Beauty blunder #1: You ate and drank too much at the office holiday bash, and now your face looks bloated and ruddy. When you overeat salty foods, your body retains fluids and consuming too much alcohol can dilate the blood vessels in the skin, giving it a reddish hue.

Quick fixes:

  • Drink plenty of water to help relieve bloating and flush out your system.
  • Massage a pea-size dab of hemorrhoid cream on swollen areas (making sure not to get it in your eyes, where it can cause irritation), and wash it off after 15 minutes.
  • Apply a cold compress, chilled cucumber slices or cold black-tea bags to your closed lids.

Beauty blunder #2: You stayed up late watching "It's a Wonderful Life." Now your skin is lackluster and your eyes are sporting dark shadows. While lack of shut-eye doesn't cause dark circles (they're hereditary), not getting the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep a night makes dark circles appear darker simply because your skin is paler. When you're fatigued, your whole body, including your circulatory system, goes into slow motion. The result: You have less blood flowing through your skin, which gives you a pasty look.

Quick fixes:

  • Slather on a cleanser or mask that contains skin-stimulating botanicals like ginseng or spearmint.
  • Camouflage under-eye shadows by dotting a concealer at the outer corners of the lower lids. Then tap gently toward the inner corner of the eye.

Beauty blunder #3: You've let stress get to you -- and now you've got zits. Your adrenal glands are pumping out more of the hormone androgen. The hormone increases oil secretions, which can become trapped if dead skin cells are littering the skin's surface. That pileup, along with bacteria in the pores, can trigger breakouts.

Quick fixes:

  • Use exfoliants regularly to prevent breakouts.
  • To dry out and cover up a zit, gently dab on a treatment with pimple-fighting salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide and follow with concealer.

Beauty blunder #4: You've caught a cold and frequent blowing and rubbing with tissues has dried out the skin on your nose, causing chapping.

Quick fixes:

  • Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment mixed with equal parts antibiotic ointment.
  • To conceal a red nose, dab a foundation on the skin.

Beauty blunder #5: Your lips are dry and chapped. Dry, peeling lips can be made worse by indoor areas with low humidity as well as by cold temperatures. Lip licking also can dry your lips further because saliva contains enzymes that can draw moisture out of the skin.

Quick fixes:

  • Moisten lips with cool water, then apply a lip balm to help seal in moisture.
  • If you want to apply more color, choose a moisturizing lip gloss. But before you apply it, brush lips gently with a toothbrush to help exfoliate the dead skin so the color can coat lips more evenly.


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