How Alcohol Affects Your Skin

There are numerous health benefits to abstaining from alcohol. Yet surely not everyone wants to refrain entirely from drinking.

But the problem is that if you drink a lot of alcohol, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep. This lack of sleep can lead to dark circles under your eyes and a slew of other skin problems.

The breakdown of alcohol in the body can cause dullness, enlarged pores, blotchiness, heightened redness, and puffiness in your skin. 

What does alcohol do to your skin?

There are two outcomes of drinking alcohol – inflammation and dehydration.

In this article, we will dive into what inflammation and dehydration do to your skin in detail. And we will show you why you’re better off without drinking alcohol entirely.

The Impact of Alcohol-Induced Dehydration on Your Skin

  • Dryness
  • Elasticity loss, resulting in wrinkles and drooping skin
  • Enlarged pores
  • Dullness

Alcohol is known to dry the skin, robbing it of the moisture and nutrients required to keep our skin appearing beautiful, supple, and youthful.

Alcohol drains moisture from the skin, and it can exacerbate wrinkles, dryness, and sagging skin. As a diuretic, it actively pulls water from the body, drastically reducing your water levels and causing dehydration. 

And dehydrated skin can appear dry and unhealthy, both in terms of color and texture. Dehydration can also result in congestion in your skin.

Alcohol dehydration can enlarge the pores of the skin, causing a rise in blackheads and whiteheads. If not treated properly, this can lead to acne and rosacea.

In the long run, alcohol-induced dehydration ages the skin quickly and often results in permanent scars.

The Impact of Alcohol-Induced Inflammation on Your Skin

  • Acne
  • Increased skin redness or flushing
  • Blotchiness
  • Rosacea
  • Puffiness

Alcoholic beverages, particularly cocktails and wine, are extremely heavy in sugar. And this will be seen in your skin if you consume more than the recommended quantity.

Sugar found in alcoholic beverages has been demonstrated to activate the hormone IGF-1. This hormone causes an overproduction of oil in your skin and raises your risks of breakouts or acne.

Also, if you have the skin ailment rosacea, it is very likely that alcohol will aggravate your symptoms.

Rosacea is a condition that is exacerbated by alcohol intake, particularly red wine. Because it is an inflammatory condition, drinking alcohol increases the likelihood of a flare-up.

In fact, the disease is frequently caused and made worse by alcohol.

On the other hand, due to its vasodilatory impact, alcohol is also a culprit for producing inflammatory signals within the skin. This can result in redness and flushing as it opens up your blood vessels and abnormally increases blood flow.

Alcohol is also known to cause fluid retention and puffiness on the face. 

Another thing is that some skin diseases like jaundice, pruritus or itchy skin, pigmentary changes, urticaria or hived, hair and nail changes, and mouth changes can all be considered as symptoms of alcohol abuse.

Abusing alcohol is also a significant risk factor for skin cancer and infections. 

You have to watch your drinking.

If you want to keep yourself healthy with flawless skin, it would be best if you avoid alcohol as much as possible or entirely.

But if you are okay with social drinking on occasion, you should look into types of alcoholic beverages that are worse for your skin than others.

The higher the alcohol content is there in your drink of choice, the worse it is for your health and skin.

If you want to keep your skin but still enjoy a couple of drinks occasionally, here are the types of drinks that you should avoid.

  • Whiskey
  • Dark Rum
  • Cognac
  • Brandy
  • Other Dark Spirits

These drinks are the worst not only for your skin but for the morning after. Dark spirits are the culprit for the most painful hangovers for drinkers.

Dark spirits, such as whiskey and brandy, have congeners, such as tannings and methanol, in them. These compounds are produced during the fermentation process, and they aggravate hangovers.

The alcohol concentration or ABV (alcohol by volume) is often higher in dark liquor as well. Dark liquors have the most alcohol content among alcoholic drinks.

As a result, their effects on your skin might be significantly worse than others.

You should also avoid red wine. 

While it can be considered a healthy alcoholic drink because of its antioxidants, it’s still significantly damaging to your skin. This is because red wine is often unfiltered, requiring more for the body to process it.

Red wine is the most probable alcoholic beverage to induce flushing, redness, and blotchy skin.

You should also avoid alcoholic drinks that are too sweet, like white wine and cocktails. They have a high sugar content that causes a drop in GAGs (Glycosaminoglycans – compounds that sustain the proteins in your cells). As a result, your collagen and elastin break down.

Sugary alcohol can also cause a dull, sallow complexion and puffiness.

If you’re going to drink, drink moderately and go for clear spirits like:

  • Gin
  • White Rum
  • Sake
  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Soju

Lighter-colored alcoholic drinks have the fewest ingredients and are digested by the body the quickest. This means they should have the least amount of influence on your skin, minimizing any damage.

You can also consider beer as a better alternative. What makes beer less dangerous is that it fills you up quickly, so you intake less alcohol than with spirits.

Still, if you overdo it, you’ll suffer the consequences.

Remember that alcohol is not only bad for your skin. It can also damage your entire physical and mental health, resulting in many pains and discomforts.

You can face illnesses, social problems, loss of relationships, accidents, crime, disrupted finance and more if you abuse alcohol. All that while you have ugly skin.

And you don’t want that.

So if you or someone you know seems to have less and less control of their drinking, you should get help. Speak to a professional about Alcohol Withdrawal to restore your wellness without drinking.

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