Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Effects of Alcohol on Our Skin

Alcohol plays a significant part in most of our social lives.  Dinner parties, drinks with friends, an evening down the pub... all seem barely imaginable without an alcoholic drink.

However, we aren’t always aware of the negative effects of alcohol on our looks.   While a little is considered beneficial to health, it’s ever so easy to go beyond that threshold.     

According to drinkaware.co.uk, government guidelines for consuming alcohol are 3-4 units a day for men (equivalent to a pint and half of 4% beer),  and 2-3 units a day for women (equivalent to a 175 glass of wine).  Drink any more than that, and your health is at risk.   And if your health suffers, it’ll be reflected in your looks,  your face and skin.

So, what can too much alcohol do to our skin?

A For Alcohol     
Too much alcohol can attack vitamin A, which is a very important nutrient for the skin.  It helps skin cell turnover, which gives skin the healthy appearance by pushing new, younger cells to the surface.  It also helps to limit the spread of free radicals.  Free radicals damage the collagen fibre and elasticity in skin, so limiting its spread is vital for a wrinkle free appearance.

So you can see the potential  effects to the skin from  too much alcohol consumption.  

Dehydration
Another effect of excessive alcohol consumption is dehydration.  Alcohol has to pass through the liver, therefore, making it work harder than it otherwise would.  For this reason, the body has to divert oxygen and blood to the liver to compensate for the extra work.  This is what leads to the dehydrating effect.  As the skin is the last organ to receive oxygen and nutrients, it is also the first to suffer when there’s a shortage. We know drinking a lot of water is great for our skin, so why dehydrate our bodies with alcohol?

Summary
It isn’t necessarily all bad.  Let’s also remember the benefits of a little alcohol as part of a healthy diet.  Studies have suggested that the antioxidants in red wine can reduce the likelihood of heart disease.  Even further studies have  recommended a daily (small) glass of red wine for the over 45s.   It is unlikely that an amount such as this could ever put you at risk of violent behaviour, cause drink driving, or any other behaviour associated with drunkenness.  And it won’t have any long-term effects on your health or your looks.  If you were going to get caught for drink driving, then it would be from a far more excessive amount than what is suggested.

So, to summarise, it is fine to enjoy a little wine or a beer to relax, to socialise, or as a celebratory drink.  If you follow the government guideline as your maximum level, your health and your skin will benefit.  It is not necessary to forever deny a little pleasure, but as with any pleasure in life, everything in moderation.


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