Chances are pretty small that you haven't noticed how a night of drinking affects your skin the next morning. It sags, the wrinkles are a bit deeper, and no amount of expensive skin serum can brighten your complexion. When we're in our twenties, the skin naturally bounces back to its former fresh glow. However, by the time we hit our forties and fifties, our skin needs all the help it can get to look a semblance of fresh.
I was thrilled to notice a big difference in my complexion within a month of not drinking alcohol. While it wasn't uncommon for me to go a few days without a glass of wine (well, it was kind of uncommon), my skin never showed much difference during the short reprieve from vino. It is the longer term break that has enabled my skin to detox, resulting in fewer wrinkles, less pronounced lines, more elasticity and has a glow most days.
I know there's botox, expensive skin creams, laser treatments and plenty more skin treatments to fight the effects of aging. But, one of the cheapest and, likely, among the most effective solutions is to simply stop drinking alcohol.
Here’s the lowdown on what’s happening to your skin when you consume alcohol.
It doesn’t take a scientist to recognize that booze dehydrates your body. One hangover is all it takes to experience the parched mouth that accompanies it. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the dehydration affects our skin, drying it from the inside out. The result is more wrinkles the more frequently you consume alcohol.
Alcohol widens blood vessels which can cause redness in the face – a common trait among people who drink a lot over many years (you know the ones). While the redness and puffiness goes away a few hours after drinking, consistently overdrinking can create permanent spidery veins on the complexion. According to the National Rosacea Society, alcohol is among the most common triggers.
Free radicals are a “huge beauty enemy”, writes Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics natural skincare in her book Skin Cleanse.
These are molecules created by your body with a single unpaired electron. Because they’re unpaired, free radicals are unstable and seek other atoms or molecules to bond to. If this continues to happen, it begins a process called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can damage the body's cells, leading to a range of diseases. It also causes symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles.
When we are young, our bodies have a strong antioxidant defense system that is effective at keeping the production of free radicals in check. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies grow less efficient at this process. And, I’ll bet you won’t be surprised to learn that our choices in diet can make the situation worse. Can you guess what one of the diet choices that contributes to increased free radicals is? Yep, alcohol.
To be honest, the best way to discover how alcohol affects your skin is to take a good long break from it. If you're like me, you'll love your new complexion too much to want to return to that nightly one or two or three glasses of wine.