Alcohol Effects On Skin Health
by Kate Grant
A month ago
Alcohol is the second biggest cause of skin aging behind sun damage.
We spend so much time and effort protecting and treating our skin, when a few too many drinks each week could really be holding back our glow. Here is what happens to your skin when you overdo it with that extra drink.
As most people are aware, alcohol is extremely dehydrating. A known diuretic, alcohol effectively pulls water from the body, and makes it more difficult to rehydrate after a night of drinking. Excessive consumption of alcohol decreases the production of Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH). The body uses this hormone primarily to reabsorb water into the body tissues. Since alcohol suppresses it, your body ends up losing a lot of water through frequent urination.
Your skin contains molecules known as Hyaluronic Acid. These molecules are designed to capture and retain water deep beneath the skin surface, creating a plump healthy look. When these molecules get dehydrated, wrinkles will become more pronounced and your skin will lose its youthful bounce.
Inflammation, Redness & Puffiness
According to Dr. Amy Spizuoco of Greenwich Village Dermatology in NYC, the body metabolizes the alcohol from an enzyme in the liver, which releases a byproduct called acetaldehyde. This byproduct is toxic to body tissues. As the body tries to flush out this toxic byproduct, it not only becomes dehydrated, it also causes inflammation to bodily tissue, “releasing a histamine that dilates the blood’s capillaries, so that the net effect is redness of the skin.” Spizuoco warns that, when compounded over several years, this redness can be permanent.
The negative effects of inflammation of the skin don’t end there. Alcohol also dilates the pores. Combined this with over production of sebum to combat dehydration, and the pores then become clogged with bacteria, sebum and dead skin cells which cause blackheads and whiteheads. If this goes on, they could turn into full-blown cystic acne and lesion-like bumps.
Poor Quality Of Sleep
While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it actually prevents you from entering the deep restorative sleep state known as the REM phase. The REM phase of sleep is when your body goes to work restoring and repairing tissues and cells, as well as boosting the immune system.
Ultimately, alcohol consumption impairs your sleep and compromises the regenerative cycle your body enters while you rest. “This decreases normal cellular turnover and leads to an unhealthy, dull complexion,” Spizuoco says.
The type of drink you consume plays a big role in your skin health.
When you consume sugary drinks, the body rapidly converts this sugar into glucose. This, in turn, causes your insulin levels to spike as it works to quickly get rid of the excess glucose. This process produces enzymes that breakdown Collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in all connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, as well as the skin. Collagen gives your skin its structure. It is what slows down your skin’s aging process by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and the onset of dryness.
According to facialist and skin expert Michaella Bolder, Margaritas or almost any mixed cocktail are the top offenders. Cocktails typically contain high levels of sugar whether that's with syrups, fruit juices or actual sugar.
If you are going to reach for that drink, whether it’s to relax or in celebration, try to stick to antioxidant rich dry red wines, or clear alcohol like vodka or tequila, as they tend to be lower in sugar.
How to minimize the negative effects of alcohol on your skin?
- The general rule of thumb is no more than 3 drinks in 24 hours and give your body more recovery time as you get older.
- In order to stave off the negative effects, be sure to consume as much water as alcohol. For every glass of wine or mixed cocktail, have a glass of water.
- Always wash off your makeup before bed! You skin is already in a battle with the alcohol you consumed, no need to add to that by leaving a layer of makeup, dirt, and oil on top of it.
If you do find yourself in the midst of a hangover, there are a few things you can do to speed up skin recovery. First things first, drink an electrolyte water. Our favorite is DripDrop Rehydration Powder.
We also recommend you help rehydrate your skin with a hyaluronic acid serum, and then layer on antioxidants and added moisture. Our Lightspeed Hydra Glow C Serum is the perfect antioxidant face oil after a night of drinking. The oil soluble vitamin c and squalane penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin to help fight free radicals and provide non-comedogenic moisture to dehydrated skin.
Ultimately, our motto is everything in moderation. We know, it’s easier said than done.