Do you find that some days, when you look in the mirror, it's as though you have aged 10 years overnight? If you find your reflection staring back with:
• dry and parched skin
• puffy and shadowed eyes
• lank hair
• saggy cheeks
...You might find yourself asking 'what on earth went wrong?!'
Well, we might just have the answer.
Drink up and reduce puffiness
More often than not fluid retention is to blame for a puffy face. If the body becomes dehydrated it tries to hold on to all the water it can and as a result blood vessels enlarge and your face swells up.
Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up and then another on the hour, every hour. And don't forget that last glass before you settle down to sleep.
How to reduce water retention
Check your diet for essential fats
According to the experts, a lack of essential fats in your diet could be one reason why you wake up looking more wrinkled than usual.
Your body is 66% water. This is held in cells that have membranes of fat which need essential fats to support them. Eating oily fish such as mackerel, herring or sardines three times a week can help.
Learn more about eating fish
Puffy eye rescue
Puffiness (or oedema) can be due to poor lymphatic circulation, says Vicci Bentley, author of Lose Ten Years in Ten Minutes a Day (Orion) Excess fluid floods the spaces between fatty tissue, especially after long periods of lying down – hence early morning puffy eyes.
Here's how to disperse the trapped fluid:
• Using your finger tips, lightly circle the eye orbits, following the contours of the sockets.
• Firmly but still gently, stroke several times from the bridge of the nose out across the eyebrows.
• Use the last three fingertips of both hands to tap lightly along the cheekbone ridge. Use a light drumming action as though you are playing a piano and work from the inner to the outer eye corners.
Move those muscles
Facial exercises can also help dissolve signs of strain and tiredness by boosting circulation to facial tissue. Try the following to bring back a healthy glow.
• Lie down and pull your upper and lower lips apart into a long oval.
• Press your upper lip firmly against your teeth.
• Use the corners of your mouth to smile, then relax.
• Repeat 10 times.
Now repeat, lifting your head 2.5cm from the pillow. Hold for a count of 30. Repeat entire sequence three times.
While you sleep skin turnover speeds up so last thing at night is the ideal time for applying moisturiser as it's absorbed by the skin at a faster rate.
Look for creams containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E which will help in the war against free radicals, unstable molecules that can wreak havoc with skin cells. Beware of overdoing the amount, though, as this can also lead to puffiness.
Are you using the right moisturiser?
Make it up
Hiding under heavy make-up never fooled anyone. Here's what to do to get you though a bad face day.
• Slap tap your face in the shower. The rush of blood to your cheeks helps firm your face and leaves you looking like you've just sprinted 10 miles.
• Soak a cotton wool pad in glycerine and rosewater (available from chemists) and buff all over face to freshen up dull, dry skin.
• Use a morning-after moisturiser with a temporary tightening brightening formula.
• A light-reflective foundation and a touch of bronzer whisked over cheekbones, brow bones and chin will bring a healthy glow.
• Avoid hard-to-wear reds and dull browns. Rose tones on lips and cheeks will gently flatter and soften looks.
• Use a slightly deeper eye shadow than normal to 'shrink back' swollen lids.
• A slightly brighter lipstick will enliven your face, especially if your skin looks grey.
How to get your glow back
Sleep well and let our skin cells repair
Finally, poor sleep can quickly lead to dull, lifeless skin. For it is while we slumber that our skin cells go through the essential process of repair and regeneration.
If you sleep badly or your night is disturbed, you're likely to end up feeling stressed. As a result the capillaries tighten up which affects the flow of nutrients to your skin and it quickly loses its glow.
The solution is to make sure you get your nightly quota and if you don't, to try and make up for it as soon as you can.