Bottoms Up.. To Your Complexion!
Alcohol’s negative effects on the body are well-documented. Most people are aware of alcohol’s damage on the liver and stomach, but what about its impact on our outer appearance? As it turns out, frequent alcohol consumption can have a significant impact on our skin.
According to Dr. Colbert of the New York Dermatology Group, alcohol contain congeners, which are produced during the fermentation process of alcohol. Cogeners play a role in the taste and smell of alcohol, but they’re also the source of many health issues that accompany a few cocktails.
Cogeners are the main reason we experience hangovers after a night of drinking, but they’re also why we look tired and pasty after having one too many. In addition, alcohol dehydrates the body. When the body is dehydrated, it can’t keep our skin as soft and elastic as it should be. This can lead to cracked skin and enlarged pores.
Our skin doesn’t suffer only because it’s dehydrated from the alcohol. Alcohol’s other effects can play a major role in skin damage as well. Let’s take a look at a few ways alcohol impacts our body’s ability to preserve itself, and how this leads to unhealthy skin.
Average ABV of Wine
Number of Drinks in a Bottle of Wine
Alcohol is a Diuretic
Once consumed, alcohol can make a person urinate more frequently than usual. Because alcohol is diuretic, the body can’t extract water from urine in the kidneys. This heightens our risk of dehydration, which can result in dry, dull skin. Extended bouts of dry skin can lead to other dermatological ailments, such as eczema, which can cause long-lasting skin troubles and other frustrations.
Alcohol Impairs the Immune System
Our immune systems fight to remove any foreign objects in our body, such as viruses and bacteria. When our immune systems aren’t functioning at their fullest, our bodies become more prone to disease and other ailments. When we consume alcohol, we diminish our immune system’s power and open ourselves up to more threats. Just as our immune system protects the inside of our body, it protects the outside as well. Too much alcohol consumption can increase our risk of fungal and bacterial skin infections, which can lead to more extreme skin conditions over time. New studies show alcohol consumption may be related to skin cancer for similar reasons. The results are inconclusive, but many dermatologists are beginning to believe the immune suppression from alcohol consumption could lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Alcohol Depletes Your Body of Nutrients
There are studies showing the potential benefits of alcohol on our heart and circulation, but this doesn’t mean alcohol has any veritable nutrients to offer our bodies. In fact, alcohol can negatively impact our vitamin and mineral levels, causing a depletion in our body’s healthy nutrients that help us function properly. Consumption of alcohol has the most impact on our vitamin A, C, and B3 levels, which play a significant role in maintaining our skin. These vitamins serve as antioxidants, which help us look young and healthy. When we consume too much alcohol, these vitamin levels can get dangerously low, and our skin will suffer as a result.
How Much is Too Much?
The big question remains, should we stop drinking alcohol entirely to preserve our skin? Does alcohol benefit our skin in any measurable way? How much alcohol does it take to significantly impact our skin’s health?
There’s no evidence to suggest complete abstinence from alcohol results in significant improvement to the skin. Most alcohol-related skin problems are the result of over drinking or drinking too much on a consistent basis. In fact, studies show moderate alcohol intake combined with proper water consumption can help our skin in some situations. Red wine contains the antioxidant resveratrol, which is known to benefit our skin and bodies in a wide variety of ways. Some studies show it even slows the process of aging.
While a glass of red wine can help our skin, the same can’t be said with all alcoholic beverages. White and dark liquors contain more congeners than other types of alcohol, meaning they have the greatest impact on our bodies. By sticking to drinks with a lower alcohol content in moderation, we can effectively preserve our skin without completely abstaining from alcohol.
Sources And Further Reading