Ah, the festive season is upon us, and this year your calendar might be filling up a bit more with holiday parties, girlfriend get-togethers, happy hours with coworkers, and family shindigs. And while the holidays are first and foremost about being with loved ones and enjoying yourself, you may be looking forward to getting out after what has been a long stretch of catch-ups happening primarily via Zoom. Many of us want to put our best face forward, and what better way to do that than by getting that beautiful complexion of yours glowing? Keep reading for some expert tips on how to prep your skin for the holiday season and keep that glow going all winter long.
What Can I Do At Home To Help Get a “Holiday-Ready” Radiant Complexion?
As Geeta Yadav, MD, board-certified dermatologist, points out, one significant key to achieving a radiant complexion is by keeping the skin hydrated and preventing moisture loss, which can be more of a challenge during those chilly months. “Using cleansers with ceramides will help you wash away dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping your skin’s natural oils while using a serum or moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and plant oils can help draw hydration into the skin and seal it in,” she says. Another one of her tips is to use a formula with vitamin C every morning, whether that’s a serum, moisturizer, or face oil. “It will help enhance the results of your sunscreen while working to even the tone of your complexion.”
You’ll also want to keep up with exfoliation. “Regular gentle exfoliation increases the radiance of the complexion by helping to remove dull, dead skin cells, increasing cell turnover, and increasing the thickness of the skin,” shares Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist.
Ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids “break down the bonds that keep dead cells on your skin’s surface to reveal fresh, healthy skin underneath while stimulating cellular turnover to produce firmer, smoother skin,” she explains, adding that when skin is smooth and healthy, it reflects more light and enhances that glow.
What About Derm or Spa Treatments?
While you can certainly work to achieve radiant skin in the comfort of your own home, you can always look to up the ante with a treatment at your dermatologist’s office or local spa. “I like to recommend treatments with minimal downtime and no more than a few days in anticipation of major events,” says Dr. Yadav. She shares that often the radiance from these procedures is instant (and who doesn’t love a little instant gratification?) Some of her go-to suggestions include light chemical peels or Laser Genesis, which is a laser facial that can give you that “glow and plump for even a same day event.”
Brigitte Tolson, LA-based medical esthetician and founder of Green Chemistry Skincare, adds that peels and microneedling are the two best treatments to target collagen. “Your skin will usually look best three days after a standard facial and 7-14 days after a facial with a peel or microneedling — of course, following up your treatment with SPF and hydrating serums will give you continued results and maximum glow factor, so it’s important to be kind to your skin at home, too.”
How Can I Treat a Breakout That Appears at the Worst Time?
We’ve all been there — you have a big event taking place right around the corner and suddenly feel the dreaded bump forming smack in the middle of your chin. Don’t fret. While you might be tempted to apply a concoction of all kinds of formulas to get rid of the zit, Aishe Balic, esthetician and co-founder of Glo Spa says that’s not the way to go. “At the first sign of a breakout, it’s important not to apply too many different products to counteract the breakout, as that’ll just make you more irritated,” she explains. “I like to use an overnight Retin-A, but as we know, not everyone’s a fan, so a good alternative is to use a night serum which can kill acne bacteria and has ingredients such as glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids.”
If it’s a super deep and swollen pimple that leaves you absolutely no time to treat it with skin care at home, Dr. Yadav says you can opt to ask your derm for a cortisone injection which will quickly “quell the inflammation and flatten the offending spot.”
How About the Rest of the Bod?
We often spend so much of our beauty routine tending to our faces that we forget about the rest of our body. NYC-based facialist Taylor Worden suggests regularly dry brushing the skin, which can help slough off dead cells and increase lymph flow/drainage. “Be sure to exfoliate your body several times a week and moisturize daily — consider a moisturizer that contains an AHA, which will allow you to tackle both steps with one product,” adds Dr. Yadav.
Any Tips for Getting That “Day Of” Glow?
If you’re looking to up your complexion’s glow factor in a pinch, Tolson shares that gentle scrubs and enzymes immediately remove dead surface cells, giving your skin an instantly brighter appearance. “Additionally, using a good serum or moisturizer with hyaluronic acid — the most potent humectant known to science — on freshly exfoliated skin will give it a glowing appearance and fill out fine lines,” she says. Another fun tip from Nichelle Temple, esthetician and founder of Inderma Studio in NYC, is to mist the skin before applying moisturizer and then follow with a layer of facial oil. “Trapping water-based moisturizer with oil will stop the products from evaporating — the oil acts as a shield, and the skin looks oh so glowy.”
Of course, you can also look to apply an at-home facial or sheet mask during part of the getting ready process. Diana Yerkes, a lead esthetician of Rescue Spa NYC, tells Sunday Edit she loves to use cryo-sticks over any sheet mask for anti-inflammatory purposes. “Oh, and if you’re lucky and own a device like ZIIP or NuFACE, go for it — give your skin that lift and glow it needs to be ready for anything!”
Finally, Tolson suggests drinking lots of water and avoiding sodium the day of an event to help hydrate your skin from the inside out — not to mention it will help prevent those holiday hangovers!
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