It’s the greatest show in the world, but the frenetic, frenzied, and fantastical two-day party we call Carnival is also one of the most tiring events you can engage in. As fun as it is (and yes, know it’s exhilarating!), the non-stop drinking, wining, jumping, and endless bacchanal does take a significant toll on your body.
Sore feet? Check. Tired skin? Check. Frizzy hair? Check. Dehydration, sunburn, tired abs, sore throat, blisters? Check, check, check.
Proper pre-Carnival prep might have saved you some sunburn and unwanted blisters from two days of constant walking and feteing, but for the most part, Mas fatigue and the range of malaises that come with it are inevitable.
To help your tired, sunburnt, and sore selves, we’ve created a handy guide to reviving your body post-Carnival. From medical advice to food, exercise, and detox tips, we have everything you need to emerge from the season strong, heathy, and soulfully satisfied.
Unless you’ve lathered yourself liberally in multiple layers of strong sunscreen, it’s more than likely that you’ve surfaced from Carnival looking less sun-kissed and more like an overripe tomato. Akin to burns you might get from hot water or an overzealous hair straightener, a sunburn is caused by extensive UV damage to your skin and the underlying cells and DNA.
The signs are simple – you turn red, your skin gets inflamed and starts to swell, it hurts all over, and you get a few minor blisters. If your burn was deep, it might metamorphose into a more deadly iteration – a first degree burn – where you blister profusely, before you eventually peel and heal.
Effects of a sunburn show up as soon as 3-6 hours post-exposure, when your skin turns painful, red and hot. The first step, usually, is to remove yourself from the sun. But since we’re sure you were a bit busy enjoying Carnival to notice the first signs of sunburn, the next effective alternative to try to cool down the burnt areas as soon as possible by taking a cool shower and applying cold compresses to the areas. The American Association of Dermatologists also recommends gently patting yourself dry, leaving a little water on your skin, and then applying a layer of moisturizer to help trap the water in your skin and ease the peeling process later on.
It’s also a good idea to spray on a local anesthetic such as Solacaine or topical anesthetic creams containing lignocaine or benzocaine to take the sting out of the burn, though some might cause an allergic reaction and irritate your skin. Your best bet is to treat your skin to creams with a natural cooling agent like aloe vera gel, menthol, camphor, or soy. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, can also relieve sunburn swelling and pain.
Over the next few days, drink extra water to relieve the peeling process. If your skin blisters, leave it alone. DO NOT pop the blisters, as they’re there to help your skin heal and protect you from infection. Treat them with natural remedies like cold cucumbers, honey, chamomile, aloe vera, or a diluted vinegar solution.
Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. Wear sunscreen underneath your clothes, and try to cover up as much of the affected areas as possible with tightly-woven fabrics to keep out any UV rays.
When your skin starts to peel – and it will – lather on a thick layer of moisturizer frequently until new skin starts to form. Ontario-based dermatologist Dr. Jillian Macdonald also recommends applying a topical retinoid cream to regulate skin cell turnover and help get rid of damaged cells towards the end stages of the sunburn (6-7 days post exposure).
For most tips on how to lessen your symptoms, check out our dedicated Carnival sunburn guide here.
With all the walking you did over the past few days – more, if you were feteing into Carnival – it’s natural for you to experience some soreness and swelling in your feet. Thankfully, the symptoms are short-lived, largely innocuous, and reversible.
A refreshing and stimulating home treatment for those sore Carnival feet is a temperature-controlled hydromassage. Simply fill one basin with cold water and another with hot (as warm as you can take!), and alternate placing both feet in each for 5 minutes. This “hydromassage” alternately dilates and constricts blood vessels in your feet, boosting circulation. To boost the treatment’s soothing effects, add 2 drops of peppermint oil and 4 each of eucalyptus and rosemary oil in the basin of warm water and soak for 10 minutes towards the end of the session.
Soaking your feet in a solution of epsom salts is also an effecting remedy to alleviate sore and swollen feet. The mineral, which our skin absorbs, eases pain, relaxes muscles and tendons, reduces swelling, and improves circulation. If you’ve stepped on a stone or hard rock and the area appears inflamed, the simplest remedy is to rest, ice the area, and take some over-the-counter pain relievers.
If you spot a blister, there are numerous home remedies that you can try to speed up the healing process. A green tea and baking soda soak is both an anti-inflammatory and an anti-septic way to treat your blister. Brew three tea bags in boiling water, toss in a teaspoon of baking soda, and soak your blister in it. If your blister is yet to pop, you can also speed up the healing process by soaking it in warm water to help it soften up and drain the fluid inside. Other easy remedies include dabbing apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, or castor oil to the area.
If possible, elevate your feet to reduce swelling, and perform frequent stretches to work and rejuvenate the muscles.
