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The Truth About Alcohol and Its Impact on Your Skin

You may think you know the side effects of alcohol on your skin and body health, but do you really? One reason people tend to think alcohol consumption is bad for the skin is because it can dehydrate the body, and many assume that if they drink plenty of water after enjoying alcoholic beverages they'll be just fine. Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

Here's What Alcohol Really Does to Your Skin...

In reality, alcohol creates inflammation throughout your 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. Excess alcohol also alters blood flow to the skin and leaves an unhealthy appearance for days. Why? 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.

But Did You Know Alcohol Can Impact Your Sleep, Too?

Since sleep is so important for rejuvenating the skin and body, it's essential that we do whatever we can to enhance the experience. A few alcoholic beverages in the evening may initially make us drowsy, but within just hours of having a drink, the alcohol triggers a burst of norepinephrine—a hormone that increases as a result of excitement or stress—in the system and causes you to come back to consciousness. The result is a very poor night's sleep (oh, and skin that looks mottled and dull the next day). Sounds great, right? Not so much.

Hard Alcohol Versus Wine

Research has shown that red wine can provide the body with protective antioxidants known as polyphenols. Because of this, Dr. Perricone has no problem with his patients enjoying the occasional glass of red wine with their meals. Why with meals rather than before? It helps avoid a rapid rise in blood sugar, which could otherwise cause a burst of inflammation throughout the body. Drinking hard liquor, though, is another story... Alcohol contains destructive molecules called aldehydes, which can wreak havoc within your body. What kind of problems are we talking about here? Cellular damage and inflammation to both the plasma membrane and portions of the cell's interior, for one. Oh, and don't even get us started on those sugary juices and sodas that tend to accompany alcoholic beverages; these also have pro-inflammatory effects on the skin, meaning that you're 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 those beverages from your body. So in summary, remember this—red wine in moderation is fine, but forget the martinis and cocktails if you want better skin health.

Our Tips for Healthier Drinking

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Stay well-hydrated by consuming plenty of water
  • Avoid sugar-laden, pro-inflammatory mixers and use soda water or tonic instead
  • Coffee is not an antidote to alcohol and will leave you feeling even worse
  • Green foods such as Green Magma contain dried barley grass, which can help neutralize the toxic effects of the aldehydes

If You've Overindulged

Hey, it happens... Should you overindulge, drink water and take the right blend of nutritional supplements to help repair the internal and external damage that greets you the following morning. We recommend:
  • 10-12 ounces 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