But what happens if you have more than that?
It’s easy to think that, so long as you don’t have a drinking problem, alcohol isn’t a health issue.
After all, it’s even recognized that a glass of red wine a night can be good for your health!
The truth, though, is that alcohol can have a real impact on how quickly you age.
And alcohol especially affects your skin and how old – or young – you look.
So much so that alcohol and skin health are directly related.
Chronological Age Matters
Are you starting to feel like a couple drinks are harder to shake off the next morning than they used to be? It’s not your imagination.
The older you get, the greater the impact of the same amount of alcohol becomes.
Physically, everything slows down, including the systems your body uses to process alcohol.
No matter how healthy you are, your body probably doesn’t function as efficiently as it did in your 20s and 30s.
Which means it takes your body longer to flush alcohol from your system, including your skin.
So you know how unattractive you look after a night of imbibing too much? Those effects stick around longer, simply because your body is having to work harder.
But that’s only an extra few hours. What about really long-term effects?
Dry, Drier, Driest
For many people, the most obvious effect alcohol has on skin is dehydration. Every organ gets sucked dry by alcohol – and skin is the largest organ in your body!
Just like soil that gets too dry begins to crack over time, so will your skin. The alcohol causes wrinkles, fine lines, and cracking, and will until your skin is hydrated again and has a chance to renew itself.
But another effect alcohol has on skin is that the alcohol robs the skin of vitamin A – which is essential for skin renewal.
So, first the alcohol dries out the skin but it has also leeched out the vitamin that would allow the skin to help repair itself.
When you’re younger, it may seem like this process doesn’t take a permanent toll, but you can and will see the results of this cycle in your skin as you get older.
Plus, as we talked about earlier, it takes longer once you’re more mature.
Makes Other Issues Worse…
For people who have skin conditions – especially rosacea – alcohol and skin health are intricately linked. In simplest terms, alcohol exacerbates preexisting skin issues.
In one study, 52% of rosacea patients reported that drinking alcohol made their skin condition worse, and even triggered flare ups.
But it’s not just rosacea. A reported 40% of psoriasis sufferers consume too much alcohol.
While it’s unclear if people are drinking to help deal with the condition, or if the alcohol is triggering the rash, it’s clear alcohol and the skin condition are linked.
…While Contributing to New Skin Issues
Because alcohol doesn’t just exacerbate skin conditions. Alcohol can also create skin conditions.
Alcohol causes an increase in blood flow, which requires the small blood vessels, capillaries, near the surface of your skin to dilate.
If you drink enough alcohol, over a long enough period of time, these capillaries can end up bursting because the increased blood flow has come so often and so fast.
It’s what creates that tell-tale red nose and cheeks of a long-term drinker.
And It’s Not Just the Alcohol
As much as alcohol and skin are interconnected, it’s not just the alcohol that’s causing premature aging. It’s also the mixers that are adding to the problem.
So many drinks are made with alcohol and a sugary mixer – which compounds the skin responses caused by the alcohol. See, too much sugar creates inflammation, which in and of itself causes skin damage and premature aging.
You’re taking alcohol, which causes skin damage, and combining it with soda, juice, or a premade mixer packed with sugar, which causes skin damage. Do that often enough, and you’re going to be able to see it in the mirror.
Now, don’t misunderstand – we here at NorthStar Nutritionals aren’t anti-alcohol. But we are pro-health. And pro-moderation. And pro-education.
Which means we want to make sure you know how alcohol and skin health are connected. So that you can make the choice that’s right for you.