Why your skin hates alcohol

The problem 

The week after having been to a party and having imbibed a few too many cocktails, our skin continues to remind of those excesses: it is redder, more dull, less hydrated and more prone to breakouts.

 

Why?

 

The first reason is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic (which means it causes the body to expel fluid), moreover, alcohol also makes it more difficult to rehydrate because it suppresses an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin. This dehydration causes the skin to hold far less moisture which in turn makes lines and pores more visible. And even if you apply a hydrating facial oil, a beautiful moisturiser or serums galore it will take time for your skin to look its best again.

 

Alcohol causes inflammation. Alcohol creates a histamine reaction which means that the blood vessels in the skin dilate causing redness and puffiness. Worse still is the fact that this redness can become permanent. Moreover, alcohol is a rosacea trigger in many sufferers and because it dilates the blood vessels, can make rosacea look more pronounced.

 

Alcohol also adversely effects sleep (that 3 am wake up after a few glasses of wine is very frustrating) which in turn affects the integrity of collagen in the skin and can trigger further inflammation.

 

Most alcoholic drinks are high in sugar. As noted in our recent blog on sugar, too much sugar can cause a decrease in collagen and in elastin.

 

So, what can we do?

 

There are those that argue that we should have at least two alcohol-free days a week but others that suggest that there is no evidence that this is helpful; that we simply need to drink less overall.

 

And frankly, there is no rational argument against that point of view. The bottom line is that those of us that drink regularly and too much simply need to decrease our alcohol intake. This is particularly as research shows that the damage alcohol causes to the liver happens more rapidly in women than in men and at a lower intake of alcohol.

 

So, for a healthier body and far better skin (it apparently only takes a week of non-drinking before the skin starts to improve in appearance), we are going to choose soda water much, much more often.