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How Alcohol Messes Up Your Skin & Ways To Keep It In Check (The Effects, Not The Drinking)


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Alcohol is no friend to health and body. Everyone knows that. However, what most people don’t know is that it has some very serious and visible impact on your skin as well.  

You can blame stress and sleep for bad skin, but the real victim behind it could be your alcohol consumption. 

Effects On Alcohol On Skin © iStock

 We recently talked to an expert, Dr Sravya C Triperni, Consultant  Dermatologist and Cosmetologist who listed down the effects of alcohol on the skin for us.  

She says, “If you’re consuming alcohol frequently, chances are you’re not getting the sleep you need either, which can leave you with dark circles under the eyes and a whole plethora of other skin issues.” 

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So, alcohol directly or indirectly messes up your skin but there are ways to deal with it and undo the effects.  

Here are some tips to swear by so your skin doesn’t pay the price of your daily booze: 

1. Puffiness & Bloating 

A night of drinking might make you feel swollen all over. Alcohol dehydrates your body, which could make your eyes puffy.  

Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. 

Puffiness & Bloating © iStock

2. Dehydration 

Alcohol is known to dehydrate the skin, depriving it of the moisture and nutrients it needs to keep our complexion looking radiant, supple and youthful. 

Dehydration from alcohol results in dryness, dullness, enlarged pores and loss of elasticity which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin.

3. Inflammation 

The effects of inflammation from alcohol are increased redness or flushing of the skin, acne, blotchiness, rosacea, hives and sun sensitivity.

In case you’re wondering which alcohol is the worst for skin, it’s the dark spirits such as whiskey, scotch, brandy, cognac and dark rum. They contain congeners which are chemicals such as tannings and methanol that are created in the fermentation process and these even make hangovers worse. 

However, there are a few liquors like clear spirits vodka, gin, tequila, white rum and sake that don’t do much harm to the skin.  

Inflammation © iStock

How To Reduce The Effects Of Alcohol On Your Skin?1. Drink On A Full Stomach

Eating full meals prior to or while drinking will deter the side effects, since some of the alcohol will pass instead through the gastrointestinal system along with the food, so that the two are metabolized in tandem (and thus, side effects aren’t as potent).

2. Keep Yourself Hydrated

If you want a pro-skin strategy for your nights out, alternating between a serving of alcohol and a glass of water helps. Chase one with the other. “This can minimize harmful effects of alcohol on the skin by hydrating the tissues and skin. 

Keep Yourself Hydrated © iStock

3. Include Supplements In Diet

Alcohol can drain the body of vitamin A, which is the vitamin responsible for cell turnover. You can also take a supplement dedicated to keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy which can help to repair your skin damage. 

Other supplements that can help to restore the balance to your skin include vitamins C, E, B1, B6, B2, B3 and Omega 3.

4. Follow A Skincare Regime Before Bed

This applies to everyone, whether you drink regularly or not at all. Use products with calming and ultra-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerine and panthenol (Vitamin B5).

5. Sleep With An Extra Pillow

Sleeping slightly elevated with two pillows under your head is one of the best ways to minimise eye and face puffiness. This is because dark circles can be caused by fluids that tend to pool in the under-eye area if your head is lying flat.

Sleep With An Extra Pillow © iStock

Here’s what will happen to your skin when you quit or significantly reduce drinking. 

You’ll notice that your skin is brighter, more hydrated and plumper. There are fewer wrinkles and smaller pores. Excessive redness will disappear, acne may improve, skin tone becomes even, puffiness subsides and flare-ups of rosacea become more infrequent. 


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