The Holiday Skincare Survival Guide for Men

It’s the time of the year for being thankful, giving back, and spreading cheer. It also means long hours of shopping, overindulging in food and drink, and getting to bed way too late, which can wreak absolute havoc on the skin. Having a dedicated skincare routine is a great way to minimize the damage the holidays can cause your skin. But it’s also necessary to take extra precautions to insure all your skincare diligence doesn’t go up the chimney with old Saint Nick during the holiday season. Here’s what you can do (or not do) to help your skin survive all the celebrating.

Watch your sugar and salt intake

This may be more difficult than it sounds especially when grandma’s prize-winning pie hits the table. Try and remember that sugar is not a friend of the skin. If you have acne, eczema, or rosacea, sugar can actually make these conditions worse. It also breaks down collagen, which gives our skin its elasticity and shape. But skipping that second piece of pie is only half the battle. You have to watch out for salt as well as both contribute to premature aging. Though it’s a vital nutrient, increased amounts of sodium can dehydrate our skin causing it to dry out and swell, especially around the eyes. Using an eye cream for men such as Profile’s Revive Eye Rescue Serum will reduce the puffiness and work to minimize lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration. And it comes in a convenient size so you can slip it in your pocket and have it ready when you want a refresh.

Avoid smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of premature aging. In fact, cigarettes and the sun are in an ongoing war to see who can age you (and cause you cancer) the fastest. Though it may be tempting to light up because everyone else on the festively-lit patio is doing it, think about the consequences on your skin. Tobacco is full of toxins, including nicotine, which impedes blood flow and decreases both cell regeneration and healing. It also affects immune responses. This is one of the reasons smokers have more irritation and breakouts. If that doesn’t convince you, consider the wrinkles, slack jaw line, and dry, ashy and/or discolored skin that can happen as a result of smoking as it destroys collagen. And though the affects aren’t quite as severe, second-hand smoke can still cause saggy skin and deep wrinkles so avoid lingering in smoky areas if at all possible—even if you’re wearing a face mask.

Take it easy on the booze

And speaking of cocktails, the effects of alcohol on the skin can be a real party pooper. Much like sodium, alcohol is a dehydrant that pulls moisture from the skin causing it to dry out and wrinkle, which in turn will make pores appear larger. Alcohol also affects blood vessels, which can result in red, irritated skin and broken capillaries. If you can’t eliminate it altogether while spreading joy and cheer, at least consider minimizing alcohol consumption. For each cocktail or glass of wine you have, follow it with a sparkling water or spritzer. And if you do over-indulge, make sure to drink 2-3 glasses of water before bed. Your skin will have something to celebrate in the morning.

Wash the day off your face

The body’s natural antioxidant defenses do their best to fight off free radicals such as dust from HVAC systems, pesticides, and pollution. These elements cause a variety of reactions in skin ranging from irritation, break outs, clogged pores, and even pigmentation issues, some of which can be permanent if not addressed. And wearing a mask all day during the pandemic can make matters worse. It’s a good idea after a long day of working, shopping, and/or celebrating that you rid your face of environmental aggressors that lead to premature aging. Invest in a high-quality cleanser that cleans deep but doesn’t strip face of the necessary oils that keep it healthy and radiant. Cleansing your face before bed will help purify your skin, and keep your pores from collecting bacteria while you sleep.

Get plenty of sleep

Men rarely get the 6-8 hours of sleep they need nightly, and during the holidays the chances of getting decent shuteye is even slimmer. Those who snooze don’t always lose though—at least not when it comes to good skin. Studies show that lack of sleep affects collagen and hydration levels and also the ability for the skin to regenerate and heal. This means more inflammation and breakouts and skin that is prone to wrinkles and sagging. And sleep deprivation can also affect eyes, leaving them puffy and rimmed in dark circles. Though there is no substitution for a good night’s sleep, using topical supplements that boost collagen while keeping your body hydrated will help diminish the damage that depriving it of sleep does.