There are good reasons to consider moderating your drinking over the holidays if you have a chronic skin condition such as acne, eczema, psoriasis or other issue. Even if your skin is healthy, you might want to watch how much you imbibe in order to preserve your youngest and most luminous-looking skin. Here are some of the reasons why.
One downside of alcohol is that it dehydrates your skin. In fact, over time, the drying effect of drinking can contribute to fine lines, more and deeper wrinkles, and generally makes you look older. Within just hours it can make your skin look less plump and firm as the moisture exits your skin cells. That’s one reason why drinking a glass of water between each glass of wine, beer or each cocktail is actually very good advice.
Too Merry and Bright
Alcohol is also highly inflammatory! Think of the sting you feel or the redness you see after applying alcohol to an open cut or freshly shaven skin. That’s happening on the inside too! Some people have an automatic red flush whenever they drink that goes away by the next day. The bad news is that the more you drink, and as you age, that inflamed red skin can last even longer. Another reason alcohol contributes to skin redness is that it dilates the blood vessels. Over time, this can raise the capillaries closer to your skin’s surface, making the reddish effect permanent.
Alcohol also puts a heavy burden on the liver, the largest detoxifying organ in your body. This means your liver is so busy detoxifying the alcohol from your cocktails and champagne, that it may not be able to filter other toxins out of your bloodstream as efficiently. When that happens, not only do you feel hungover, but the body sends some of these toxins to the skin for excretion (since the skin is also a detoxifying organ.) This is also why your perspiration may smell a bit “off” for a day or two after a night of indulging. It’s also another major reason why drinking can cause skin flare-ups.
Things You Can Do
What if the worst happens, and all the yummy food and drinks at the holiday party gave you a “skin hangover” or a flare-up? If that’s the case, it’s time to turn up the TLC:
- Be gentle and be sure to follow your trusted skin care regimen
- Rest and hydrate your body
- Avoid sun or skin contact with other irritants and chemicals,
- Eat lots of hydrating fruits and vegetables with skin-loving vitamins like A and C.
- Try to avoid drinking more alcohol until your skin is back to its normal condition. If your skin is very sensitive to flareups, you may need to abstain until your whole-body system is in better balance.
Moderating how much you drink, eating healthfully, sticking to your skin care regimen, and staying hydrated, will go a long way in keeping your skin healthy and glowing during the holiday season while you toast in the New Year!
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.