How to recover after a night of indulgent celebration (ahem, New Year’s Eve)
We’ve all done it: let our hair down a little too much while drinking a glass too many on New Year’s Eve (or another equally celebratory occasion), only to wake up and regret it. These things happen. But your liver isn’t the only victim of decadent drinking and eating; according to dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, author and founder of skincare lines Perricone MD and Super, our skin is also put at risk. “Thanks to the pleasures of overindulgence, the holidays are often a time of accelerated aging,” says the dermatology guru. “Even worse is the fact the aging is so visible—gray pallor, bags under the eyes, loss of facial contours from bingeing on sugars and starches. You get the picture, and it’s not pretty.”
Major culprits of this post-partying skin devastation are all the pro-inflammatory foods we enjoy, including sugars, pasta, bread, baked goods and snack foods. Once the bloated damage is done, however, Dr. Perricone advises munching on low-glycemic carbohydrates (colorful fresh fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and legumes), high-quality proteins (fish, poultry and tofu) and healthy fats (wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, nuts and olive oil) the morning after. He also encourages lots of fresh spring water and antioxidant-rich drinks like green tea.
But the real skin wreckage comes from hard-alcohol intake. Among other facial harm, says Perricone, alcohol causes small blood vessels close to the skin’s surface to widen causing flushed skin and broken capillaries. It also dehydrates—important because dry skin is more prone to fine lines—and its metabolites (called aldehydes) damage the cell plasma membrane and cells. “I do not have any problem with my patients having an occasional glass of red wine with a meal, because wine can provide some very important antioxidants (polyphenols) that do help protect the body, but drinking hard liquor causes many problems in the body in terms of inflammation,” he says. Additionally, hours after drinking comes a burst of norepinephrine, which results in “a very poor night’s sleep that will leave your skin looking mottled and dull the next day.”
When trying to jolt your complexion—and yourself—back to life after a night out, Perricone first directs 10-12 ounces of water, followed by green foods (like young barley grass to neutralize the effects on the liver) and a heroic yellow antioxidant spice called curcumin (mix ¼ teaspoon with a little water). And when all else fails, “the right combination of topical antioxidants—Perricone MD products containing vitamin C ester, DMAE and alpha lipoic acid—will increase radiance and cause a lifting effect that will diminish the tired and drooping look,” says Perricone. “This will work no matter how hard you party, giving you the radiant wide-eyed look usually only possible after a good night’s sleep.”