Alcohol and Your Skin
Dr. Perricone Discusses

Alcohol and Your Skin

One reason people generally think alcohol consumption is bad for the skin is that it tends to dehydrate the body, and many assume that if they drink plenty of water after enjoying alcoholic beverages they'll be just fine. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Alcohol and Your Skin

In reality, alcohol creates inflammation throughout the body and skin, and its effects far surpass dehydration alone. Dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging, fine lines and lack of resilience are just some of the symptoms that can result within the skin alone.

Excess alcohol also alters blood flow to the skin, leaving an unhealthy appearance for days. This is because alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the surface. This produces a flushed color and a feeling of warmth, which can lead to broken capillaries on the face.

Alcohol and Sleep

Since sleep is so important for rejuvenating the skin and body, it is essential that we do whatever we can to enhance the sleep experience. A few alcoholic beverages in the evening may initially make us drowsy, but within just hours of taking a drink, the alcohol triggers a burst of norepinephrine in the system and causes you to come back to consciousness. Norepinephrine is a hormone that increases as a result of excitement or stress, and the result is a very poor night's sleep – as well as skin that looks mottled and dull the next day.

Hard Alcohol vs. Wine

I do not have a problem with my patients having an occasional glass of red wine with their meals, as research shows that red wine can provide the body with protective antioxidants known as polyphenols. I suggest drinking your wine with meals rather than before to avoid a rapid rise in blood sugar, which causes a burst of inflammation throughout the body.

On the reverse, drinking hard liquor as opposed to wine can cause many problems in the body. Alcohol contains destructive molecules called aldehydes, which cause cellular damage and inflammation to both the plasma membrane and portions of the cell's interior. And the sugary juices and sodas that tend to accompany alcoholic beverages also have pro-inflammatory effects on the skin, so you're be better off using water or tonic instead. Also keep in mind that the alcohol content of hard liquor is very high, and it's the liver that must work to detoxify your beverages from your body. In summary, red wine in moderation is fine, but forget the martinis and cocktails.

In summary, red wine in moderation is fine, but forget the martinis and cocktails.

Tips for Healthier Drinking

Make sure never to drink alcohol on an empty stomach, and stay well-hydrated by consuming plenty of water. Avoid sugar-laden, pro-inflammatory mixers and use soda water or tonic instead. Note that coffee is not an antidote to alcohol. In fact, it will leave you feeling even worse! And green foods such as Green Magma contain dried barley grass, which can neutralize the toxic effects of the aldehydes. It is the perfect 'detox.'

If You've Over-Indulged

Should you over-indulge, drink fresh, pure water and take the right blend of nutritional supplements to help repair the internal and external damage that greets you the following morning. I recommend:

  • 10 -12 ounce glass of water
  • 1000 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 1200 milligrams of n-acetyl cysteine
  • 100 milligrams of alpha lipoic acid
  • 1000 milligrams glutamine
  • 500 milligrams of pantothenic acid A B-complex capsule

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