Getting Nerdie With The Skin Nerd: Here’s Exactly How Bad Drinking Alcohol Is for Your Skin

The Skin Nerd The vast majority of us like a drink at least the odd time and we all know that alcohol is proven to have negative effects on our physical and mental health.

I hate to break it to you, but whether your choice of tipple is tequila, a classic pint of the black stuff or prosecco, it’s damaging your skin health too. Uh-oh.

Why is booze is one of your skin’s worst enemies?

Alcohol consumption is something I would call a skin sin, in that avoiding alcohol is a golden rule for your best skin.

This is due to a number of factors. Pure and simple, it dehydrates your skin. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that you will pee much more than you are actually drinking.

The effect of this is that there is a lack of moisture in the body in general and thus there will be a lack of moisture in the skin.

This is why your skin is zapped of all of its usual plumpness and freshness after a night out.

I coined the phrase “drinkles” (drink wrinkles) because I noticed that the intense dehydration caused by alcohol means that the skin looks instantly older.

Without the plumpness that comes with hydrated skin, lines and wrinkles become much more obvious.

I coined the phrase “drinkles” (drink wrinkles) because I noticed that the intense dehydration caused by alcohol means that the skin looks instantly older.

Alcohol causes inflammation throughout the body which leads to the skin reacting by flushing red. If you’ve ever noticed the Rudolph effect in the bathroom mirror of the pub on Friday night, now you know the culprit!

Due to this inflammatory effect, alcohol can trigger rosacea. A common misconception is that alcohol actually causes rosacea, but this is a myth.

So although you’re not in danger of developing rosacea due to a few cold ones with the gang, if you’re already a sufferer, alcohol can worsen the symptoms and bring on a flare-up.

Another (admittedly tenuous) effect of alcohol is that if you’ve been out on the lash, it is a lot more likely that you’ll go to bed without removing your makeup.

Emily Ratajkowski RedWine Skin
image via @emrata on Instagram

There is no science behind this one, just common sense. When you sleep in your makeup, you’re asking for congestion, blackheads and whiteheads.

Even if you’re religious with your skincare routine during the week, it’ll take a while for your skin to recover from this blasphemy.

Alcohol also triggers a hormone called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine, or noradrenaline, increases excitement or stress.

During sleep, your levels of norepinephrine are supposed to be at their lowest, as the hormone’s purpose is to make us alert.

Logically, if your levels of norepinephrine rise, you won’t be able to get the same 8 hours of Zzzzz’s that you usually get and, as you should know by now, you need sleep to stay looking fresh and puff-free.

How do I stop skin sinning when it comes to alcohol?

This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: you need to cut down on your alcohol intake (or cut it out altogether if you can).

Stick to the recommended allowance of 11 standard units spread out for the females and 17 standard units spread out for the males, with at the very least 2-3 alcohol free days per week, according to Alcohol Action Ireland’s website.

It’s generally thought that transparency is best for your skin when it comes to liquors – vodka, gin and tequila leave your system a little bit faster and because of this could be less harmful to your skin.

I can justify recommending a glass of red wine because it contains flavonoids which are rich in antioxidants and can help you glow!

Skip after work happy hour if it means you’re going to be on cocktails… Unfortunately, although they are tasty, fruity and refreshing, they are also chockfull of sugar in the form of syrups and juices.

I can justify recommending a glass of red wine because it contains flavonoids which are rich in antioxidants and can help you glow!

Mammy is always right: the key to counter the effects of your (recommended) alcohol intake is water, water, water, water, water. Every second drink should be a water, ideally – this is also a great money saving technique.

What do I recommend to remedy the effects of drinking alcohol?

Now, it is all well and good me giving this advice but I am fully aware that people are going to go out and drink anyway regardless and then be left with dull, puffy, grey skin.

One of my favourite products to combat post-drink skin is the IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque (€42).

Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque

Enzymes are like little pac-man creatures that gobble up dead skin cells, leaving you looking fresh and bright. Enzymes also have a warming effect and boost skin circulation so they can bring down puffiness like nothing else.

Your face is not the only part of you that will become dehydrated from alcohol. Have your long, much-needed hangover shower with a bottle of Urban Veda Sandalwood + Botanics Soothing Body Wash (£12.99) at hand.

Urban Veda Sandalwood + Botanics Soothing Body Wash

It contains palmarosa, an Indian tropical grass known for its hydrating capabilities, as well as aloe vera, vitamin E and glycerine. The essential oils will work as a modern day smelling salt too and help you feel less like actual death.

A body oil will stop the patchiness that I find comes with a bit of alcohol-related overindulgence.

TanOrganic Moisturising Dry Oil

The TanOrganic Moisturising Multi Use Dry Oil (€24.95) is 100% natural oil from plants and nuts and instantly hydrates the upper layers of the skin… and it smells delish too!

Jennifer Rock is the founder of The Skin Nerd online skin consultancy and online cosmeceutical skincare store. If you’re interested in having a consultation with one of her expert Nerdettes, click here for more information.

You can follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@theskinnerd).