Hit the holiday party circuit too hard? Here’s how to save your skin for a fresh new year

December 14, 2023

Decadent desserts, bottomless champagne, late night dance parties—all are marks of a fabulous holiday celebration. But the season of joy and merriment, coupled with cold winter weather, can also wreak havoc on your skin by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. 

“Overconsumption of sugary treats increases your insulin levels and can affect your skin’s clarity, contributing to breakouts, puffiness and clogged pores,” says Natalie Buenaventura, a nurse practitioner at RAS Med Spa in Los Angeles. “Overindulging in alcohol can dehydrate your skin and cause inflammation, which can result in a dry complexion and facial redness or flushing.” Without being a total Scrooge, here are ways to avoid ringing in a dreaded skin hangover this holiday season.  

Practice moderation

The first rule in avoiding any type of hangover is simply not overdoing it. “Balance and moderation is always important to avoid [skin] issues, especially during the holidays,”  Buenaventura says. If every holiday shindig is lined with sweet treats, try supplementing sugar cravings with hydrating fresh fruit and fitting in healthy options between the big spreads.  

Curbing alcohol consumption is always easier said than done. During and after the party, remind yourself to drink a glass of water after each cocktail to counter alcohol’s dehydrating effects. Buenaventura emphasizes that keeping your body hydrated should be a priority during the season. “Water is number one in hydrating your skin,” she says.   

Cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize

Late nights can often lead to mascara-streaked mornings, so be sure to remove all makeup and wash your face as soon as you get home. “If you don’t remove your makeup, pore occlusion can lead to acne bumps. It can take weeks to clear depending on how sensitive your skin is,” Buenaventura warns.  

If it’s not already built into your winter skincare routine, a regimen consisting of regular exfoliation and hydrating moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and ceramides is the best way to keep skin looking and feeling replenished. “Use a mild peel with glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid to exfoliate and maintain a glow to the skin,” Buenaventura recommends. 

Keep treatments in mind

During a season of indulgence, treat yourself to a hydrating facial ahead of special events or to help get skin back on track after a few nights out. “[Facials] can be helpful to eliminate overall dryness and decongest pores,”  Buenaventura says.

Treatments such as a cortisone injection can also help in a pinch if a facial cyst or painful, reddened blemishes appear before a party or event. Can’t get to a dermatologist (or just terrified of needles)? Try an over-the-counter treatment that mimics the action of a steroid, while soothing and dissolving cysts.

Looking for at-home relief for puffiness? Keep an ice roller or gua sha tool handy for a relaxing face massage while you plan the next holiday soirée.  

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be considered specific medical advice.  

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Enid Portuguez is an L.A.-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, InStyle and The Daily Beast. She is also the Director of Communications and Events at the Writers Guild Foundation.