As the festive season rolls around there’s an increase in excesses and extremes – extremely late nights coupled with an excess of alcohol and rich food.

You start out the season feeling like a rock star but as the weeks progress you begin to feel the effects of over indulgence – and instead of looking as bright and perky as the tinsel on your tree – you and your skin take a hammering… and it shows.

Apart from the common occurrence of ‘panda’ eyes – bloating and dark circles beneath the eyes very often with smudges of day-old make-up – a big night out has a definite negative effect on your appearance.

Add alcohol, smoking and a shortage of sleep, and the condition of your skin is more obviously impacted

In the long term, it can lead to wrinkles and premature ageing and in some circles it is believed that skin can take up to 30 days to truly recover from one hangover. This premise is grounded on the proof that alcohol dries out the body generally – including the skin.

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The medical condition ‘oedema’ – when the body retains water to compensate for the dehydration associated with alcohol consumption – is another reason for looking like hell when you wake up, because this condition is most visible on the face around the eyes.

Alcohol can deprive the skin of the vitamins and nutrients it needs for a healthy glowing complexion

It is known to deplete vitamin A, essential for cell renewal. The effect on the skin is seen in varying degrees but can leave it with a dull and even grey appearance.

If you are unlucky, it can initiate breakouts. For those susceptible to rosacea, eczema and psoriasis – drinking can also be a trigger depending on how prolonged your partying is and the sensitivity of your skin and reactions.

As if that weren’t enough – it can also cause the blood vessels to dilate, sometimes permanently, leaving broken capillaries and red spots. All these conditions are compounded by that fact that alcohol affects sleep patterns and the quality of sleep, which also doesn’t do your skin any favours.

Recognising that you don’t want to look like Rudolf, it’s important to have a skin conditioning strategy for the silly season. Probably nothing you haven’t heard before, but it deserves repeating.

Here are some expert tips from Karen Bester, Lamelle product specialist:

Increase your water intake

During and following a big night out, drink lots of water to restore all of your fluids. Alcohol is a diuretic and leads to dehydration. You would also do well to limit your intake of salt which will add to your dehydration and in some cases can lead to swelling. This might mean rethinking your hangover food!

Keep up your cleansing

This is probably one of the most important things you can do for your skin. It’s a big ask after a long night out but make every effort to remove your festive make-up before you go to sleep.

Leaving eye make-up on your skin might cause it to darken as the deeper pigments can penetrate your skin. This is especially true when you make a habit of it.

The other challenge is that if base is left on for a long period of time, it will cake, block your pores and cause breakouts.

If you do fall asleep with your make-up on, make sure you do a proper job of cleansing your skin the next morning. You could even do an exfoliation to help your skin recover from being mistreated.

Product options: Serra Cleansing Gel (R205 for 150ml) which is a creamy gel cleanser that will hydrate while cleansing. You might prefer Clarity Active Cleanse (R315 for 150ml) if your skin is more prone to breakouts. The salicylic acid in the cleanser will clear your pores as you cleanse.

For a stockist near you,  and further information visit www.lamelle.co.za