In the pursuit of a complexion that ages slowly and gracefully, it should be encouraging to hear that you can significantly influence this process. While genetics do play a role in aging (about 25%), the lifestyle choices you make play a much greater role. One of these lifestyle choices is how much alcohol you consume on a daily or weekly basis. It’s important to know exactly how this affects your skin so that you can make informed decisions.
What Alcohol is Doing to Your Skin and Body
These are some of the ways alcohol affects your skin and body:
It Can Cause Blemishes
Alcohol can have a depressive effect on the nervous system, which negatively impacts the adrenal glands. A condition called ‘adrenal fatigue’ is thought to be a possible contributor to adult hormonal acne. In addition, alcohol can cause puffiness in the skin. This puts pressure on the pores, which creates a narrower pore lining. This can all lead to dead cells and oil getting trapped in the pores, potentially triggering the start of the blemish cycle. Rapid Response Detox Masque is my go-to treatment to minimize bacteria within the pores and prevent new blemishes from appearing.
It Creates Redness in the Skin and Can Cause Capillary Fragility and Damage
Drinking inflames tissues and triggers a histamine response. As a result, the skin reddens and gets warm to the touch. In the process, blood vessels that deliver blood to the face dilate (widen). While these vessels can constrict again once the skin cools down, this back-and-forth eventually causes them to lose their elasticity. This, then, leaves vessels permanently widened, resulting in the appearance of broken capillaries under the skin. These are usually most visible around the nose and cheeks and, in fair skin tones especially, can even create the look of a moderate sunburn. If you already have rosacea, this process can exacerbate your condition. Read this post for helpful tips to prevent capillary damage.
It Can Make Your Skin Age Faster
Overconsumption of alcohol causes chronic inflammation and harmful free radical activity. This gradually wears on connective tissues resulting in flaccid, loose, sagging skin.
Alcohol also depletes essential vitamins in both the skin and body. This prevents oxygen and healthy nutrients from being properly delivered to cells. Finally, alcohol greatly reduces vitamin A, an important antioxidant that’s also responsible for the regeneration of new cells.
It Causes Severe Dehydration (Water Loss) in the Skin
Water is what keeps the skin looking plump and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles. When the skin lacks water, lines and wrinkles become more prominent (Watch this video to see what dehydrated skin looks like). The good news is that facial dehydration is a very temporary condition. It’s easy to restore your skin’s proper water levels by using a serum with hyaluronic acid, like Skin Drink Concentrate.
Learn how dry skin is different than dehydrated skin.
It Can Make Skin Look Puffy
Alcohol has a diuretic effect that leads to dehydration. This tells your body to hold on to more water weight, causing the face to look puffy and your clothes to fit tighter.
As you can see, Alcohol isn’t doing the skin and body many favors. However, it’s the amount and frequency of your drinking that really matters. There is some research that shows alcohol in moderation has some health benefits. In fact, my grandmother lived to age 102 (see her 100th birthday party) and was quite the drinker throughout her adult life. From a longevity standpoint, it seemed to work in her favor or she simply had a liver of steel. You may have also heard that red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps increase good HDL cholesterol. So that’s a plus!
The lifetime journey to maintain healthy and youthful-looking skin is all about the good choices you make. Smart habits include wearing a generous layer of sunscreen daily, limiting your time outdoors, wearing UV protective clothing, getting adequate sleep, eating a diet rich in nutrients, and maintaining a healthy balance in the amount of alcohol you consume. These will have an impact above and beyond your genetic predisposition. As for me, I never formed the habit of having a drink every night, though many of my friends have. I personally reserve drinking for special occasions.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”