Alcohol and Your Skin

The New York Times and other popular publications have dubbed this summer’s drink as, “The Dirty Shirley”, basically a spiked Shirley Temple. This got us thinking, if summer is synonymous with being outside and enjoying a cocktail in the sun, where does this leave our skin? We know the sun causes structural damage to our DNA and greatly increases the risks of developing skin cancer. But what about alcohol? If you are someone who enjoys a nice glass of wine or a trendy cocktail we’ve gathered the information you should know when it comes to your skin & alcohol. 

To be blunt: drinking alcohol negatively impacts your skin in two major ways, dehydration & inflammation. A combination that is less than desirable when it comes to our skin.  But there are ways to combat the effects of alcohol on your skin, and keep your glow even if you drink. 

Alcohol and Dehydration:

First and foremost, alcohol is a diuretic, basically it makes you urinate more. Have you ever drank and felt the urge to use the bathroom more than usual? That’s the alcohol! Your liver works overtime to filter out the alcohol, this results in an increase of fluids to your bladder. 

This signals bad news for your skin because your body is becoming increasingly dehydrated. Lack of hydration and water to your skin means an increase of wrinkles & signs of aging. But thats not it, alcohol can dilate your pores and lead to an increase of whiteheads and blackheads. 

Alcohol and Inflammation: 

Along with dehydration, inflammation is one of the biggest side effects of alcohol consumption. Alcohol inflames the skin via a histamine reaction. The same system that alerts our body when we’ve eaten something we’re allergic to. The flush and glow you might get from a few drinks is caused by this reaction, and can have lasting effects if you are a continuous drinker. Studies show that people who drink heavily and consistently have a much higher rate of rosacea, due to the constant flushing and inflammation of the skin.

an example of the consequences of repeated heavy drinking, a permanently flushed and aggravated face

Sugary Drinks and Alcohol:

We love a sweet cocktail as much as the next person, but it is important to understand how much sugar might be in your fruity drink. Cocktails can have more sugar within them than 2 candy bars combined. Consuming high amounts of sugar in combination with alcohol can lead to glycation, the process in which sugar molecules attach themselves to proteins including collagen and break them down. This means more wrinkles and loss of elasticity.

How to Combat the Effects of Alcohol on Your Skin:

The good news is that your skin and body can always bounce back. The key to drinking and preserving your skin is the one-to-one rule. With every drink you have out, be sure to supplement with a big glass of water. This will not only slow down your consumption, but allow your body time to re-hydrate itself while it processes the alcohol. 

Gentle skincare after a night of drinking will also help your skin heal. Using products with minimal actives will allow your skin time to heal itself without further interference. Looking for a new moisturizer or cleanser? Our microbiome friendly product line is the perfect place to start. 

The truth is, alcohol is damaging to our skin and the only way to truly get rid of the bad side effects is to cut out drinking altogether. However, we understand that is not the plan for most people. Limiting your alcoholic consumption to once or twice a week will help your body (and your skin!) time to heal itself and rehydrate. 

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