4 Ways the Holidays Can Mess with Your Skin

Before you know it the holidays will be here and you'll be jetting off to see friends and family nonstop for the next two months. While the holidays are full of eating, drinking, and being merry, all that celebrating can certainly take a toll on your skin. Take a look at the five most common culprits for your skin problems and how to fix them this season.


Wherever you're headed this holiday season, a change in climate can really mess with your complexion, especially if you're flying, since plans suck the moisture right out of your skin. Add dehydrating alcohol and/or caffeine to the mix, and you'll arrive at your destination looking pasty and tired.

The Solution: Since dryness is the biggest travel skin threat, it's important to constantly apply moisturizer to your face and hands while you're in the air, says Dr. Banks. He also suggests using an Evian facial spray (1.7 oz) and lip balm, since your lips can get flaky during a long flight. Finally, drinks lots and lots of water (about 8 ounces for every hour).

An Open Bar

If you've increased your cocktail consumption this season (how else can you get through the holiday office party?), your liver isn't the only thing that will suffer. According to Dr. Bank, excessive drinking can mess with your skin in a variety of unattractive ways, including dullness, dryness, premature aging, and even triggering rosacea.

The Solution: Drink lots of water to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. A good strategy is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. You can also combat dry skin by being extra diligent about applying moisturizer.

The Weather (Outside and In)

During the holiday months, you're exposed to a range of harsh temperatures, from extreme cold outside in the mall parking lot to full-blast central heating inside the stores. As a result, your skin can become dry and itchy, says Dr. Bank. Plus, your cells turn over at a slower rate this time of year, so it's not uncommon for them to accumulate on your skin's surface, causing your complexion to appear dull and pale.

The Solution: To stay soft and radiant no matter what temperature you're in, start in the shower with an ultra-hydrating body wash like Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter ($6.99, walgreens.com). It's also important to keep your daily showers short and make sure the water is warm, not hot. After you get out of the shower, pat your skin dry, then immediately apply a cream that contains hydrators like glycerin, dimethicone, and ceramides, which are lipids that reinforce your skin's protective barrier so moisture can't escape. Once a week, use a gentle face and body scrub to slough away dead skin. If your skin still looks lackluster, invest in a humidifier to replace moisture that is lost to indoor heating systems. You can also try switching to a face cream with jojoba oil, which Dr. Bank says replenishes natural oils without causing breakouts. Try Weleda Wild Rose Moisture Cream ($27, drugstore.com).

Your Family

Even if your family gets along as well as the Huxtables, too much holiday togetherness can be, well, too much. The stress of bickering with your siblings, dealing with your in-laws, and ignoring comments from clueless relatives can take a toll on your mind…and your face. Prolonged anxiety and tension can cause everything from zits and premature aging to rosacea and eczema flare-ups.

The Solution: Since hiding in your room during Christmas dinner isn't an option (at least not for anyone over 13), you need to find ways to stay relaxed during the holidays. Start by getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eating plenty of healthy foods, and keeping your alcohol intake to a minimum. If you're not already into yoga or meditation, now would be a good time to try them out, since it's crucial to keep your stress levels low.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.