How Sugar and Alcohol Effect Your Skin

In the pursuit of achieving perfect and glowing skin, we often invest in serums, creams, and treatments for smooth skin. Yet, alcohol and its effects on the skin is often overlooked. While many of us enjoy an occasional tipple, overlook the damaging effects alcohol at your peril as it can have a huge effect on your skin, which is after all your biggest organ and needs taking good care of from the inside out.


What Happens to Your Skin When You Drink Alcohol?


Every time you drink alcohol, it has a dehydrating effect on your body. It’s this dehydration that can cause you to look puffy and bloated in the face. Alcohol deprives the skin of the moisture and the key nutrients it needs to look its best. Importantly, alcohol is considered a diuretic which means that it actively draws water away from the body. Dehydration from alcohol can also result in:

  • Dryness

  • Dullness

  • Loss of elasticity

Another way alcohol impacts skin health is through inflammation. Alcoholic drinks that contain high levels of sugar like wine and cocktails can really show in your skin. Drinking alcoholic drinks can cause certain skin conditions to flare up, such as rosacea. Symptoms of rosacea include redness, small red bumps, and dilated blood vessels. It is a chronic condition which responds well to medical grade skincare, but regular alcohol consumption will prevent you benefiting from the results of this.


It’s Not Just the Alcohol to Blame


Although you may enjoy a glass or wine, martini, or trendy cocktail, these drinks are full of sugar, which can lead to inflammation. These high sugar levels can also leave your skin looking dull and puffy. Keep in mind that many mixers and alcoholic drinks contain empty calories and a lot of sugar. Soda water or slimline tonic water are the best type of mixers to opt for. Alcoholic beverages actually account for 11% of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar.


In terms of calories, alcohol drinks have empty calories, meaning they have no nutritional value. To give you an idea of what this means, one pint of lager contains the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza. One small glass of wine contains the same amount of calories as jam donut!


How dehydration causes skin aging


When it comes to drinking alcohol, dehydration is the main cause of skin aging. A person that drinks regularly for 20 to 30 years will have more wrinkles and signs of ageing than someone who hasn’t. If you are going to drink, it’s important to be wise about your choices. In general, the clearer the alcohol, the better. So, gin, vodka, and tequila get out of the body quicker. Some of the worst drinks for skin are beer and dark liquors, like rum or whisky. Beer contains more salt, additives, and sugar which puts stress on the liver.


Drinking a glass of water in between drinks will help you stay hydrated. It helps to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol on the skin as you’re hydrating between drinks. The UK’s Chief Medical Officers advise that to keep the health risk low from alcohol; you shouldn’t drink any more than 14 units of alcohol per week. It’s a good idea to have regular non-drinking days too.


Drinking to excess generally makes us feel pretty rough the next day. You may also notice that your skin tends to be much duller than your usual glow. Understanding how alcohol can affect your skin and following good habits when drinking will help to combat the effects of drinking on the skin.





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