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Real-World Fixes to Reduce Bloating Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season of articles instructing women on how not to end up chubby and miserable during the holidays. “Don’t drink too much,” “Don’t eat too many snacks,” “Get plenty of sleep,” they recommend cheerfully. But isn’t constant snacking on bad-for-you delights, imbibing eggnog and hot toddies and way too much champagne, and staying up late on weeknights to do it all sort of the entire point of the holiday season? Reduce bloating over the holidays without missing out on the fun with our easy tips.

It’s true that all that partying can take its toll not just on your waistline, but also on your face—causing you to look bloated, tired, and puffy during a season when you’re likely to be photographed more often than usual. So what’s the solution? Eschewing the cheese-and-cracker platter in favor of low-calorie carrot sticks? Refusing a glass of wine in favor of sipping daintily on club soda? Passing up party invitations where you’d get to wear glittery heels? Frankly, that’s not how I want to spend my Christmas season, and I don’t think you do, either. I’m not even going to suggest it.
 
It’s all about moderation and mitigation—there are realistic ways to have a fun, delicious, tipsy holiday season without regretting it when you upload those party pics. 
 
Drink Plenty of Water
This one’s a “duh.” You can drink water and have a glass of bubbly. Doesn’t have to be either-or. During the day and in between cocktails, make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid water retention. Water also helps your skin stay elastic and dewy, not dried-out and tired.
 
Avoid the Very Saltiest Snacks
Salt encourages bloat, but instead of avoiding all salt, be realistic and enjoy the treats you love, and just avoid mindless snacking. When Aunt Deb brings out her famous cheese log, dig in with a crostini. When you encounter a platter of melty stuffed potato skins, enjoy them with abandon. But think twice about noshing on pretzels or chips if you’re really just bored. Ingest salt when it counts—for the most delicious, splurge-worthy treats. Don’t waste it on bagged pretzels you can eat any time of year. If you’re cooking, choose low-sodium ingredients when you can, and make sure to eat healthy any time you’re not at a gathering or event.  
 
Use Topical Caffeine
Caffeine is a diuretic—applied externally, it temporarily firms skin and flushes out extra fluid. Apply a day cream like Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream ($52, Bobbibrowncosmetics.com) in the morning after a particularly festive night.

Lay Off the Booze
Here’s the no-fun news: Alcohol dilates blood vessels. That doesn’t just mean extra puffiness, it means redness and inflammation, too (especially around the nose area). Be mindful about how much you’re drinking, and be sure to guzzle a glass of water after a big night out.
 
Sleep On an Extra Pillow
If you usually sleep on one pillow, use two. Elevating your head even a small amount can discourage fluid from pooling in the face overnight.
 
Apply Home Remedies
Cooled cucumber slices or green tea bags placed over the eyes for ten minutes or so really can help temporarily calm inflammation and reduce puffiness by constricting blood vessels. Try other home remedies or just put your regular beauty products in the fridge to get a frosty boost. 

Allison Ford

Allison is a writer and editor who specializes in beauty, style, entertainment, and pop culture. She was part of the editorial team at DivineCaroline (now More.com) for more than three years. She loves makeup, sparkly accessories, giraffes, brunch, Matt Damon, New York City, and ice cream.

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