We all know what can happen when we celebrate: one drink turns into two, then three, and before we know it, we wake up with a hangover and a puffy face. While most of us understand the harmful effects of alcohol on our bodies, we somehow ignore that skin can get hungover too! What does the science say about drinking and why it’s not great for your skin? Read on.

Drinking Causes Dehydration

While you’re enjoying your drinks, you’re probably not aware that you are flushing out extra water from your body and your skin. What’s actually happening? Your body is metabolizing the alcohol and releases it as acetaldehyde, a toxic substance that leads to dehydration. That explains why your skin can feel zapped of moisture the morning after a binge. 

Dehydration does have an influence on premature aging because routinely dehydrated skin loses its resilience, firmness, and elasticity. Hello, wrinkles!

Alcohol Exacerbates Inflammation

You know that redness or flush you get on your face after a few drinks? What’s happening is that the alcohol in your cocktails, beer, or wine is releasing histamines that dilate your blood’s capillaries which can exacerbate existing issues like acne. Though it can eventually go away, the inflammation and redness can be permanent if drinking is compounded over several years.

TIPPLING Decreases Quality Sleep

While you sleep, your skin is usually hard at work reversing damage caused by stress and environmental elements. But studies show that drinking disrupts this restorative sleep. That explains why your skin might look duller the morning after.  A lack of beauty sleep leaves your skin unable to recover and leads to decreased cellular turnover. Remember, this can contribute to further signs of premature aging!

How to Reduce the Effects of Alcohol on Your Skin

Pure abstinence from alcohol is a good idea for preventing inflammation, dehydration, and premature aging. But for most of us, cutting alcohol completely is not a realistic solution. So, consider the following tips:

  1. Minimize your alcohol intake to once or twice a week. The lower your intake, the lower the damage to your skin. 
  2. Alternate one serving of alcohol and a glass of water. The water will not only help flush out the alcohol but also keep you hydrated. 
  3. Eat a full meal prior to or while drinking. Since some of the alcohol will pass through the gastrointestinal system (along with your food), you’ll have fewer side effects. 
  4. Stay on top of your skincare routine. Use products with ingredients that encourage cell renewal (like retinol) and that also encourage moisture retention (like hyaluronic acid).

The Bottom Line

Your skin, like any other organ in your body, has the amazing ability to regenerate. But we all need to remember that regeneration depends on how much damage has been done. Once we destroy the collagen—the scaffold protein that provides elasticity and smoothness to your skin— it’s hard to get it back.  

So, heed the advice of every medical practitioner on this planet: If you drink, drink in moderation. Your body—and your skin—will thank you!

Be Beautiful Medical is on a mission to help you look and feel your best. Reach out to us with your questions!

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