Alcohol Awareness Week takes place this week (19th ‑ 25th November) and it is a chance for us to get thinking about drinking with the theme this year being change. The harm caused by alcohol in the UK today is not inevitable and key changes can be made to end serious alcohol harm.
In terms of our skin it seems like we are always in the pursuit of finding the perfect complexion by trying various new tips and tricks but there is one simple skin fix that we need to focus on: reduce our alcohol intake!
Alcohol’s effect on your skin is like the rest of your body, it steals the good (hydration) and leaves the bad (bloating and dryness). As the Christmas is fast approaching you will have a list of work dos and family parties to attend which all involve drinking: Christmas morning breakfast champagne, mulled wine and Baileys, which is why its important to be aware of the damage the intake is doing to your skin. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming, the new advice says both men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week which is the equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine.
Amanda Von Hagen, skin expert and International Educator at Glo Skin Beauty UK reveals the top 5 effects that alcohol can have on the skin and what you can do to reverse the damage.
As alcoholic drinks tend to be relatively high in sugar, especially wine and cocktails, it causes reactions in your skin which lead to spots. The sugar in alcohol can crystallise each one of your skin cells (glycation) which leads to less plump, supple cells and a duller complexion if you’re overindulging in this too often.
Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on our bodies which over time is very bad. When we drink alcohol, it causes our insides to become inflamed which will present itself on the skin in the form of redness and puffiness.
Its no surprise that alcohol is incredibly dehydrating, not only is it a diuretic forcing the water out of our bodies, it also makes it far more difficult to rehydrate. This results in dry and flaky skin on top of fine lines and wrinkles are more visible due to the lack of fluid in your skin.
4) Microbiome Disturbance
Alcohol can deplete the healthy levels of the important bacteria that lives in our guts (microbiome). The microbiome helps to regulate the immune system which is very important in managing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
5) Hormone disruption
The sugar in alcohol can initiate an insulin response, elevated insulin can have a negative effect on thyroid and sex hormones which then causes hormonal imbalance and can have an adverse effect on your skin leading to problems.
So how quickly does alcohol affect the skin?
Amanda says that unfortunately the short term effects are almost immediately visible, 24 hours after one night of excessive drinking (3 drinks or more) your skin will appear dull, slack, lined and sufferers of acne and rosacea will see flare ups.
How long does it take to reverse the effects of alcohol?
Amanda tells us that after 3 days of abstaining from alcohol you might see a difference in your skin health. This is due to the liver having time to excrete alcohol, sugars and other ingredients which means you don’t have to abstain from the alcohol completely if you take frequent breaks and refrain from over consuming. It is also a good idea to drink water in intervals between drinking alcohol, this will help to keep the skin hydrated and leave you feeling less grey in the morning.