Merry Christmas Tea to You!

While most of us are reaching for the fizz this season, we should be reaching for tea too!

Pukka Tea’s nutritionalist,  Cassandra Barns, gives her top tips for surviving the festive season with good skin.

“As a nutritionist, I’m often asked what we can do to stay looking good over the party season. Everything conspires against us, of course.

The overload of alcohol, sugar and rich food – together with late nights and a lack of exercise – not only cause the pounds to pile on, but can also take their toll on our skin, leaving it looking dull, dry and prone to breakouts.

Here are my top tips that can help you look and feel as good by the New Year as you did at the beginning of December,”

1. Drink up 

Your skin’s worst enemy over the party season is undoubtedly alcohol. Its dehydrating effects dry out your skin. It places extra strain on your liver, making it harder for your body to get rid of toxins, which can then build up and lead to dull, lifeless skin and breakouts. Booze is also a key factor in festive weight gain, due to the sheer number of calories it contains.

It may be a simple tip, but often forgotten! But drinking plenty of water can really help to counteract some of these effects. It helps keep your skin hydrated, flushes out toxins and can even help reduce your calorie consumption from both food and alcohol. I suggest getting in around two litres of water over the course of the day. If you struggle to drink this much, make it more interesting by brewing a herbal tea, or hot water with lemon and fresh ginger – these count too. And don’t forget to have a glass of water after each alcoholic drink – celebrating is fun, but hangovers are not.

2. Wake up to green tea 

Although the jury is out on whether coffee is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for us, we know that caffeine also has a dehydrating effect on the body. So, coupled with alcohol, it’s a double whammy for your skin!

As an alternative, specifically if you have been out drinking alcohol, try switching to a green tea. Green tea is supportive for the liver and is rich in skin-protective anti-ageing antioxidants. My favourite for overall wellbeing is Pukka’s Wonder Berry Green tea. This organic blend, created by medical herbalist Sebastian Pole,  is made up of one quarter green tea, so it will still provide a gentle lift from the small amount of caffeine, while not dehydrating. Other ingredients include organic rosehip and acerola fruit extracts, which are rich in collagen-supporting vitamin C, ginger that can help to boost circulation to the skin to remove wastes and toxins, and beetroot, which also has liver-supporting and antioxidant properties, as well as beetroot being a source of iron. As a bonus, cutting down on caffeine can also help you get your beauty sleep, so you sleep more deeply and wake up looking and feeling more refreshed.

3. Veg out 

It can be easy to lose track of your healthy diet over the festive season. But maintaining that healthy foundation in between treats is the key to looking and feeling good. Fresh vegetables are especially important to provide a good source of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps to build collagen that keeps skin supple.

One of my go-to solutions is to make big batches of a vegetable-based stew. Set aside a couple of hours on a day off and make enough for at least eight servings at a time, or more if you’re feeding your family, of course. Refrigerate or freeze it in individual portions so you always have a healthy and quick meal to come home to or take to work for lunch. Include orange vegetables such as squash or sweet potato, which are rich in antioxidant carotenoids, and cruciferous veg such as kale or broccoli, which are supportive for the liver. And make sure your recipe includes meat, fish, beans or lentils for protein.

4. Go nuts 

There’s nothing wrong with having some treats over Christmas, but overdoing sugar can spell disaster for your skin: it has a direct ageing effect and can encourage breakouts. It can also give you energy slumps and deal a blow to your immunity, too.

So even if your house is filled with party food, keep healthy snacks to hand and go for those first. Nuts are a good option, as they provide healthy fats, protein, fibre and minerals, and are low in carbohydrates. This means they’ll help keep you full and balance your blood sugar so you’re less tempted by treats. You can overdo nuts too, however – they’re high in fat and calories – so be mindful of how much you’re eating. Berries are also a great option, as they’re rich in vitamin C and skin-protective antioxidants, and are fairly low in sugar and calories.

5. Supplement your skin care regime

Women of all ages seem to spend a fortune on face masks, serums and various lotions to help them put their best face forward, but one of my top tips (as well as all the above), is to start taking a good quality  skin supportive nutritional supplement.   My go-to ‘inner beauty’ pill is Pukka’s Glow supplement.  It has been certified organic, free from any nasty ingredients and packed with cleansing and liver-supporting herbal ingredients such as dandelion root, nettle, neem leaf and chlorella and turmeric to get skin glowing. The perfect antidote to overindulgence to help keep your skin radiant inside & out.

Karlie Simmonds

Karlie has worked in Digital Media for over 10 years, she is passionate about health and wellbeing and lives in Edinburgh with her partner, children, and Pug, Poppy.