How Bad Is Alcohol For Your Skin?
As the dust begins to settle on another festive period, life, rather abruptly returns to normal and leaves us pondering what affect all that indulgence had on our body. More often than not, the signs begin to show in our skin, first, alongside the headaches and tiredness that is. So, what affect does alcohol have on our skin? Is there any way we can reduce these effects in the future?.
Alcohol is dehydrating for the skin
The first clear issue is that Alcohol will dehydrate you. Alcohol is a diuretic so, the more you drink, the more you’ll find yourself in the bathroom. Now, we have all experienced and we all know that dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and the rest but dehydration also affects the skin? Unfortunately, yes it does! Time and again, studies have shown that higher water inputs will positively impact your skin.
How does dehydration affect your skin?
When skin is dehydrated it can cause a variety of problems from spot breakouts, to irritation and dry patches – all things you may have noticed post beers, cocktail and wine during the festive period.
This is caused by an excess production of oil. When your skin is lacking in water it will create more oil to make up for the missing water. You might even find that your skin feels oily and dry at the same time – not ideal!
Alcohol is full of toxins
When consuming alcohol your body metabolises all those cocktails and beers through an enzyme in the liver – in the process, a byproduct is produced called acetaldehyde. This byproduct is toxic to your body tissues, drying out your skin, priming it for a pimple breakout, and also leaving you prone to premature aging of the skin.
Alcohol is inflammatory
Not only is your liver working hard to process all that alcohol, which is releasing a toxic byproduct, but also due to alcohol’s inflammatory affects, your body is now also producing histamine that dilates your blood capillaries which causes redness in the skin.
Alcohol Induced Eczema and Cystic Acne
Not drinking alcohol and increasing your water intake can negate many of the affects alcohol has on the body. This will flush out those toxins and help you to rehydrate.
There are, however, more serious skin issues that alcohol can exacerbate. Due to the dryness caused by alcohol consumption you may find this causes a flare up for eczema and dermatitis sufferers.
As well as the dryness, alcohol dilates the pores of the skin and this leads to more whiteheads and blackheads. If not treated properly it can go on to cause inflamed skin papules and cystic acne.
Which alcoholic drinks are the least bad for the skin?
Since additives put the most strain on the liver and usually contribute to more dehydration, its best avoiding drinks high in additives. Beer tends to have a lot of added sugar and salt which is not good for your skin and dark liquors tend to have more additives than their clear liquor compatriots so we would recommend avoiding if you have sensitive skin. Ultimately, although opinion is largely mixed, Red wine is arguably one of the best for you due to its high resevratol content – this acts as an anti-oxidant for the tissues and skin and helps rid the body of harmful toxins.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. I moved to the Bay Area in January 2013 and I attended the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley from 2013 to 2014 as a visiting PhD candidate. My PhD thesis is on Digital Health and so far I have published 4 peer review scientific papers. I founded First Derm in 2014.