Drinking Alcohol and Skin Health

Summer vibrations, and the ensuing social events, can often lead to increased consumption of negronis, margaritas and all things alcoholic. In moderation, this can add to the jovial atmosphere and fun summer spirit; however, if skin health is a priority for you, it is important to understand the negative effects that alcohol can have on the quality and appearance of your skin, and what you can do to combat it.

How alcohol affects your skin health:

1. Alcohol can deplete vitamins and minerals in the body - it is an anti-nutrient, a substance that interferes with the absorption of essentials such as magnesium, iron and B vitamins in the body, which contribute to the maintenance of skin health.

2. Alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia - this drop can increase the craving for more sugar and alcohol. Sugars cause glycation, a sort of hardening of skin cells, which ages the skin prematurely so you can start to lose that plump quality.

3. Alcohol produces inflammation in the body - this can worsen classic inflammatory conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne.

4. Alcohol dries out the skin - the dehydrating effects of alcohol are due to its diuretic qualities. They can lead to excess cellular water loss which, over time, may result in fine lines, and loss of skin elasticity.

5. Alcohol can overburden the liver and its detoxification process - this can disrupt the hormonal balance, and contribute to related skin conditions and breakouts, particularly during the luteal phase of the female cycle.

What you can do to support your skin:

Along with moderating alcohol intake, choose lower sugar options and mixers. Dark spirits, such as rum and brandy, have higher sugar content than white spirits such as tequila, vodka and gin. Very dry wines, like pinot noir and chardonnay, also have lower sugar content. Skip mixers, and blend over ice with natural citrus juices and a dash of soda water. Getting to know your weekly alcohol intake guidelines is really useful, as most people are unsure of what is considered excessive in public health terms. Aim to take alcohol-free periods, to allow your liver to get back to its regular detoxification tasks. To counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol, ensure that you keep a regular supply of filtered water, so the body is consistently hydrated, and therefore a crucial pillar for gorgeous skin.

Skin + Tonic Phyto Water
At home, make your water work harder for you, by blending up some skin healing nutrients, such as zinc and vitamin C, in a liter of my skin-protecting phyto water recipe. Chill in the fridge, and drink daily for elevated hydration.

What you need:
1 liter of filtered water
1 cup of soaked and chopped flat leaf parsley
1 lime, juiced
1 capsule of zinc

How to make:
Blend it together for 2 minutes, and store in a glass or metal container in the fridge.

Lola Ross BSc is a female-health focused nutritionist based in London.
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Lola Ross