It is one of life’s basic conundrums: so many of the little things that bring us joy are also bad for us, especially if we enjoy them in excess. A greasy cheeseburger, a long day in the sun, cocktails after a long work day or while out with friends – these simple pleasures can wreak havoc with our health, including our skin. That last indulgence – alcohol – can have a huge negative impact on our appearance in multiple ways.
We know that excessive alcohol consumption causes numerous health problems, including damage to our organs, the liver and kidneys in particular. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and like the other organs it is not immune from the harsh effects of alcohol. Here are three ways your excessive drinking can damage your skin:
- Few things can dehydrate you like alcohol. Like the rest of your body, your skin is mostly made of water, and when that water disappears, your thirsty skin cells don’t function properly. This leads to drying, flaking and overall tightness. Over time, dryness causes wrinkling that could otherwise be averted. Not only does alcohol rob your skin of water, it also steals vitamin A which is vital for skin cell renewal. When you lose that vitamin A, your skin can appear dull and grey. In additional to dryness, a lack of fluids and nutrients fortifying your skin can lead to bloating or swelling as your body attempts to store inside whatever resources it isn’t receiving from the outside. Whether you consume alcohol or not, staying hydrated is one of the most important and easiest things you can do to maintain healthy looking skin.
- Alcohol contributes to acne in multiple ways. Your immune system is constantly trying to fight the bacteria which can cause acne. Alcohol damages your immune system, weakening its ability to keep acne under control and leading to more outbreaks. Alcohol’s dehydrating effects also contribute to outbreaks because water is key to removing the inflammatory toxins which cause acne. Additionally, many alcoholic beverages such as mixed or sweet cocktails and wine contain large amounts of sugar; excessive sugar levels are a trigger for many acne sufferers. As if that wasn’t enough, alcohol also shrinks skin pores, making them more likely to clog.
- Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that mostly affects the face. From a distance, rosacea appears as red splotches. Up close, however, rosacea is a cluster of pustules or bumps. Around 1 in 20 Americans, 14 million in total, have rosacea. While alcohol does not cause rosacea, it can aggravate the condition and cause more flare ups. Since alcohol increases your blood flow, it can cause blood vessels in your face to dilate and sometimes burst, leaving you with broken capillaries and red spots.
If you want to keep your skin healthy and minimize the negative effects that alcohol can have on your appearance, Dr. Mariano Busso recommends that you moderate your alcohol consumption and ensure that you stay hydrated by consuming at least 64-oz – or 8 glasses – of water per day. For more information on how to keep your skin healthy and youthful or to book your next cosmetic dermatology appointment in Miami, contact us at 305-857-0144.