Ever looked in the mirror after a hefty weekend of partying, and noticed how parched and dull your skin has become? How those mournful panda eyes stare back at your visage in the mirror and scream fatigue?
The old adage droned by your grandmother from days of yore that "an early night with eight hours of sleep keeps the wrinkles away" still holds true to looking and feeling your best. In this busy festive partying season, there are still some foolproof ways to combat those tell-tale signs of fatigue.
When the body is running overtime from exhaustion, the skin (which is also the largest organ of the body) is the first to manifest these signs. Dark eye circles, fine lines, uneven skin tone and a zit breakout are signs that your body is in dire need of a rest.
Electron microscopy view of normal healthy skin cells (Top); the same portion of the skin under stress (above). Source: Internet
You can start by prepping your skin before the party season with a sensible skin care cosmeceutical range. Any image conscious person should adopt the daily regime of cleansing, toning and moisturizing, and the products used should be appropriate to the skin type - be it combination, dry (mature) or normal skin.
All skincare products should generally consist of potent ingredients that aid skin cell turnover, such as an alpha- or beta-hydroxy acid, or retinol (a vitamin A derivative). These ingredients allow the skin to exfoliate itself and breathe, especially when stress and late nights retard the turnover of the skin, thus making the skin appear dull. Products rich in antioxidants such as Vitamins B, C and E, green tea and soy extracts also aid in fighting off free radicals and repair the damage that incessant late nights can inflict on you.
If wrinkles are your main bugbear, cosmeceuticals containing the magical ingredient, Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide-3) should be incorporated into your skincare regime. This comes in the form of a cream or serum and acts by preventing excessive muscle and skin movement - it is a preventive measure for more wrinkle formation. It also acts as a booster to Botox, especially for areas prone to lines caused by facial expressions, such as frown lines and crow's feet. Braced with an armada of skin care cosmeceuticals from your physician; you should start to see results in the second week or so.
For that pick-me-up pre- and post- party booster, there are a myriad of choices available at your physician's. A physician chemical peel involves using physician grade acids to gently exfoliate the top layer of the skin, eliminating the top layer of pigment cells and fine lines for enhanced radiance. Collagen and elastin (the skin's plumping supportive proteins) are encouraged to re-grow, pigmentation fades and fine lines are eradicated. A chemical peel is suitable for areas such as the face, neck, decolletage and any area of the body with uneven skin tone or unsightly scars. It is quick, painless and without down-time, and is best performed a few days before the big bash.
Non-ablative lasers (e.g. Spectra laser toning, Sciton long pulse laser) and light treatments (Intense Pulsed Light or 'IPL') utilise select wavelengths to target problem areas such as open pores, uneven pigmentation, broken vessels and fine lines. This works on the principle of using specific wavelengths to target the different chomophores (pigment cell types in the skin). These treatments are a god-send - they have virtually no down-time and can be performed up to one day before your gala ball to yield a porcelain-like radiance and firmer skin tone. It also combats dark eye circles alongside an eye gel rich in antioxidants.
For more dramatic reduction of wrinkles, Botox microinjections can be performed about a week before the party, targeting the areas where excessive wrinkles are formed, such as the corners of the eyes, frown lines or worry lines. Botox (a patented purified protein) acts by relaxing the muscles of facial expression, so the wrinkles produced by them are effaced, and the face is softened. Other instant pick me ups include filler injections using hyaluronic acid gel to plump up areas of deeper furrows in the skin, such as the laugh lines and folds at the corners of the mouth.
These physician-performed treatments will yield results with more staying power, lasting into the New Year and beyond. However, regardless of whether you choose to go to your physician's or to rely on cosmeceuticals, pay attention to your bodily rhythms. Resist the temptation to overstretch your limits: avoid excessive binge drinking, get as much sleep as possible and take your anti-oxidants.
|Dr Vanessa Phua works at Asia Health Partners as a physician with an interest in aesthetics. She is a gourmand bon viveur by inclination, with a passion for arts and the finer things in life.