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BETWEEN the icy temperatures, freezing winds and then blasts of heating, our skin can take a battering at this time of year.
Add in a few Christmas parties and your festive glow can seriously wane.
But all is not lost, there’s lots you can do to protect and care for sensitive skin this season.
Dermatologist Dr Eva Melegh explains where you’re going wrong and how to ease pesky skin complaints…
1. Red ‘Rudolph’ nose
Bright red nose in all the Christmas party photos?
If your skin is sensitive and prone to rosacea, hot, stuffy rooms, rich food and booze can all trigger a flare-up.
Eva said: “Rosacea flares normally affect the face in a butterfly rash, leaving mostly the nose and upper cheeks with a bright red flush.”
She recommends avoiding trying out any new skincare or perfume products you might have got in your stocking and: “Avoid fizzy alcohol and do not try splashing or washing hot skin more frequently with cold water.
She added: “Use a de- sensitising base cream under all cosmetics over the festive period, like the Kalme range for skin prone to rosacea (kalme.co.uk).”
2. Snowy shoulders
Dandruff on your new Christmas party shirt is quite the downer, as is an itchy, flaky scalp when you’re trying to focus on having a good time under the mistletoe.
Eva said: “Flaking itchy scalp in the winter is often due to dry scalp dandruff as opposed to fungal infections as with normal dandruff.
“Cold weather, low humidity and dry air from central heating can dry our winter scalps and leave them flaking and sensitive.
“Add a large dollop of pre-festive stress and you perhaps have yourself snowflake shoulders for the festive holidays.”
Eva suggests that you: “Reduce the heat of your showers and stop using any hair styling or perfumed hair products.
“If anti dandruff shampoos are not working, then switch to a shampoo and scalp treatment specifically for dry scalp.”
You could try Hydrosil Scalp Shield Shampoo and Scalp Tonic (hydrosil.co.uk).
3. Cold sore crisis
Hopes of a snog under the mistletoe can easily be dashed if you’re rundown and get a cold sore.
Eva said: “The cold weather, higher rates of colds and flu, excess of alcohol, lack of sleep and stress can mean it’s the perfect storm for the worst outbreak of the year.
“Once a cold sore is established it usually takes six to ten days to go, so can blight the whole festive period.”
Never fear though, a bit of TLC can help ward them off. Eva said: “Don’t wear matte lipsticks, keep lips covered with a thin scarf while out in the cold, avoid sipping hot drinks, don’t have any lip fillers or injections.”
Your pharmacist can help with remedies too.
4. Shiny skin
No one wants to be as shiny as the tinsel on the tree or have a face as reflective with grease as a Christmas bauble.
Eva said: “The more you try and clean oily skin, often the more sebum you produce when it comes to oily skin.
“So to stop this cycle you need to take the opposite approach and stop trying to stop the sebum.
“Sebum is actually very good for skin as its nature’s moisturiser. Trying to inhibit its production with sebum ‘drying’ products and endlessly trying to wash it away often makes the problem even worse.
“By letting the sebum flow naturally and using fewer skin ‘cleaning’ products as possible should help regulate your sebum production in time for Christmas leaving you with clearer skin.”
5. Over scented intimate areas
There’s Prosecco scented everything now, from crisps to lubricant – yes, lubricant.
But Eva warns that scented lubricant and festive massage oils can be less than sexy if your skin reacts unhappily to them.
Eva said: “Anything spicy smelling should be avoided at all costs in intimate areas.
“Massage oils should not be used internally, even if they are not scented ones.
“Lubricants are an excellent way to relieve the discomfort and make sex more enjoyable for both partners.
“However, to avoid adding to any discomfort, lubricants which are chemical, perfume, petroleum, silicone and alcohol free and preferably also have some degree of protective action for internal vaginal skin are a sensible choice.”
I’m a dermatologist – here’s 5 winter skin disasters and how to fix them fast
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