How alcohol affects your skin
In many cultures alcoholic drinks play a central role in social gatherings and celebrations of all sorts. Many people find alcohol useful for changing pace and letting off steam. When consumed in moderation, alcohol is unlikely to harm health. Yet over-drinking and habitual drinking can be harmful to both health and beauty.
Alcohol metabolism inside the body
How does the body metabolize alcohol when we drink?
The alcohol in a drink is mostly absorbed by the stomach and intestines, and then sent on to the liver. The liver metabolizes alcohol by separating it into water and carbon dioxide, products that are excreted from the body. As alcohol is broken down (metabolized), the body creates a toxic byproduct, the substance acetaldehyde. This substance is the cause of hangover, which results from drinking to an extent that exceeds the capacity of the liver to process the alcohol. If we drink too much alcohol in too short a space of time, our liver is unable to keep pace, the density of acetaldehyde in the blood increases and we end up with palpitations and a headache.
If a person drinks alcohol in excess habitually, the excess energy absorbed by the body may lead to obesity. Excessive alcohol also burdens the liver, sometimes inducing diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver, or hepatitis. Over-drinking may also be linked to depression, insomnia, and alcohol dependency.
How to improve alcohol related skin problems
According to a survey by Kanebo Cosmetics, alcohol consumption can cause noticeable puffiness of the face. (See Fig. 1)
Alcohol consumption increases the blood flow, which congests the capillary vessels around the eyes. The upper eyelids may also become conspicuously puffy.
Over-drinking also dries the skin and thereby weakens its defences against irritants. (See Fig. 2)
Figure1:Puffiness in the face
If you notice signs of puffiness in the mirror the day after drinking, a gentle massage to improve the flow of lymph fluid may help. But remember to treat your skin gently, as massage and other stimulants may irritate dry and sensitive skin after drinking. A steam towel after cleansing can also improve the circulation and flow of lymph fluid. Warm a towel by soaking it in hot water and then apply it closely over the face. This will improve blood circulation and enhance the permeation of subsequent skincare products.
If you notice overly dry skin after drinking, try using “intensive moisturizing care.” Moisturize with a lotion mask or cotton mask doused with ample lotion, then apply beauty essence. Try expanding your skincare regime by adding one of the new overnight beauty lotion masks that work during sleep. A single night of overindulgence with alcohol can leave the skin excessively dry for days on end. Sensitive skin may even redden or react to irritants it normally resists. These symptoms call for careful moisturizing care and may even require low-irritant cosmetics.