Hell-o spring! Taking off to the tropics any time soon? This summer, while you’re sitting on the beach, sipping on a cocktail, take heed of what you may be doing to your skin. You know that you need to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays, but what about that fruity daiquiri in your hand?
Alcohol’s effect on your skin is similar to its effect on the rest of your body: it steals the good (hydration) and leaves the bad (dryness, bloating, redness). When you drink alcohol, it hinders the production of vasopressin — an anti-diuretic hormone. This causes your kidneys to work extra hard to remove excess water from your system, sending water to your bladder (and you to the restroom!) instead of your organs. Don’t forget that your skin is the largest organ in the body — and drinking a lot of alcohol leaves it dehydrated.
When skin is dry, it is much more likely to wrinkle and make you look older than you are. Alcohol also robs your body of Vitamin A which is essential for cell renewal and turnover, so your skin could take on a dull gray appearance. Staying hydrated will obviously have opposing effects: smoothing out wrinkles, leaving your skin looking bright, young and fresh. Drinking water is the only way to combat the drying effects of alcohol, hydrating from within.
Being so depleted of vital nutrients, electrolytes and fluids, your skin often shows signs of bloating and swelling. When you’re lacking what you need, your body will store whatever it can get — wherever it can, and any water you take in will cause your tissues to swell.
Alcohol can also affect preexisting conditions like rosacea, causing it to worsen or flare up more often. Alcohol increases your blood flow, often causing blood vessels in your face to dilate (sometimes permanently) and often burst, leaving behind broken capillaries and red spots that are difficult to get rid of.
What’s worse, drinking too much doesn’t only affect the appearance of your skin, it will dehydrate your hair, making it more prone to breaking and split ends. Weak, brittle hair is just about as ideal as premature wrinkling, don’t you think?