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How Does Alcohol Affect The Skin?

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effects alcohol skin

Effects of Alcohol on the Skin

When you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, it can have a negative impact on your skin. Specifically toxins can build up in the deep layers of your skin and cause inflammation which can result in redness, dehydration, acne, fine lines and broken capillaries.

If you’re someone who enjoys a casual drink but has found that your alcohol consumption has increased since the coronavirus pandemic began, you’re not alone, and it could be affecting your skin.

A recent survey from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation has found that 12 per cent of Australians have begun consuming alcohol daily since the coronavirus pandemic started. The survey showed that many Australians who did not drink regularly prior have picked up the habit to every day or every other day. Not only have people picked up their drinking to a more regular routine, but 1 in 10 people are also consuming more than ten standard drinks per week, which is considered heavy drinking.

What is alcohol doing to your skin?

We know alcohol has a damaging effect on the liver, but we seldom think how much it can also affect our skin till it’s too late. The liver plays an essential part in eliminating toxins and alcohol and processes over 90 per cent of consumed alcohol. The remaining 10 per cent can exit via urine, sweat and breathing.

It also takes the body approximately an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. This time frame increases with each drink. The higher someone’s blood alcohol content, the longer it takes to process alcohol. But the liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time. When someone has too much to drink, the alcohol left unprocessed by the liver circulates through the bloodstream, and toxins will build up through the largest organ in the body, which is the skin.

wine impact on skinThe signs of too much alcohol or toxins in the skin can be: 

  • Redness
  • Dehydration
  • Acne/Rosacea/Eczema flare up
  • Fine lines
  • Dullness
  • Inflammation
  • Broken capillaries 

What role does sugar in alcohol play on our skin?

Not only does the alcohol create problems for the skin, but it’s often the sugar in alcohol that can wreak havoc on the skin. Cutting back on alcohol or going on a detox for a month can significantly benefit your skin, and you can often see immediate results in the skin rehydrating and rejuvenating. It will also allow your skin to absorb nutrients and vitamins more efficiently, reducing inflammation and redness.

Sugar is a highly acidic inflammatory food that can cause high sugar spikes  in your bloodstream which increases insulin levels .The body responds by producing more male hormones that increases sebum/oil production and flare up acne.

Excess sugar also causes a chemical reaction called glycation which makes your building blocks of collagen and elastin weaker = wrinkles and older looking skin.

Which alcohol has the most sugar

Wine – some wines have more sugar than others, especially sweet wines and bubbly wines. Dry wines have less sugar, so if you want to pick a wine with less sugar, try dry red wines like Pinot noir, Merlot or dry white wines like Pinot blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Beer & Cider – While most standard beers contain very little sugar and less than wine, you need to watch out for the new types of ‘flavoured beers’ with sugar. Ciders typically are made with naturally occurring sugars, but many have added sugar, so check the ingredients.

Spirits – Most hard spirits, especially clear spirits like vodka, gin and tequila, don’t have any added sugar and are probably the best of all alcohol to consume in low doses if mixed with low sugar mixers such as soda water. The minute you mix them with tonic water, or juice or other sugar mixers or in a cocktail format, you’re in for larger amounts of sugar. 

Ways to combat and protect your skin 

It is possible to maintain beautiful skin while still enjoying the occasional happy hour. Here’s how to prevent and treat the adverse effects drinking alcohol has on the skin:

  1. Clean your skin after a night out with a good cleanser and apply a hydrating moisturiser. such as the B5/Manuka infused Gel Cleanser.
  2. Drink lots of water throughout the day, not just before you go to bed, to ensure toxins flush out through your system
  3. If you wake with puffiness around the eyes, apply your soothing eye cream or serum that had been stored in the fridge.
  4. If your skin shows signs of redness or flushing in the skin the next day or days after drinking, you may need to consider some other treatments such as the: A List Facial which includes enzyme peel and LED light Therapy. Enzymes are fabulous non-acid peels that contain a powerful blend of botanicals enriched with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant rich ingredients  for all skin types. The LED Facial  is a quick lunchtime treatment to settle down skin  30 mins. BBL Corrective  to reduce redness and broken capillaries associated with Rosacea. BBL Forever Clear  to reduce acne redness  and bacteria causing new acne spots/lesions.
  5. Fine lines occur from natural ageing, but they can also arise from the skin being dehydrated. Some hydrating facials that can help stimulate cells and dehydration are the: A list Facial or Skin Needling with Hyaluronic Serum and antioxidants. The channels created will increase absorption and penetration of nutrients and hydration.

At MD Cosmetic and Skin Clinic, we have a range of treatments and products we can advise to help minimise the effects of skin damaged by toxins and alcohol. Call us today for the right treatment, and let us help you look your best.