We don’t blame you for hiding from the mirror New Year’s Day. (Photo: Getty Images)
New Year’s Day, if you celebrated the new year with few drinks, can be rough. You’re hung over, sluggish, and probably facing some very common issues with your appearance. A ruddy complexion, bloated fingers and feet, and bloodshot eyes are par for the course after imbibing multiple drinks. The good news – there are small things you can do to fix the visible damage that alcohol does to your body. And remember – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Here are a few expert recommended fixes for the common skin and body effects that too many toasts can bring on.
Manhattan based Dr. Neal Schultz, MD, one of New York Magazine’s picks for best doctors in the city, explains that this effect is caused when alcohol causes blood vessels in the skin to expand and become visible. He suggests applying a “cool compresses of half skim milk and half water on a tee shirt or handkerchief for 5 minutes every few hours.” If you’re desperate, Dr. Schultz advises that an “over the counter cortisone cream (1% hydrocortisone) every few hours will work even faster.”
Dry, Flaky Skin
If you aren’t ruddy, but do see your skin drying up after alcohol consumption, Dr. Schultz says you’re seeing “the dehydration caused by alcohol’s diuretic effects.” He suggests spraying your face with tap water from a spray bottle, then applying a water-based moisturizer at least every 3-4 hours.
Grey, Dull Skin
For this one, Dr. Schultz told us, “I’m just a dermatologist, not a magician!” If you look like death, stay in bed and drink lots of water until your color returns.
Swollen Fingers and Feet
Dr. Venus Ramos, MD and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California at Irvine: College of Medicine, says this problem is called peripheral edema and is caused by the dehydration that comes with drinking alcohol, both in it’s consumption and in how often it makes you have to go to the bathroom. “Once you stop drinking and your blood alcohol concentration levels off, the amount of Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) rebounds triggering the kidneys to retain water which results in swelling. If you didn’t have a glass of water before every drink the night before, she suggests drinking more fluids to alleviate the problem. Low-sodium (like plain water) is the way to go, Ramos says. “Another helpful tip is to use compression stockings to alleviate feet swelling,” Ramos tells Yahoo Health. You can find these at the drug store.
There are multiple solutions, based on what you have on hand, for this one. Dr. Schultz tells us to start with a cold compress from tap water. You can also use cold cucumber slices, which he says have “lots of anti-inflammatory and soothing antioxidants” or tea bags that you cool after soaking in hot water which “have astringent tannins to constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling even more.”
“Alcohol decreases the amount of oxygen going to your red blood cells which causes blood vessel congestion in your eyes giving them the bloodshot look,”Dr. Ramos explains. Her recommended cure is a cool compress and, if you’d like to speed up the process, cooled, damp tea bags will do the trick for this as well as any puffiness. “Choose teas with anti-inflammatory benefits like chamomile, blackberry, or rooibos,” she suggests.