NAA members are leaders, pioneers, and forward-thinkers. We’re proud to share their notable work and views on skin health with the world. In addition to our NAA Member on a Mission interviews, members can submit guest posts that are considered for periodic Member Perspective features. Today’s Member Perspective comes from Jennifer Masson, a licensed dietician nutritionist, aesthetician, and owner of Nutritionista Wellness.

Today Jennifer brings up the topic of alcohol—and its negative effects on your skin. With the holiday season about to commence, we’re looking at regular opportunities to raise a glass with friends, family, and coworkers. As you decide whether or not to imbibe, keep your skin health in mind, both short- and long-term.

Jennifer’s message: Want to make it through the holiday season this year without wrecking your skin? Go easy on the alcohol.

“Who doesn’t look forward to going to a holiday party, getting dressed up and having some fun? Most likely there will be delicious food, wine, and cocktails to enjoy on your night out. But partier beware— if you indulge a little more than you anticipated, you could be doing yourself, and your skin, some damage! (Del Russo 2016)

Alcohol, like caffeine, is a diuretic that causes you to excrete more fluid; in simple terms, you go to the bathroom a lot more. One reason is that alcohol prevents vasopressin, a hormone that helps your body reabsorb water, from doing its job. This is why you may wake up the night after a fantastic party looking tired, sallow, and maybe a bit more wrinkled. You may even think your pores look bigger! If you overindulged in the drinking and eating, there is a very good reason why you look and feel the way you do. Alcohol is toxic to your liver, the organ that detoxifies you.

Additionally, the sugar in mixed drinks and cocktails like margaritas or cosmopolitans can cause your skin to look oiler. The extra sugar and salt in those types of beverages triggers inflammation, and something called IGF-1. The IGF-1 causes overproduction of oil, and the salt causes bloating and water retention. Not a good combination!

Alcohol is also a vasodilator. It causes the blood vessels under the skin to open up and make your skin flush, which can worsen existing conditions like rosacea. Because this altered blood flow can last for days, it can damage the small capillaries on the surface of the skin. (“Alcohol and Your Skin” 2016)

The good news is that your skin can bounce back from dehydration in a short amount of time. (Del Russo 2016) and fortunately many of the skin changes from drinking alcohol aren’t permanent. Long term changes do happen with chronic alcoholism, and you can do permanent and severe damage with regular, long term alcohol intake. Reminder, alcohol poisons your liver with a toxin, so those effects will turn up in your other organs, including the largest organ you have—your skin! (“Alcohol and Your Skin” 2016; “Cutaneous Adverse Effects of Alcohol | DermNet New Zealand” 2016)

There are a few things you can do before and during to help prevent the negtive effects of having too much to drink after one night:

  1.     Water, water, water!  Drink a glass before you have an alcoholic beverage and drink a glass in between drinks. This will help keep you hydrated and lessen the puffiness and hangover the next day.
  2.     Eat! You have probably heard this before, but don’t drink on an empty stomach. The food in your stomach slows down the absorption of the alcohol into the bloodstream, and helps lessen the ‘hangover’ effects.
  3.    Follow up with healthy choices. Even if you feel like eating a burger and fries the next day, don’t do it!  Getting the right nutrients to help support your liver is key to recovering from a hangover. Drink plenty of water and eat nourishing foods with protein and healthy carbohydrates to help your body recover.

To help reduce puffiness that may have appeared under your eyes, place two caffeinated tea bags in warm water for a few seconds, then refrigerate for 10 minutes until they are cold. Place one tea bag on each eye and leave there for another 10 minutes. The tea contains tannins, a mild diuretic which will help reduce the puffiness, and make your eyes feel refreshed. Finish with a hydrating eye cream and concealer, and you will look as good as new!”

-Jennifer Masson, RD

References:

“Alcohol and Your Skin.” 2016. Perricone MD. Accessed November 8. https://www.perriconemd.com/anti-aging-resources/alcohol-and-your-skin.html.

“Cutaneous Adverse Effects of Alcohol | DermNet New Zealand.” 2016. Accessed November 9. http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/cutaneous-adverse-effects-of-alcohol/.

Del Russo, Maria. 2016. “Bad Skin? Blame It On The Alcohol.” February 8. http://www.refinery29.com/alcohol-skin-effects.

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