For many of us nothing quite hits the spot like a cold beer on a hot summer day, a glass of rich red with a nice dinner or a daiquiri by the pool. But the resulting affects on your skin may be worse than you even realized!
Alcohol is a dehydrator. Have you ever tried a new face wipe that completely dried out your skin? It probably contained alcohol. So, after a night of drinking your skin is going to feel tight and dried out.
Alcohol is also a vasodilator, meaning it opens up your blood vessels—that explains the flushed cheeks after a few glasses of wine! Open blood vessels lead to puffy eyes and surrounding areas can even burst if dilated too far.
Unfortunately, all types of alcohols are hepatotoxins. This means that they damage the liver, the main organ that detoxifies our body. Thus, damaging toxins that are floating around in our favorite alcoholic drink have trouble making their way out and end up hurting our skin. If you do want to have a few drinks now and again, there are some that can cause less damage than others.
Of all the liquor options, dark liquors are going to contain the most congeners. Congeners are produced during the fermentation process and are the main cause of that nasty headache the next morning. They may even contribute to more rapid signs of skin aging. Darker liquors also undergo more of a fermentation process and thus contain more impurities than clear liquors do.
Clear liquors contain a lot less congeners than dark liquors. For example, dark rum contains 37 times as many as vodka does. Clear liquors also tend to leave your system faster than darker ones, which means you are able to rehydrate your skin quicker. But don’t get too excited! The issue with any type of liquor is that it is often consumed quicker than other drinks so people tend to lose track and drink more of it. More alcohol is never better for your skin.
Although sometimes the best tasting, these drinks are often the worst for your skin. Mixed drinks usually contain excessive amounts of sugar, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Sugar causes insulin levels in the body to spike dramatically. This causes inflammation throughout the body and leads to acne and other skin issues.
This is a tricky one: beer tends to contain high amounts of salt which causes bloating and inflammation in the skin. Drinking sodium-rich beers tends to make you thirsty which in turn signals to your body to keep drinking more beer and further dehydrating the skin!
Although wine has lower alcohol content, it does contain high amounts of sugar. Wine also contains tannins which cause irritation and redness in sensitive skin. Red wine does contain antioxidants which have been known to counteract some of the aging process but not enough to outweigh the negative effects of sugar on the skin.
The biggest key to minimizing the damage that alcohol does to skin is being wise about how you drink. Be choosy about what you drink—choose light alcohols (without mixers) or a nice glass of red wine instead of a sugary rum drink. You should also lean towards drinking one drink every other night during the week instead of indulging in a bunch on the weekends. Your liver can metabolize quick enough to handle the single drink but binge-drinking on the weekend causes a lot of damage to the skin and ultimately your body. If you do go out for a few drinks, remember to down a glass of water between each drink. This allows your body to rehydrate itself slightly as you have your fun!