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It doesn’t matter how you got drunk last night, but it happened. And now you have to handle your hangover in the worst possible place: the office.
Though you can’t kill all the pain, you can at least manage it—and clean up well enough that your boss won’t know you feel like death inside.
Step 1: Have a Morning Cocktail (of Multivitamins)
Alcohol shuts off a hormone in your gut that tells your kidneys to retain water, says Adam Friedman, M.D., an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University.
That’s why you started pissing like a racehorse after your third or fourth drink, and woke up with a mouth like the Gobi Desert.
All that peeing also drained your body of pretty much every important vitamin and nutrient, which you’ll have to re-stock if you want to feel better.
So before you do anything else in the morning, guzzle a big glass of water with a packet of multivitamin powder says Dr. Friedman.
This will help replenish the vitamins you flushed down the toilet, and the powder’s modest sodium and potassium content will help your body absorb more of the water you swallow.
Step 2: Make a Modest Breakfast
Smear peanut butter on a piece of toast and pair it with a banana. These foods also boost water absorption and won’t upset your gut, Dr. Friedman says.
Coffee is fine if you normally drink it to start your day, but keep it to one cup; too much caffeine will have a diuretic effect similar to alcohol.
And fill up on H2O all morning long. It will actually take a couple days for you to fully rehydrate, Dr. Friedman says, but drinking water will help flush your system of booze and reduce the likelihood your skin exudes any unwanted aromas.
Step 3: Put on Your Game Face
Unless you always maintain a little stubble, you need to shave, stat. Rolling into work with a 5 o’clock shadow is like shouting “I’m hung over,” says grooming expert Pedro Zermeno, cofounder of the L.A.-based Imperial Barber Products.
Depending on your genes, your skin may look either red and puffy or pale and sickly after a night of heavy drinking.
In either case, dehydration is the cause and the right moisturizer is the cure, Friedman says. Swing by a chemist on your way to work and pick up a bottle.
If your skin seems red or flushed, a product with a mild green tint—like will help improve your skin’s hue, Friedman says.
Looking lifeless? Search the grooming aisle at your chemist for a skin-tinted moisturizer, which will give your face some colour, says Friedman.
And try this trick: Stick two spoons or teabags in your freezer for 5 minutes, then put them on your eyes for a few more. This helps reduce potential puffiness, says Zermeno.
Finally, if your eyes are bloodshot, dribble a dollop of Visine in them, and rub a little on the skin around your peepers.
“Visine is a vasoconstrictor,” Friedman explains. “It’ll force blood away from your skin’s surface, and help reduce those under-eye bags.”
Just don’t do this very often, he says. “It can have a rebound effect where your eyes look baggy all the time, so it’s only for emergencies.”
Step 4: Freshen Up Your Breath
After you brush your teeth, give your tongue a good scrub. That’s where most of the bacteria that cause bad breath colonize, and they tend to thrive when your mouth is dry, research shows.
For this reason, you want to rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash that combats dry mouth, like Biotene.
For extra stink protection, eat unsweetened yogurt, says Mark Moyad, M.D., director of complementary and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Centre.
A 2012 review study in the International Journal of Oral Science found eating the types of probiotic bacteria found in yogurt can neutralize the stomach bacteria that contribute to bad breath.
Step 5: Rock the Right Outfit
Pick lightweight, breathable clothing for the day, like thin slacks and a cotton dress shirt—not your wools or a heavy suit.
The ethanol in alcohol causes the blood vessels in your skin to widen, which makes you feel warm and triggers sweating, says Dr. Friedman. And sweating could bring out the alcohol smell, he says.
When you flood your system with booze, your body struggles to break down all of it. Some of the leftover ethanol ends up in your urine and sweat.
So you want to stay as cool as possible, says Dr. Friedman, so you don’t smell like a walking, talking bar in your meeting.