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How to cure a skin hangover

Waking up the day after a heavy night of drinking is never fun.

Looking in the mirror the morning after – both literally and metaphorically – can be a confronting experience, to say the least.

Excessive drinking can leave your skin looking haggard and the effects of alcohol really show the next day, often making you look just as bad as you feel, hence the term ‘skin hangover’.

‘This is because alcohol is a diuretic, which essentially means it removes water from the body at a fast rate,’ explains Kimberley Hulme, Head of Clinic at online beauty retailer Face the Future.

‘Significantly reducing the body’s water levels at a fast pace can cause dehydration and leave skin looking dull and dry. 

‘When skin is dehydrated it can cause the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil which can cause issues for all skin types.’

While not dramatically, the effects can be different for different skin types.

‘This excess oil on the skin can result in breakouts and can make it harder for those with oily and combination skin to manage their complexion,’ Hulme tells Metro.co.uk

‘For those with dry skin, the dehydrating effects of alcohol can be more pronounced.

‘A combination of drinking throughout the festive period and the harsher weather conditions can leave dry skin feeling sensitive, rough and more dry than usual.’

So, how can you combat a skin hangover?

Hulme has provided us with some excellent tips, just in time to get wine drunk on Christmas Eve.

Five tips to cure a skin hangover

Step 1: Prep the skin and body

Staying hydrated is vital for avoiding a skin hangover.

As well as drinking enough water, it’s also important to make the skin is hydrated on the outside, too.

Hulme explains: ‘While the aftercare is most important when it comes to the impact of alcohol on the skin, the prep shouldn’t be overlooked.

‘Adding in a couple steps before applying your makeup can make a significant difference.

‘Opt for a hydrating and soothing sheet mask, before locking in the moisture using a creamy moisturiser.

‘This will help to prevent your skin getting overly dry throughout the evening.’

You should also avoid inflaming or irritating products like glitter, especially if you have dry skin, she adds.

Step 2: Maintain hydration

Now, just drinking enough water before you go out isn’t enough.

If you want to be kind to your skin, make sure to drink just as much water as you do alcohol and keep your skin hydrated throughout the night.

Kimberley suggests: ‘If you’re prone to dry skin, consider taking a hydrating facial mist out with you so you can maintain your hydration throughout the night.

‘As well as topping up your body with glasses of water, give yourself a spritz or two every couple of hours.”

Additionally, you should consider what you apply on your face. 

Step 3: Remove makeup and double cleanse

I’m sure this is something we could all work on, but making sure to remove your makeup between getting home and going to bed is a vital habit if you want to avoid a skin hangover.

First things first, double cleanse your skin,’ says Hulme.

‘This should always be the starting point in an evening skincare routine, but after a night of drinking this becomes even more crucial in warding off any unwanted breakouts. 

‘Oil based cleansers do a great job at removing all traces of makeup and are perfect for when you’ve got to wash away a full-face. 

‘For the second cleanse, opt for a gentle hydrating cleanser to give your skin a much-needed boost of hydration, without leaving the skin irritated.’

Step 4: Gently exfoliate the skin and moisturise

Once you’ve removed your makeup, make sure to exfoliate your skin to ensure it’s fully clean.  

Once your makeup is fully removed, gently exfoliate using products containing AHAs (also known as alpha hydroxy acid),’ Hulme advises.

‘Products containing glycolic acid and lactic acid are great options as these ingredients exfoliate the skin and help to brighten the complexion.

‘They also work wonders at preventing stubborn acne breakouts, so I’d recommend this as being a key step in the aftermath of a night out.

Finally, Hulme adds, make sure to lock in as much moisture as possible.

‘End your skincare routine by applying a soothing moisturiser to retain moisture or, for those who experience particularly dry skin during winter, consider an overnight face mask to lock in the moisture.’

Step 5: The morning after

Despite how bad you might feel, showing your skin some love the next day will make staying up to do your skincare routine all the more worth it.

First you want to minimise the puffiness of your face by encouraging movement.

‘Introducing movement on the skin is a great way to reduce puffiness with immediate effect as it will encourage increased circulation and inject life back into your complexion,’ says Hulme.

‘If you have a gua sha at home, use this with a light to moderate pressure after applying a light facial oil to avoid any friction on the skin.

‘Alternatively, you can take some ice and gently rub over the face in a circular motion.

‘Gel eye patches can also be used here for a quick fix, minimising the appearance of dark circles whilst also working wonders for a hangover headache.’

Then you need to finish up by exfoliating and moisturising, just like last night.

‘After exfoliating your skin, apply a serum containing hyaluronic acid, the powerhouse of moisture retention,’ Hulme adds.

‘Then look for products with ingredients such as vitamin C to help restore radiance.

‘By this stage, your skin should be left looking visibly healthy and back to its pre-night out state.

‘Finally, apply a moisturising lip balm to combat dryness from the alcohol.’

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