While the festive season can be a wonderful time of light and love, it is also a time where the pressures of work and Christmas shopping combine with the pleasures of Christmas parties, high fat and sugar laden foods and perhaps a little too much Christmas spirit!
According to endota’s skincare expert, Cara Doncovio, “most of us are aware that some of our lifestyle choices around this special time can have a damaging effect on our bodies and generally it’s our skin that can bear the brunt of a hectic and stressful festive season. From Christmas-induced, to eating a diet high in sugar and fat, drinking alcohol or suffering from fatigue – all of these lifestyle choices can take a toll on our skin and we tend to forget that the skin is actually the body’s largest organ!”
Cara says: “There’s no fool proof recipe for clear and glowing skin, but there are a number of steps and precautions you can follow to increase your chances of maintaining a festive Christmas glow this year.”
endota spa, Australia’s largest day spa, has teamed up with independent GP, Lily Tomas to provide their top tips for a skin survival guide this Christmas:
endota spa recently revealed that 56 per cent of Australian women report an increase in stress levels at this time of year.
According to Cara: “Most of us are aware that high levels of stress can play havoc on our skin, but we often don’t realise quite how much of a direct effect this can have. I’m often asked if there is anything you can do to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the first thing I tell them to do is relax and stop frowning! It may seem obvious but constant muscle tension (like frowning) can lead to permanent wrinkling, as facial expressions used when we are stressed can cause deep lines (like crow’s feet or frown lines), often lasting beyond the stressful period.”
The best way to tackle stress as advised by Dr Tomas is to get to the root of the problem – take a look at what the triggers are which are causing you to be stressed and then explore ways in which you can address these triggers, as opposed to attempting to only remedy the skin which is affected. “The best gift someone can give at this time of year is the gift of relaxation! The most effective way of reducing your stress levels is to solely dedicate time to relax; I recommend a relaxation massage at your local day spa as during a treatment is one of the only times you are asked to turn off your phone. Spas are an oasis of calm and the dramatic reduction in the levels of cortisol is generally a sign of a massage’s effectiveness.”
Put down the piece of chocolate. We all know that too much sugar is a no no for our skin, but do we really know why? Well, research has shown that high sugar foods can significantly damage the collagen and elastin in your skin.
“Sugar attaches to the collagen through a process called glycation and when this usually springy and resilient collagen and elastin becomes dry, brittle and inflexible, the more likely it is you’re your skin will sag and develop wrinkles in the long term,” Cara says.
“This Christmas your collagen and elastin are going to need all the help they can get. A fabulous natural ingredient which helps look after collagen is extract from a type of Aloe Vera plant called Aloe Vera Barbedensis; the extract from the plant is full of the necessary co-factors, i.e. the vitamins and minerals that are needed to stimulate the dermal fibroblast (a cell which looks after the maintenance of our collagen).”
Aloe Vera Barbadensis is one of two core ingredients that makes up all of the products in endota spa’s ceutical anti-ageing range – the collagen serum is a must for those who are looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
“I’m sure many of us can appreciate the feeling of dehydration the morning after a heavy night at the work Christmas do, but it’s not just a lack of liquids which our bodies are struggling with the morning after; the effect of alcohol on the skin has a similar effect to the rest of your body,” Cara says.
Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients; specifically Vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal and turnover, which is why sometimes the skin can lose its glow.
“Water serves as a type of internal moisturizer for your skin, which is why staying thoroughly hydrated can help to smooth out wrinkles, and make your skin appear brighter and younger. It is therefore key to remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water – try and drink a glass of water between every alcoholic drink you have and this will improve your chances of staying hydrated,” Cara explains.
“There are a number of natural ingredients I recommend looking out for when trying to rehydrate the skin; for example, macadamia oil is extremely hydrating and penetrates the skin brilliantly. I also recommend shea butter, lillypilly and rosehip and myrrh oil as they are packed full of antioxidants. I personally love endota’s organics lilly pilly body moisturiser!
“As increased blood flow can leave the skin drier, I recommend maintaining a consistent skincare routine which includes cleansing, toning but most importantly moisturizing day and night. I always opt a regenerating night cream for the night time and a hydrating, but SPF moisturiser for the daytime.”
Lack of sleep
“If you are consistently not getting enough sleep it can affect your skin’s regeneration function, resulting in dullness, fatigue, under-eye circles and bags and bloodshot eyes,” Cara says.
“It is important to remember that the skin around the eyes is where it is the thinnest on the entire body, with just 10 layers – it is for this reason you’re eyes are extremely sensitive and often the first giveaway if you’ve had a late one the night before!
“If you suffer from puffy eyes, use cucumber slices as mini ice packs on the eyes; they constrict the blood and lymph vessels that bring fluid to the area – there is a genuine reason behind this!”
Similarly to using cucumber, there a number of healing properties associated with natural ingredients, for example pea extract has been known to stimulate collagen which improves skin elasticity and firmness. Green tea extract is also packed with antioxidants which help to shield against environmental damage and fortify against future damage.
Dr Lily Tomas recommends “sleeping with your head slightly elevated to prevent fluid from pooling around the eye area.”
Stacey has 10 years experience in both print and digital media. Her many roles in the Australian media industry include being a freelance web editor for several women’s lifestyle magazines, editor and social media manager for leading fashion and beauty website, 2threads.com and deputy chief sub editor of madison magazine. She has also worked on The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and the Canberra Times.