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How does alcohol affect the skin?

Alcohol can cause dehydration in the body and this also affects the skin and this happens every time we drink alcohol.

When you drink, the dehydrating or the diuretic effect of alcohol also causes you to lose vitamins and nutrients. This can make your skin look wrinkled, dull and grey or bloated and puffy.

Since alcohol depletes the levels of vitamins in the skin, especially vitamin A the skin's collagen levels plummet and as a result the skin can appear wrinkled and loose its elasticity.

Alcohol can speed up the collagen loss that happens naturally as we age by depleting the crucial nutrients resulting in effects like dry skin, sunken eyes, decreased elasticity, dry lips and a dull complexion.

Alcohol may make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep but can break up normal sleep rhythms and make you restless throughout the night. This often leads to dark circles under the eyes.

Some people will get blushy and flush after drinking alcohol releases a histamine that dilates the blood's capillaries and this causes the reddening of the skin usually seen on the face or neck. When this is compounded over several years this inflammation can become permanent.

Alcohol can also cause acne in our skin, alcohol dilates the pores leading to black heads and whiteheads and if not properly treated can go on to cause inflamed skin papules and cystic acne. In the long term this can cause permanent scarring to the skin or result in hyperpigmentation.

So how can we minimise alcohol's effect on the skin ?

When you drink try to drink in moderation and alternate a glass of water between drinks to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol on the skin by hydrating the tissues.

Eating food while prior or while drinking alcohol will deter the side effects as some of the alcohol will pass instead through the gastrointestinal system along with the food so they are metabolised together so that the side effects are not as potent.

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