. Whether that means putting on your favorite podcast while doing your skincare routine or putting on a face mask to watch a holiday movie, take the time for yourself.

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