How does alcohol impact the skin?
Alcohol can have a negative impact on the skin due to its effect on various physiological processes. As a diuretic, alcohol can in turn lead to dehydration which can manifest as dryness and a lacklustre appearance of the skin. In addition, when alcohol is metabolised by the body, it produces acetaldehyde, which can cause a loss of moisture in the skin, resulting in a complexion that is rough and reddened the morning after excessive alcohol consumption. The cumulative impact of repeated episodes of heavy drinking can exacerbate these effects and can contribute to premature aging. After a few drinks, individuals might also notice other effects such as
flushing - alcohol induces blood vessel dilation near the skin's surface, resulting in facial redness. This vasodilation response is particularly pronounced in individuals genetically predisposed to alcohol-induced facial flushing. Some people get flushed after one drink, while others can consume significantly more before beginning to turn rosy in the cheeks. Dermatologist Dr. Amy Spizuoco of True Dermatology in NYC explains that “Alcohol releases a histamine that dilates the blood’s capillaries, and the net effect of that is redness of the skin.” However, Spizuoco warns that, when compounded over several years, this inflammation and redness can become permanent.
“Alcohol releases a histamine that dilates the blood’s capillaries, and the net effect of that is redness of the skin.”
Of the many bodily processes impacted by alcohol, sleep ranks among the most vulnerable. By disrupting the natural sleep cycle, alcohol can negatively impact the body's cellular rejuvenation process.
During sleep, the skin performs essential healing mechanisms and rejuvenation processes. Sleep disruption is associated with a disruption of these processes, which can result in a decline in its condition.