We all know that excessive drinking can age you, and we all know that hangovers can make you look and feel like a warmed-over corpse. There’s no need for me to tell you cautionary tales about your liver and kidneys, and I’m certainly not going to shame you for however much you choose to drink!
Instead, today I want to tell you about a few insidious ways that alcohol can affect your beauty. This isn’t to scare you or guilt you into sobriety! I like my wine and White Claw as much as the next girl. But I think that being informed is important because it helps you choose how much you want to drink, and it also helps you better understand how to recover afterward.
So let’s talk about a few sneaky ways that alcohol can affect your beauty.
1. It’s Super Dehydrating
Dehydration has some obvious side effects like dry mouth, dull skin, and headaches. If we know anything about drinking, it’s that we have to pump ourselves full to bursting with hydration afterward.
What you might not consider is all of the other ways that dehydration can affect your looks!
Alcohol causes your kidneys to work extra hard, which is why you might feel so dry and achy the morning after. Not only does this mean you’re losing extra water, but you’re also losing important vitamins and minerals, too. This can lead to your skin looking sickly or grayish, and that takes time to reverse.
Unfortunately, it can also mess with your hormones and cause cell damage (if you drink heavily or frequently), which makes your hair, skin, and nails look even worse.
2. It Can Make You Smell Funky
This one surprised me a little bit. It makes sense, but I just never gave it much thought!
Your liver does its best to break down as much of the alcohol you drink as possible. However, in most cases, some amount of that alcohol is going to exit your body through your pores and breath. Even if you’re wearing perfume or brush your teeth, you’re likely to have a lingering, slightly sour smell on your skin and breath until all of the alcohol is purged from your system. In some cases, the smell can even cling to your hair!
This was the piece of information I learned that made me conscious of slowing down on my drinks. Yikes.
3. Alcohol Can Dry Out (& Thin!) Your Hair
Yes, dehydration obviously can affect your scalp, but alcohol is also notorious for making your hair feel drier and more brittle than usual. This means split ends, extra frizz, and overall dull, lifeless locks.
Heavy drinkers might even be at risk for experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Alcohol can seriously deplete the amount of zinc that’s in your body, which is a common cause of hair loss. It also affects the levels of vitamins B and C in your body, which can lead to thinning hair in addition to other health problems.
4. It Can Trigger Skin Troubles
That “alcohol glow” you get after a few cocktails is due to flushing. Alcohol widens the little blood vessels in your skin, which increases the blood flow close to your skin’s surface (hence the pinkness). Unfortunately, this sudden increase in blood flow can potentially damage those blood vessels and capillaries, which is why you sometimes see alcoholics who seem to have a perpetually red, swollen nose or inflamed cheeks. This can happen to your eyes as well.
Alcohol can also cause eczema or psoriasis flares, and it can aggravate acne, too. If you’re already prone to rosacea, please be especially careful with your drinking, because it can permanently make your skin condition worse!
5. It Can Make You Look Puffy
Bloat is never fun, but it’s even worse when it’s caused by alcohol. Normally, we think of being bloated as a problem that’s limited to our midsections, but alcohol can make the problem more widespread. Alcohol bloat can linger a lot longer, too.
Even though alcohol can dehydrate you, once your body reaches a certain point of fluid loss, it starts to panic and hoard all of the remaining fluid in your tissues. This means a puffy gut, but it can also leave your face, eyes, hands, and feet swollen and uncomfortable.
It’s Time to Drink Smarter
Occasional heavy drinking is probably not going to be the difference between looking fabulous and looking like the Cryptkeeper. Even regularly drinking small amounts of alcohol is probably not going to have a lasting, negative impact on your beauty.
But if you’re prone to overindulgence, then I hope today’s post helps to put your alcohol consumption into perspective! If you’re putting in hard work to make your beauty routine work for you, then cutting back on the alcohol might just be the one thing that takes your routine from good to great. So enjoy your cocktails, but remember to take good care of yourself, too!