So, what exactly is happening to the skin when you drink so much? Why is the body processing alcohol differently than it would water, leaving you dehydrated and red in the face?
First, the body metabolizes the alcohol from an enzyme in the liver, which releases a byproduct called acetaldehyde. This byproduct is toxic to body tissues. In turn, body tissues and skin are dehydrated.
Alcohol also dilates the pores of the skin, leading to blackheads and whiteheads.
In reality, alcohol creates inflammation throughout your body and skin, and its effects far surpass dehydration alone. Dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging, fine lines and lack of resilience are just some of the symptoms that can result within the skin.
Excess alcohol also alters blood flow to the skin and leaves an unhealthy appearance for days. Why? Alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the surface. This produces a flushed color and a feeling of warmth, which can lead to broken capillaries on the face.
Do all types of alcohol affect your skin the same way?
Beer has more additives, such as salts and sugars, which will add more stress on the liver to metabolize, as well as be overly dehydrating. The least harmful to you, is probably red wine.
Our Tips for Healthier Drinking
- Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach
- Stay well-hydrated by consuming plenty of water
- Avoid sugar-laden, pro-inflammatory mixers and use soda water or tonic instead
If you do overindulge, take time to hydrate the next day.