This blog post was inspired by curiosity. Questions from my children about why their grandmother has very few wrinkles even though she is only a few years shy of 70.
This took me down a rabbit hole of digging and researching. I had quite a few ‘Woah, I am so glad I have stopped drinking alcohol - moments.’
In pursuit of timeless beauty and ageless skin, we try the latest cream that will tighten those fine lines, or book elaborate facials, or chug water religiously – yet there could be a simple change we can make to slow down the aging process of our skin.
Whilst most of us are aware of the negative effects that continued alcohol consumption can have on our health, not many are aware of the damaging effects it can have on the physical appearance of our skin. In a nutshell, drinking alcohol ages your skin.
There’s the obvious correlation between a big night out and the next-morning raccoon eyes. But what does that do in the big picture, what does sustained drinking (a serving or two per day, let’s say) do for one’s complexion?
1. Dehydration: as your body processes and breaks down alcohol it release a by-product called acetaldehyde. Toxic to body tissue and skin, it causes skin to lose moisture, which is why your skin can feel rough and desert-dry the morning after a binge. Add all the times you’ve had a bender, and imagine what it does to your skin. Dehydrated skin easily wrinkles, and routinely dehydrated skin is sparse on resilience, firmness, and elasticity.
2. Inflammation: Alcohol can increase nitric oxide and cause the blood vessels in the skin to dilate rapidly. You may think at first “I’m a little blushy, not a big deal” but over a period of time with sustained alcohol consumption, 6 mths, a year, 2 years, it can become redness you cannot escape. (As a side note: think of the inflammation it is causing to all your other organs…)
3. Cell regeneration: Of the many bodily processes impacted by alcohol, sleep ranks among the most vulnerable. Sleep is when your body best heals, restores and regenerates cells. Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycle, and therefore significantly interferes with the cell regeneration process. Wonder why your skin looks dull the morning after drinking?
4. Puffy, tired eyes. Combine dehydration, inflammation, and lack of sleep from alcohol consumption and it gives you puffy, tired, dry and itchy, red eyes. The state of your eyes after a night out, very possibly gives away your age.
A bit OTT you say?? Maybe, but if you consume alcohol regularly and have been doing so for a few years, maybe the above is something for you to consider?
My obvious solution for giving our skin the best helping hand is moderation if you can, choose a Non-Alcoholic beverage, or cut out booze altogether.