4 Steps to Happy Holiday Skin

Cold weather and seasonal stress can do a number on your appearance. Here’s how to look and feel better.

Young woman smiling in the snow

Medically reviewed in November 2021

If your skin is missing some of its glow this holiday season, you’re not alone. Cold weather, stress and busy schedules can take a toll, says Audrey Kunin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri. “Your system takes a beating with all of the holiday hustle and bustle, which can have an effect on your appearance,” she explains.

To keep your skin looking and feeling healthy during the holidays, Dr. Kunin recommends trying these proven tips:

Get your sleep
“Allowing yourself a solid eight hours of sleep, especially after a long evening, lets your body—and your skin—recuperate,” Kunin says. Most healthy adults should shoot for between seven and nine hours of rest each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Stay hydrated
“Dehydration from alcohol consumption combined with dry weather and low wintertime humidity levels leave skin parched and dull-looking,” Kunin explains. Drinking water can help. The amount needed differs from person to person, but these rules of thumb can help you get enough:

  • Drink when you’re thirsty.
  • Drink more when you’re perspiring a lot.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes both cooked and raw produce, since it naturally contains some water.

Exercise
Exercise reduces stress levels, which might otherwise lead to acne flare-ups, according to Kunin. “Working out for even 20 to 30 minutes a day can help reduce stress and keep skin blemish-free,” she advises. To prevent sweat from clogging your pores, simply wash your face after you’re finished.

The average adult should try to get about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Don’t forget: In cooler temperatures, many people can still walk, jog or bike outdoors by dressing appropriately for the weather.

Wear sunscreen
Getting too much sun can contribute to the premature aging of your skin, even in the winter. So, whether you’re sledding or putting up lights, make sure you cover up or apply an SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors.

Article sources open article sources

Eric Suni. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” National Sleep Foundation. Updated July 31, 2020.
LE Armstrong & EC Johnson. “Water Intake, Water Balance, and the Elusive Daily Water Requirement.” Nutrients. December 2018. 10(12), 1928.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake.” August 9, 2016. Accessed September 21, 2020.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” Reviewed February 1, 2019. Accessed September 18, 2020.
Kelley Vargo. “Five 30-Minute Cardio Workouts for Cold Weather.” American Council on Exercise. February 18, 2015.
American Academy of Dermatology. “Is Your Workout Causing Your Acne?” 2020. Accessed September 21, 2020.
American Academy of Dermatology. “11 Ways to Reduce Premature Skin Aging.” 2020. Accessed September 18, 2020.
American Academy of Dermatology. “10 Skin Care Secrets for Healthier-Looking Skin.” 2020. Accessed September 18, 2020.

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