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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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How to Look Your Best When You Have a Cold

By Paige Axel
WebMD Feature

The aches and pains that come with a cold can keep you from getting enough sleep, robbing your skin of its normal, healthy glow.

Sleep is a very important time because it’s when the body and skin repair themselves,” says New York City dermatologist, Debra Jaliman, MD.

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“If you don’t get adequate rest, the body produces a stress hormone called cortisol, and this can show in the skin,” says New York City dermatologist Ariel Ostad, MD.

Here are some tips for tackling the effects that cold-induced lack of sleep can have on your skin.

Defy Dark Circles

Congestion, lack of sleep, and feeling under the weather can make dark, puffy under-eye circles worse. Dilated blood vessels and congestion make the circles show up more.

Give your eyes a break. After drinking a cup of hot black tea to soothe your sore throat, cool the steeped tea bags in ice water and place them over your eyes. The cold and caffeine will constrict your blood vessels.

Fight Acne

A cough or fever keeps you from resting. That can cause stress, which prompts your skin to make more oil, leading to breakouts -- the last thing you want when you're already feeling low. Over-the-counter or prescription products with retinol can help keep acne under control, but they could worsen skin that's already red and raw.

No matter what your skin type, extra moisture is a good idea when you're fighting a cold. If you tend to break out, you may want to avoid heavy moisturizers. Look for oil-free formulas, especially those with ceramides. They're good for acne-prone skin without making blemishes worse.

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