Change your habits: Change your skin and nails

Summer is a time of real fun, of going out with friends, relaxing, chilling out and generally having a good time. Aside from the holiday season - which we're slowly moving on to - it’s probably the one part of the year that everyone truly tries to cut loose and enjoy themselves, especially if there are lots of drinks on offer. This, can, however, have a bit of an impact on the look of your skin and nails and leave them feeling a bit worse for wear. Here’s the lowdown on what drinking can do to your skin and nails and how best to help yourself if you’re struggling with a good-time beauty hangover!



How alcohol affects our skin and our nails
You know, in moderation, alcohol can be a good thing for us, especially if you like a nice glass of red wine. Wine, in particular is full of body friendly anti-oxidants which, in the long term can help us in the fight against all sorts of different health conditions and illnesses like heart disease, cancer and stroke. When it is drunk, in small amounts (we’re not talking bottles here!) it can really be of benefit to us. However, it’s when people start to drink to excess over long periods of time that health problems can start to manifest and become more apparent.
 
The most obvious thing to say about drinking alcohol is that it dehydrates you. You know when you’ve had a big night out and you wake up the next day, look in the mirror and you feel like you’ve aged ten years? That’s what it does to you. When you’re dehydrated your skin starts to dry out and you'll need to use so much moisturiser it’s untrue. The same will happen to your nails – they may look parched and over time start to break and split more often, which means you need more hand cream and nail oils to help them repair properly.



It’s a sad fact, but after the age of eighteen, the skin starts to lose two really important elements which set us on the road to (eek) ageing. Collagen and Elastin begin to deplete as we hit our late teens and the more you drink, the quicker those reserves will go as alcohol effectively destroys the ‘fibers’ of these two things in our skin. One final thing that happens is that we also start to lose something called Hyaluronic Acid. This is another chemical that keeps our skin looking plumped and radiant – you’ve probably heard it being talked about in beauty magazines as it’s an important skincare ingredient, used in eye creams and serums. Again, once we start to overindulge, the rate we lose this starts to increase and we need to find ways to replace it. 

Some people might find that their skin starts to look red or develop high colouring, especially round the cheeks or nose. Sometimes there might also be acne type spots that accompany it and the skin might feel warm or raised when touched. Over time, what tends to happen is that the alcohol will bring the really small blood vessels in the skin closer to the surface which increases the redness. As we age, these can turn into broken capillaries and spider veins, which might require help from a dermatologist to correct.


This is exactly how I feel after drinking a bit too much

Look after yourself
First of all, it’s really important to say that for the most part, drinking is something that people find fun and social and a nice way to relax an unwind. If however you’re finding that drinking is perhaps becoming an issue, then it can help to find someone to talk to, either a trusted friend, doctor or even from a proper alcohol treatment facility in which you can get the help you need. You shouldn’t suffer alone. Seeing the effects alcohol has on your skin is one thing, but making sure that you’re truly healthy in body and mind is equally as important. When you have a drink or two, take note of the way it makes you feel and the effects you notice the day after. It’s only then that you can really see how much it affects the condition of your skin. It’s from there that you can start to look at your beauty routine and find the best way of treating any problems that arise!

I just couldn't spare you this one haha

How to help your skin and nails
First of all, after a big night out, make sure you’re properly hydrated the next day. Water is the key here – and drinking five to eight glasses during the course of the day should go some way to helping you feel less sluggish, headachy and tired. What you do to your skin is the next step.


Hungover skin needs proper cleansing, toning and moisturising, twice a day. You should really be doing this religiously anyway, but it really is more important after a night out. As you apply your cleanser, use gentle upward sweeping movements to not only loosen dead skin and get your face clean, but to get the blood flowing to the surface and make you feel more awake. Follow this with your toner and moisturiser.

Again, when you apply your cream take care to use massage on your skin so that it penetrates better and your skin looks plump. During the evening, as part of your cleansing routine, add in a gentle exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and follow with a moisture mask, which you should leave to sink in and do its job.



my favourite; Lush lemony flutter

Treat your hands and nails to the same – any left over exfoliant from your face, use on your hands to slough away dead skin and follow with a rich, luxurious hand cream, paying attention to massaging it into the cuticles and nails themselves. A nail oil, something like almond or apricot oil is full of nourishment and can help stop the nails from splitting and breaking as you start to recover.

Ofcourse I'm not a saint either and I can't deny that I like to drink some myself, but it's good to be aware of the effects of alcohol on your body and especially on the nice parts for a beauty lover; your skin and nails. So have fun, but not too much!

images: tumblr. context: Jennifer Lewis

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