Holiday Cheer in Moderation: Alcohol and Skin Aging
It’s hard not to “over do it” during the holidays. Whether it’s the extra glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner, mixed drinks by the yule log, or champagne to ring in the new year, we’re toasting to friends, family, and memories, but we’re forgetting the toll overindulging takes on our health and, yes, even our skin. Learn about the link between alcohol and skin aging so that you can prevent problem skin and look amazing at the start of the new year.
Alcohol and Skin Aging: The Effects of Alcohol on the Skin
When consumed in moderation, some forms of alcoholic beverages, such as red wine, can be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, drinking too much leads to negative health consequences, speeds up the aging process, and can worsen skin conditions. Alcohol can contribute to:
Dry Skin: The dehydrating effects of alcohol contributes to dry skin. Depending on the severity, this can lead to scaly skin, rashes, and skin cracking. In extreme cases, cracks in the skin may also become infected. Finally, dry skin worsens the appearance of existing lines and wrinkles, and the lack of moisture to the skin speeds up the aging process.
Puffiness: Dehydration caused by alcohol also causes puffiness, which is usually most apparent in the under-eye area. This can make you appear tired or ill.
Oily Skin: Over-consumption of alcohol can cause the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil than usual. Facial shine, clogged pores, and breakouts often occur at this point, and some patients even develop acne.
Collagen Breakdown: Alcohol and skin aging is most apparent when heavy drinking leads to the breakdown of youthful collagen. Collagen is responsible for supporting healthy skin, much like scaffolding. While collagen production slows as we age, alcohol speeds up this process, causing you to look older than you are.
Facial Redness: If you have skin conditions such as rosacea, alcohol can trigger flare-ups. This facial redness can be difficult to get under control once it starts, so it’s important to know your limits.
Which Drinks Do the Most Damage to the Skin?
Not all drinks are created equal. If you’re going to drink and want to prevent skin problems, experts recommend sticking with straight liquor without sugar or salt added. However, if you’re concerned with specific skin problems, or you don’t enjoy straight vodka or tequila shots, follow the guide below:
Salty beverages like margaritas and beer tend to dry the skin out faster, causing puffiness and bloating. If you’re prone to dry, puffy skin, swap out your salty beverage for something low salt or salt-free.
Sugary and mixed drinks contribute to skin breakouts and speed up the aging process by breaking down collagen. Tonic is also loaded with sugar, so don’t be fooled. Opt for straight liquor or mix with water and lemon or diet soda.
Wine is a mixed bag. While white wine is loaded with both sugar and salt, red wine is heart healthy and loaded with antioxidants. When consumed in moderation, there are very few problems with red wine, making it one of the best choices for holiday dinners and parties.
Tips to Avoid Skin Problems
If you want to enjoy several glasses of your favorite alcoholic beverage at a dinner or party, it’s important to pace yourself to avoid overloading your body with toxins that will make you look and feel hungover the next day. We recommend the following:
- Drink water between each alcoholic beverage
- Pace yourself with only 1 drink per hour
- Drink plenty of water for 24 hours before and after your event
Alcohol and Skin Aging: How to Care for Skin After Celebrating
You should always cleanse before bed. This is especially important after a party, particularly if you’ve been drinking and wore makeup. Before bed, remove all cosmetics with a makeup remover or your favorite cleanser, but be sure to cleanse again to treat the skin after removing the makeup. If you had sugary or salty drinks, make sure your cleanser contains a salicylic acid to combat oil production and breakouts. Apply a heavy moisturizer to replenish lost hydration and drink a full glass of water before placing your head on the pillow. The next morning, exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and speed up cellular turnover.
Schedule a Post-Party Skin Care Treatment at Skin by Lovely
If you’re prone to skin care problems linked to alcohol consumption or you just want to revive your skin following your holiday celebrations, schedule a chemical peel, like the VI Peel, or a series of microneedling treatments with our Eclipse Micropen to help speed up skin cell turnover, reduce breakouts, and combat the signs of aging. If you’re prone to puffiness or dark circles around the eyes, we can also help you with an eye rejuvenation treatment with Restylane for long-term results. Schedule an appointment for a day or two after your celebrations and let us take great care of your skin.