We’re all drinking the Kool-Aid—ahem—the celery juice. We spend hundreds of dollars on skin care and beauty treatments, we order smashed avocado on toast at brunch (hello omegas), and we apply our SFP religiously. It would seem like we’ve got these wrinkles under wraps. But do we? What about when the sun goes down and our evening activities get underway?
Guess what happens when you start feeling that tipsy glow? Well yes, your boo’s jokes get a little funnier and you’re more inclined to open up about why you don’t like Susan from accounting. But do we fully understand what’s happening on a cellular level when we begin tipping back that dry New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc?
Alcohol will result in dehydrated skin
Alcohol is very dehydrating. Let’s call ‘drinking’ consuming two drinks a day or more. It might seem harmless day to day—I mean, you’re not getting wasted—but there is significant skin damage happening. Our entire body is affected by drinking alcohol. Any mucous membrane, including the pancreas, liver, and of course our largest organ, the skin, feel this dehydration. The tipsy feeling (did someone say karaoke?) is the dehydration of our brain cells. Similarly, the crepey, flakey skin looking back at us in the morning is the dehydration of our dermal layer of skin. Booze is literally taking all the fluid out of the skin.
Alcohol is a vasodilator. It promotes blood vessel expansion within the skin which results in redness. Red wine (sorry for the bad news!) is also a histamine releaser. This can make the redness even more prominent.
The evidence is clear if you take a woman who has been a regular drinker for 20 years or so, and a woman of the same age who rarely, if ever, consumes alcohol. Their skin is often radically different. Of course, this could be due a number of additional factors like lifestyle, stress, genetics, but the role of alcohol should not be excluded. Alcohol is a toxin.
With plenty of social but next to no nutrient value, it is important to remember this as we strive for a healthy, youthful complexion. When we choose dry, bold, sparkling, double, or on the rocks, we should also be weighing up reduced liver function, compromised immunity, insulin resistance, and hormone disruption. These factors are affecting the aging process of your skin.
Effects of alcohol on body bacteria
Our gut is a breeding ground for bacteria, good and bad. The crucial bacteria living in our gut make up our microbiome, the regulator of our immune system. When we drink alcohol, a lot or a little, these bacteria fall under attack. Research suggests that heaving drinking changes the microbiome composition and increases gut permeability which can initiate an inflammatory response in the liver and other places in the body.
What to do as skin cares?
So. Keep doing face yoga and drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. Continue the search for the best skin care products for your specific complexion. Invest in facials, chemical peels, and a really good daily SPF. But don’t forget that everything you do to hydrate and heal might just be moot if you continue with daily or semi-regular dehydration. Skin care is a full spectrum—inside and outside.