Two days of wearing makeup constantly may blessing – it does form a protective barrier against Trinidad’s harsh sunlight – but overuse also dries out your skin and clogs your pores.
If your face is sunburnt, your best course of action is to follow the steps outlined in Part 1 (What To Do If You’re Sunburnt). If you’re just looking for a way to relax your skin and bring back that youthful glow, then we recommend going a couple of days barefaced and makeup-free, rehydrating your skin by drinking copious amounts of water, and trying on some of our favourite DIY home masks.
1/2 cup raw ground oatmeal
1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup yoghurt
Honey helps to moisturise your skin and break apart excess sebum, oatmeal acts as a gentle exfoliate, and yoghurt both soothes and rids your skin of inflammation. You can also add a few drops of Vitamin E for an added antioxidant kick.
Nicole Pozzetti, a skin-care expert from Advanced Skin Care Day Spa in New York also recommends making a mask out of a handful of blueberries, a few tablespoons of milk, and a few drops of witch hazel – a natural astringent – to help soothe irritated skin. “Apply the mixture to your face just as you would with any other mask and gently massage it into your skin. After five minutes, wash off with lukewarm water and wipe off any remnants with a soft washcloth,” she added.
Brown sugar or salt mixed in with coconut or olive oil can also make an excellent scrub that’s equal parts exfoliating and moisturizing, according to New York-based dermatologist Dr. Doris Day. It’s a great way to scrub out those dry Carnival skin cells, eliminate clogged pores, increase circulation, and help your usual baby soft skin resurface.
For tired, puffy eyes, Day recommends applying cold steeped white tea bags, known for their high levels of caffeine and antioxidants.
For an effective and dirt cheap toner to moisturize, refresh and purify your skin, try an Apple Cider Vinegar facial toner made of 2 parts water and 1 part ACV.
Whether you went au natural or styled your hair to the nines, Carnival does take its toll on the volume, texture, and strength of your tresses.
Replenishing your hair’s lost sheen, volume and texture is an easy at-home process that you can replicate weekly for optimum results.
One of the first steps is to nourish your hair with a coconut, olive, or jojoba oil mask. Celebrity hairstylist Lorri Goddard of Goddard + Bragg salon recommends brushing a quarter cup of natural oil through dry hair and leaving it on for an hour. “For maximum benefit,” she added, “blast the ends with a dryer for five minutes to help oil penetrate deeper. Skip the roots as your scalp emits enough warmth on its own, and extra heat could lead to an oily texture later on. Rinse with shampoo, lukewarm water, and condition as normal.”
Goddard’s favourite DIY mask or “miracle cure” for reviving lifeless strands is a mix of pantry staples – one egg yolk, a half cup of honey, two tablespoons of olive oil, and two ripe avocados. Apply the concoction to your entire head and leave it on to dry and harden for two hours. Shampoo and condition as usual.
Try to stay away from heat-styling tools and products, and drink copious amounts of water for the next few days. Running an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (1 part water and 1 part ACV) through your hair after shampooing (but before your final rinse) is also a great way rid your tresses of clumpy residue, gunk, and product buildup.
If your hair is extremely dry and frizzy, Ragini Mehra, founder of Beauty Source, recommends an intense hydrating masque of two egg whites and 1/2 cup plain yoghurt to help rejuvenate dry and dull hair.
Give your stomach a break from all the delicious, but fried and greasy foods you’ve been packing it with for the past two days, and invest in some quality whole, organic, and low-calorie alternatives.
Gift yourself a mini detox and put your digestive system in recovery mode by avoiding heavy meals, as well as bread, pasta, rice, and salt, and upping your intake of grilled protein, fresh produce, and fiber. Limit your beverages to water, and if necessary, just one cup of black coffee a day, to really give your liver the TLC it deserves (the poor thing, it just went through hell!)
1 cup spinach
1 handful swiss chard
1 handful of mint
1 handful of well- washed kale
1 green apple
3 celery stalks
1 finger of ginger
1 lemon squeezed
It’s perfectly normal to take a break from the gym and rest up after two days of non-stop feteing, but try not to remain sedentary for too long.
Regular exercise is an important aid in jumpstarting your metabolism and nourishing your body back to health. As tired as your feet may be, try to work in a few minutes of stretches, HIIT cardio, or bodyweight exercises, to help your body transition into its usual, high-functioning mode. If the gym seems too far away, or the prospect of leaving your home after your two adventure-packed days daunting, try some of our favourite at-home Youtube workouts here.
If all that endless Carnival alcohol has got you feeling bloated and out of sorts, try drinking a mug of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning, going dairy free for a couple of days, guzzling water, and adding some pineapple and papaya – both fruits rich in bromelain and papain, two enzymes that help banish bloat by breaking down protein and easing digestion – to your diet.
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