Loyola dermatologist offers tips to prevent flare-ups this holiday season
MAYWOOD, Ill. – The holidays often bring freezing temperatures, limited sleep, sugary treats and cocktails. This combination can spell trouble for your skin, according to a dermatologist at Loyola University Health System.
“Acne, cold sores, eczema and dry, puffy skin are common this time of year due to the harsh elements and excessive celebrating that often takes place during the holidays,” said Rebecca Tung, MD, director, Division of Dermatology, Loyola University Health System.
Dr. Tung offers the following tips to prevent the holidays from wreaking havoc on your skin.
Acne. Keeping your face blemish-free for the holidays can be achieved in just a few steps. While indulging in a sweet dessert or toasting with a cocktail is OK, too much of a good thing can leave you with unwanted consequences. Make sure that you drink plenty of water, mind what you eat and get enough sleep – these are the first steps for healthy skin. If a pimple does break out, care for it with a salicylic spot treatment. Avoid picking it to minimize the risk of scarring. See your dermatologist if your pimple is more like a volcano. The spot can be shrunk down with a tiny injection of cortisone.
Cold sores. Extreme changes in temperature, a busy schedule and too little sleep can trigger a cold sore. Most of the time the virus that causes cold sores lies dormant in facial nerves for those who have been exposed to it. When you begin to feel the stress of the holidays, the virus goes into overdrive. Fortunately, there are prescription medications you can take at the first tingle to prevent a full cold sore outbreak. If you don’t have time to go to a dermatologist and now have a cold sore, treat it gently. Cleaning it with a mild cleanser and applying a bit of fragrance-free moisturizer will help calm it.
Scaly, dry, puffy skin. Pampering your skin when winter is here is a great start to prevent dry, puffy skin. Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers to wash your face followed by a fragrance-free moisturizer to keep dryness away. If your holiday diet has been too heavy on salt or cocktails, your skin can look bloated and tired. Hydration and moderation are essential to avoiding puffiness.
Eczema. If despite your best efforts you develop patches of eczema (dry, scaly skin), reach for an over-the-counter oral antihistamine like loratidine or fexofenadine to reduce any inflammation or itching. Hydrocortisone can often calm eczema. If your skin doesn’t respond to this treatment, a dermatologist can help. Taking these simple steps can keep your skin looking its holiday best.