We usually spend our night outs hanging out with friends, and these would be times when we feel the most energetic, confident, and care-free especially when alcohol would take control most of the night, letting us escape into a more enjoyable reality. Throughout the years, alcohol consumption has been a general way to relieve stress, bond with acquaintances, or even a way to end the night. In any instance, alcohol should always be taken moderately as most of its effects can affect anyone physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Aside from the inevitable hangover the day after and the rather regretful decisions made the night before, a more subtle effect of alcohol would be how the skin appearance changes. Ever noticed after a night out that your skin feels especially dry and puffy? These are just short-term effects of alcohol consumption, excessive and chronic alcohol consumption, of course, can also lead to long-term skin problems.
Alcohol and its Effects on the Skin
It is common knowledge that the main side effect of alcohol consumption is dehydration. Alcohol is diuretic, meaning it increases the frequency of urination, and obviously, water is lost when urinating. Our body produces a hormone called vasopressin, and what this hormone does is to regulate water excretion. Having consumed alcohol, the amount of vasopressin that our body produces is reduced, thus, resulting in having to urinate more and losing water more than it is being consumed.
When dehydrated, the body cannot eliminate toxins through the skin, or through sweating and so making the skin more prone to skin problems, such as dryness, eczema, psoriasis, and even premature skin aging, sagging, and wrinkling.
Collagen is a protein that is responsible for maintaining the integrity, elasticity, and is also responsible for strengthening the skin—it is what keeps it from sagging and giving us a plump and youthful appearance. It is also what keeps our hair, muscles, bones, and ligaments healthy and strong. It also plays an important role in wound healing and skin repair.
The body’s production of collagen is depleted since alcohol can reduce the ability of skin fibroblasts to produce collagen. It can also cause depletion of vitamins and disrupt inflammatory processes in the body. All of these can accelerate the skin aging process leading to a much older appearance.
Alcohol hinders the skin’s ability to absorb nutrients such as vitamin A. Vitamin A helps
the skin in promoting natural moisturizing that helps to hydrate the skin, which also then maintains good dermis and epidermis health. Alcohol’s interference with the skin’s ability to absorb vitamin A makes the skin look duller and dry.
Although alcohol may not directly cause acne and effects may not be seen after a night of heavy drinking, excessive drinking of large alcohol doses can definitely contribute to its production. For one, alcohol plays a role in the imbalance of hormones, this imbalance could cause overstimulation of the sebaceous glands, increasing the amount of sebum produced.
Alcohol is also notorious in affecting the quality and amount of sleep that one gets. And as far as we know, lack of sleep is one of the contributing factors to acne development.
Tips to Reduce Premature Skin Aging
Drink less alcohol
As established, alcohol affects your skin roughly. Alcohol dehydrates the skin and can also do permanent damage over time. It's not that you need to cut off drinking alcohol all at once but it is important to give your skin the time to recover from the stress caused by alcohol, and as always, make sure to drink with moderation.
Smoking has been known to be a culprit for a number of diseases and negative health effects. Smoking can affect the skin appearance, causing wrinkles and dull complexion. Worse is when smoking is paired with alcohol consumption. These vices can have long term effects on certain body organs, and given that the skin is the body’s largest organ - it is no surprise that their effects would be evident on its appearance.
Eat healthy and hydrate properly
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help in preventing skin damage that leads to premature skin aging. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is helpful in slowing down skin aging. Proper hydration is also key to keeping those wrinkles and dryness at bay. Fruits high in water content like watermelon, strawberry, and pineapple are perfect for hydrating the body.
Use sun protection
Protecting your skin daily also contributes to healthy and youthful skin appearance. Make sure to use sunscreen or sunblock to protect the skin from harmful UV rays especially when staying under the sun for long periods of time. If possible, avoid sun exposure especially at times when the sun is at its peak.
This might sound cliche at this point but moisturizers do wonders for your skin. Moisturizing products work by trapping water and moisture in the skin, making it look and feel hydrated.
It is important to note that dietary supplements also play a crucial role in promoting skin and overall health. It is true that collagen is acquired through a few food groups such as poultry, meat, and bone broth; however, dietary supplements like Gloww Collagen can greatly help in increasing the body’s collagen levels. Vitamin supplements like vitamin C and A are also helpful in the stimulation and production of the collagen as well as keeping the skin healthy.
Goodman, G. D., Kaufman, J., Day, D., Weiss, R., Kawata, A. K., Garcia, J. K., Santangelo, S., & Gallagher, C. J. (2019). Impact of Smoking and Alcohol Use on Facial Aging in Women: Results of a Large Multinational, Multiracial, Cross-sectional Survey. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 12(8), 28–39.
American Academy of Dermatology Association [AAD]. (2021). 11 Ways to Reduce Premature Skin Aging. From https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/reduce-premature-aging-skin
Minnesota School of Cosmetology. (2017). How Dehydration Affects Your Hair & Skin. From https://www.msccollege.edu/blogs/hair/dehydration-affects-hair-skin/