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London - There’s no doubt about it, the silly season, with all its over-indulgences, stresses, coughs and colds can play havoc with our looks.
But there are things you can do to pep yourself up - even when you’re nursing a hangover and your nose won’t stop running.
TIRED, PUFFY EYES
We’ve all woken up with piggy, puffy, tired eyes that no amount of make-up will disguise. So what can you do?
“Dehydration from excessive alcohol consumption or sleeping in a dry, stuffy room as well as hormonal fluctuations can be responsible for excess fluid under the skin around eyes, says Susan Mayou, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London.
“Try letting gravity do its work and sleep with an extra pillow under your head. If you still wake up looking dreadful, gently tap the skin around your eyes with your fingertips, working from the inner eye near the nose out towards the temple. Do this two to five times above and below the eye.”
If that doesn’t work, celebrity make-up artist Chase Aston says: “Place two stainless steel teaspoons in cool or iced water for a few minutes. Then cup one over each closed eye and leave for five minutes.”
For red, irritated, bloodshot eyes, Chase recommends adding a couple of drops of witch hazel to an egg cup of mineral water.
“Place it snugly over your open eye and allow the fluid to wash it for ten seconds or so. The astringency of the witch hazel will help to minimise the tiny red capilliaries in the eyes.
“Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel and use a fresh batch of wash for your other eye so you don’t transfer any germs.”
CHAPPED LIPS AND NOSES
Shiny, peeling noses - often the result of a cold - will respond best to a slick of one per cent hydrocortisone product such as Hc45 cream, available from chemists, says dermatologist Susan Mayou.
“Chapped lips need a product like Vaseline to protect and heal, especially at bedtime.”
“Avoid matte lipsticks or pale, frosty lip colours says Chase. “They draw attention to dry, flaky lips. Instead, switch to a moisturising lipstick with a sheer gloss or satin texture.”
DRY, FLAKY SKIN
“Gritty exfoliating products can be too harsh for dry skin,” says Susan Mayou. “So use a damp, rough flannel or muslin cloth to wipe away your normal creamy cleanser. The cloth will help to gently buff away dull surface skin cells and leave your complexion smoother and more radiant.
“Then apply moisturiser to smooth the skin surface and seal in moisture. Outdoor exercise will also help to boost circulation and improve the look of your skin.”
Have lukewarm rather than hot baths and showers - as these dry out the skin - and add a bland moisturising product.
“Boost your complexion by massaging in a radiance-enhancing moisturiser,” says Chase.
Allow the moisturiser to absorb into your skin for five or ten minutes then apply foundation. For an instant bronze glow, smooth a little matt bronzing gel (powder bronzers can ‘catch’ on flaky skin) on cheek bones, temples and the middle of the nose.
BAD HAIR DAY
Got an important party to go to after work, but haven’t had time to wash your hair?
Ben Randle, head stylist and product director at Umberto Giannini, advises: “Cut back on the amount of styling and conditioning products you use as they tend to attract dirt and leave hair looking greasy very quickly. A firm hold hairspray is the best thing to give unwashed, lacklustre hair a boost.
“Spray it into your roots before styling to build volume. It will soak up excess oil and product residue.
“You can also use a decorative hairband or tie hair into a sleek high ponytail to disguise unwashed locks and create instant glamour.”
Too many mince pies, Christmas lunches and champagne can lead to an uncomfortable, bloated stomach, so try this porridge recipe to keep it at bay.
“Heat 2½ tbsp oats and 500ml water in a saucepan and simmer for five minutes, before adding a tablespoon of fibre-rich wheatgerm and chopped apple or figs,” says nutritionist and anti-ageing expert Tina Richards. “This will help to ease constipation - the most common cause of a bloated stomach.”
Avoiding fizzy drinks will help.
“At this time of year, I see far more people for hangover remedies than I do for colds and flu,” says Dr Sid Dajani, from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. “You feel bad because alcohol leaves you dehydrated, which can affect the blood vessels around the brain giving you a terrible headache.”
However, there are things you can do. Dr Dajani says: “To minimise a hangover, eat something to line your stomach before you drink, which will help to slow down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by your bloodstream and protect your stomach lining from gastric damage.”
Other tips to stop hangovers include drinking plenty of water before, during and after you go out to help your body flush the alcohol through your system and stop dehydration, and treating your headache with paracetamol rather than aspirin or ibuprofen-based painkillers as these can irritate the stomach.
RUNNY NOSE AND COLD
“Increase your fluid intake if you’re suffering from a cold,” says Dr Dajani. “Your body needs all its energy to fight the virus - so stick to easy-to-digest liquid foods. Warm, not hot, soup is ideal because it will help to open up your nasal passages and ease congestion. It will give you valuable nutrition and hydrate you.
“Don’t try to be a hero. Get some medicine to help you cope with your day. Ask your pharmacist for advice before buying over- the-counter cold remedies so you get the right product for your symptoms.” - Daily Mail