Regular consumption of alcohol can not only leave you worse for wear and suffering from a hangover but it can also be attributed to the cause of long-term skin problems.
Aside from the obvious dark circles and puffy eyes the morning after a heavy drinking session, there is a wide range of other negative effects that overindulging in alcohol can have on our skin.
The good news is, there are ways to reduce or reverse the damage that alcohol is having on the skin.
We’ve spoken to Dr. Catherine Carney from Private Addiction Rehab Clinic, Delamere to find out the potential impact that binge drinking can have on your skin, what causes it, and how the damage can potentially be reversed.
“Alcohol dehydrates the body, which is what leaves you feeling unwell the following day. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that when consumed, it can cause the body to remove fluids from the blood via the body’s renal system at a faster rate. This is what leads to feelings of dehydration sickness more commonly known as a hangover.
“This is reflected by the skin, with dehydrated skin often appearing dull and lacking in color, and will often result in dryness. Dehydrated skin from excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to loss of elasticity and volume, leaving people who regularly binge drink to look much older than their years.
Dark circles under the eyes
“It isn’t purely the late nights out drinking that can leave you with dark circles under the eyes. Alcohol is disruptive to sleep patterns due to being a central nervous system depressant and leads to less time spent in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is a vital restorative sleep stage that the body requires.
“Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to causing poor sleep quality and negatively impacts sleep duration, leaving people looking and feeling tired the day after consuming alcohol.
“The dark circles are not purely caused by fatigue from sleep disruption. Alcohol causes dark circles to appear more prominent by causing the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, making them more visible and causing puffiness of the skin around the eye area.
“Rosacea is a skin condition which causes inflammation of the skin, causing blushing and redness in the face.
“Alcohol is a known trigger of Rosacea flare-ups as alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, meaning that more blood flows through, leading to the red appearance of the skin around the face.
“Certain alcoholic beverages are thought to cause more severe flare-ups of the condition, with red and white wine being the most common triggers. Although not a direct cause of the long-term chronic condition, reducing alcohol intake will have an impact on reducing the amount of or severity of flare-ups.
“It is a common misconception that alcohol consumption is a direct cause of acne. This is not true; however, excessive alcohol consumption can trigger breakouts and flare-ups in people who suffer from acne and can contribute to the severity of existing skin problems.
“Alcohol directly affects hormone levels in the body, which causes the skin to produce more sebum, an oily substance that is naturally found on the skin. Overproduction of sebum can cause the skin to become more oily, leading to pores becoming blocked and subsequently causing breakouts on the skin.
How to reverse the damage to the skin
“The body and skin especially have amazing regenerative properties. Depending on the severity of the damage caused to the skin by alcohol, this damage may be reversible if you act within enough time. Reducing your alcohol consumption, or cutting out alcohol completely will have a detrimental impact on making your skin appear more healthy. Lower alcohol intake means less damage being caused to your skin.
“It is also vital to keep well hydrated, ensuring that you are drinking the NHS-recommended 6 to 8 cups of water per day. If you are planning on consuming alcohol, take regular breaks to have a glass of water between alcoholic beverages, as well as drink water before bed and first thing in the morning.
“By taking these steps, your skin will appear more hydrated with a brighter natural glow, a more even skin tone, and increased elasticity. If you suffer from conditions such as Rosacea or acne, you may find that symptoms will reduce in severity and flare-ups and inflammation will become less frequent over time.”