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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Holiday Skin Hazards

Most people take extra care to look their best for the holidays.  But celebrations, parties, indulging in too many goodies, and a never ending “to-do” list; combined with lack of sleep and cold, wintry weather often sabotage our efforts by causing unexpected skin problems.  Instead of achieving that holiday glow and sparkle, we find ourselves fighting break-outs, flakiness, and wrinkles.   

    There are plenty of things we can do to minimize the skin-zapping effects of the holiday season and ensure a radiant complexion now and into the New Year.  Following are some holiday skin hazards and ways to overcome their effects.

Consuming too much sugar and fat
    The holidays present a never-ending temptation to eat special treats like cookies, candies, egg nog, party dips, and munchies. In addition, the out-of-whack schedule often makes it challenging to eat regular, nutritious meals.  The added sugar and fat these foods contain can negatively affect the appearance of your skin, just as eating foods that are most nutritious will help keep your complexion clear and healthy.  The solution: consume treats in moderation, fit in some exercise every day, and ramp up the nutritious foods that are especially good for your skin.  These include raw veggies, fish, nuts, berries, and avocados.  

Lack of sleep  
    Getting enough sleep is often a challenge any time of year, and this is exacerbated by the added activities the holiday season brings such as travel, shopping and parties.  Sacrificing a good night’s sleep occasionally will usually result in temporary puffiness around the eyes and a generally tired appearance, which is easy to remedy by getting adequate sleep most of the time.  Lack of sleep on a regular basis can accelerate the signs of aging because sleep time is cell-repair time. So, make sleep a priority.  You will not only feel and look better, but adequate sleep can help avoid weight gain and increase productivity, making it easier to plow through that holiday list.   

    The holidays often bring increased stress. Money worries, overscheduled calendars, cooking and shopping can cause your mood to be "bah-humbug" instead of "joy to the world!" Extra stress can often cause skin issues like acne, wrinkles, and general dullness.  You’ve heard it before, but hear it again: Give yourself permission to opt out of activities, scale back some holiday traditions, and do something for yourself like getting a facial.

Cold weather
    Frigid temperatures outside and dry furnace heat inside are skin’s worst enemy, causing dry, rough, itchy skin; chapped lips; and a generally dull, sallow complexion.  There are many strategies for lessening these effects which include the following:
• Exfoliating at least once a week to help get rid of old, dry skin and increase the effectiveness of repair and moisturizing products.
• Drink plenty of water.  Also remember that consuming alcohol has a drying effect on the skin.
• Have a tube of lip balm at the office, in the car, in your purse, and at home and use it throughout the day to prevent chapped lips.   
• Continue to use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every day – even when the temperature is cold and you can’t see the sun. The sun’s UV rays, which can cause skin cancer as well as premature aging, can penetrate through glass, so protect your skin even when you are inside. Never use a tanning bed.  If you want to have a bronzed look, use a self-tanning product or experiment with bronzing make-up.
• Switch to a heavier moisturizer, avoid long, hot baths and showers, and use a humidifier, especially at night, to add moisture to the air.

    To prevent skin problems any time of year, make sure that you have a solid skin care routine that includes the proper cleansing and moisturizing products for your particular skin type.  The healthier your skin is to begin with, the better it will look during the holidays.  There are also many non-surgical procedures such as Botox®, dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser procedures and micro-needling that are very effective and will immediately improve the way your skin looks. Schedule these now to allow for the bit of downtime that they may require.
    Don’t let the Grinch steal your radiant skin.  You may want to schedule a professional skin consultation to come up with the regimen that will work best for you.

    For more information or to schedule an appointment, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451-DERM (3376) dermatologistbloomington.com.  Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Dr. Leone is one of the few Mohs-trained surgeons in the area.  Their practice, is located at 3024 E. Empire St. 2nd floor (in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center).


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