Over my past 10 years of drinking (my mum reads this blog so I’m only going to admit to 10), I’ve learned a trick or two about hangover survival. I’m not going to bother with the whole “eat this or that”, everyone has their own thing here, but I want to focus on saving your skin post-binge. Your skin bears the brunt of your lifestyle choices so consider this is as a way to make amends.
I woke up Sunday morning with raging headache, a gurgling stomach and a mouth that felt like sandpaper. The dreaded hangover had struck! Quit judging me, surely I’m not the only 20-something year old waking up that way this weekend! I know I’m an advocate for healthy living, and right now I’m back on the AIP diet and most definitely shouldn’t be drinking… but you know, these things happen. I don’t normally drink to get drunk, but somehow the excitement of a party and too much free-pouring of the vodka saw me end up in this state.
As yesterday was Australia Day, I can imagine there might be more than one or two of you bearing the brunt of the days festivities as well. I’m in no position to be judging!
Aside from the symptoms I’ve mentioned above, hangovers are brutal on your skin. Because it’s so dehydrating, it’s not just your insides that gets sucked of water. Your skin severely suffers as well. Your skin (body & face) will look and feel dry and dull and your eyes all puffy. For me, my psoriasis on my scalp will get 10x worse and my scalp will feel pretty unbearable.
In addition to dehydration, alcohol is a hepatotoxin, meaning it damages the liver. This in turn will make your skin look sallow, pasty and your pores more obvious.
Throughout the night keep your intake of water up. It’ll help prevent dehydration and also slow you down a little on the drinks. It’ll help make tomorrow a little more bearable.
Step 1: Take activated charcoal before bed
Activated charcoal can act as a sort of “sponge” in your digestive tract, absorbing and trapping chemicals and escorting them out of the body. It can be an effective treatment for certain types of chemical, including alcohol, poisoning. They’re pretty cheap and useful for more than just hangovers so it’s always good to have some on hand.
Usually I’ll take 4 tablets before going to sleep (or first thing in the morning) and it’ll help mop up all that alcohol still in my belly. So far, it’s always worked for me! Last Saturday night I was too drunk to remember this step and I paid the price the next day.
Step 2: Remove all makeup before sleeping
Even after a bevvie or two I’m still pretty diligent with this step. However sometimes when you’re stumbling around the bathroom it’s pretty hard to stay focused to get rid of all your makeup. Rather than struggle with the face wash, water and potential soap in eyes, grab a makeup remover wipe and get the job done quickly. I love these WOTNOT Facial Wipes ($8.95) as they’re super effective but also really gentle on my skin. There is nothing worse than waking up the next morning hungover with crusty old makeup.
Follow this up with a heavy duty moisturiser, like a night cream. Try Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Cream ($25.95) Your skin will hate you less in the morning.
Step 3: Upon rising, hydrate as much you can handle
If I’ve taken the party one drink too far, keeping water down is a pretty hard task. If I don’t drink water though I’ll end up throwing up undiluted stomach acid & leftover alcohol. I told you I really did a number on myself! Sip water or coconut water very gently but consistently. I know you feel like crap and it’s hard to do, but it’ll be even harder if you don’t. Coconut water is full of potassium and electrolytes so it’ll re-hydrate and replace what you’ve lost. I find it easier to get down than water the next day too.
Once I’ve stopped throwing up, I’ll mix up green powder, like the Vital Greens Superfood Powder ($32.95). The greens, like spirulina and chlorella, are really alkalizing. Alcohol is super acidic, so knocking back some of this will help counter the damage. It’ll also add back in to your body some much needed nutrition.
Step 4: Detox your face
Your skin is feeling and looking like rubbish so apply a detoxifying, brightening face mask. This will help clean out your pores and brighten your complexion.
The Zkin Certified Organic Brightening & Hydrating Masque ($39.95) will rejuvenate the skin and improve circulation to temporarily brighten your complexion. If you don’t have a mask handy, grab an avocado & a lemon and make my citrus & avo mask. The avocado will moisturise and repair, while the lemon will dissolve off alcohol-destroyed dead skin cells and generally brighten your complexion.
To counter the puffy eyes, cut up a fresh cucumber and put the slices over your eyes. You need to leave them there for around five to ten minutes, for best results. I like to let them sit on your eyes while I’m in the bath.
Step 5: Once you can stand again, run yourself a bath
There is seriously nothing more soothing than a good bath. Don’t run it too hot (it’ll dry your skin more) and if you’re overheated, keep it cool. If your body aches, add a cup of magnesium salt ($22.46) or Epsom salt. These flakes work to soothe and ease muscle pain and relieve stress when dissolved in warm water. Plus it’ll help draw out toxins and infuse your body with magnesium, which really helps with sore muscles and promotes sound sleep.
I like to chill out with my face mask on for a good 10 minutes in this state. I also tell myself I’m hydrating through osmosis. I do lie to myself a bit when I need a little encouragement!
I’ll also wash my hair here. It helps relieve my scalp and makes me feel so much cleaner. I’ll let it air dry as the sound of the hair dryer can be a little unbearable. Soft, clean hair does always make you feel good.
Step 6: Moisurise
Slather your face again with a nourishing moisturiser. Use a rich body cream or butter all over, while your skin is still damp from the bath, and let it all soak it. Try Vanessa Megan Cocoa Coconut Body Cream ($49.95); the cream moisturises and soothes the skin, promoting collagen renewal and alleviating acne scars and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Don’t skimp on the moisturiser!
So that’s it! My 6 step survival guide. Keep it easy and achievable. You might not be winning any beauty pageants today, but you’ll feel better and your skin won’t have to suffer.
Have you got any other hangover skin-savers? Please share them with me in the comments.