While the media has linked sipping on a pretty pink cocktail garnished with a lovely fruit accent to a lavish lifestyle, hang on to your drink: it’s actually doing more harm than you might think.
For many years, experts have been arguing about the benefits and risks of consuming these fermented and distilled beverages. While drinking moderately may not have a large number of immediate disadvantages, over time you’ll start to notice them — especially when you look in the mirror. According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, consuming larger amounts of alcohol can cause more than 60 different health issues and hundreds of physical conditions.
These potential problems may make you realize you should cut back on the drinking.
Aging before you’re ready to
“Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin,” New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez told Vogue. “I always joke with my patients, ‘If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!'”
There’s no question that excessive drinking causes your body to become dehydrated. You go out drinking at night and wake up the next morning praying there’s a refreshing glass of water next to your bed due to the fact that the alcohol has slowed down the process of an anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin. This causes your kidneys to work twice as hard to counteract the excess fluid, which then will cause your organs to become dehydrated.
Your skin, which is the largest organ of the body, will start to show when you’ve been leaving your body severely dehydrated too often. Instead of being soft and hydrated, your skin will begin to look cracked and wrinkled. This will leave others thinking you may be older than you actually are.
Losing your luscious locks
Dehydration doesn’t only affect your skin, but your hair as well. Cracked, brittle hair will break easier and create split ends. There are different products to combat split ends and dry hair, but what if you knew that drinking too much too often could leave you less hair to try and fix?
Consuming large amounts of alcohol is linked to zinc deficiency. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 30–50 percent of alcoholics have low zinc, which can cause hair loss. Other contributing factors to hair loss that come from consuming too much alcohol are lower levels of vitamin B and C and higher levels of estrogen, according to The Alcoholism Guide.
Redness doesn’t just mean you’re drunk
Consuming alcohol can cause redness in your face, but it isn’t because your skin is trying to mimic the pretty pink cocktails. It’s a skin condition called rosacea, and, believe it or not, it can cause permanent damage. “Excess alcohol also alters blood flow to the skin, leaving an unhealthy appearance for days. This is because alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the surface,” Dr. Nicolas Perricone, MD stated in an a discussion on his anti-aging skincare website. This will sometimes cause the blood vessels on your face to burst and the capillaries to break.
Not only can your face become red, but the blood vessels in your eyes can become irritated. If that doesn’t bother you, maybe this will: bloodshot eyes are just the beginning. Binge drinking can lead to blindness, also known as optic neuropathy or toxic amblyopia. What happens is alcohol can eventually slow down how quickly your pupils respond and the communication between your eyes and your brain.
Can’t beat the bloat
Three hours into the night and that tight red dress seems like its main focus is your gut. This is because when the body is deprived of fluids and electrolytes, it will then store the water you drink and eat. The more alcohol you drink, the more you’ll need to go to the bathroom. You may also notice you’re sweating more. When certain fluids aren’t replaced, your body compensates by retaining the water it still has. It’s not only your gut that will look puffy. Your feet, hands, face, and many other places could be affected.
Forgetting nightly duties
After a long night of drinking, you may not always make the best decisions for your body — like eating an entire pizza by yourself. Some people don’t have the energy or the thought process to continue with nightly regimens like washing their face or brushing their teeth. Once in a while may not be an issue, but making it a habit can contribute to acne, cavities, gum disease, and many other personal hygiene issues.
“You should use Vaseline at night to take off your makeup. Use a tissue to wipe of the excess, and that creates a barrier and keeps the skin moisturized,” suggested dermatologist George Cotsarelis during a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Liver damage can be deadly
Liver damage has look-ruining attributes that come along with it — not to mention it is life-threatening. Don’t ignore the dark circles under your bloodshot or even slightly yellow eyes, which is actually called jaundice. Skin rashes may also appear on your body. There are many symptoms of liver damage, so don’t ignore them, especially if you know you’ve been drinking too much and not taking care of your body.
Alcohol and bad BO
That bad odor coming from your body during a long night of drinking: yes, that does have something to do with the alcohol. According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, 10 percent of alcohol consumed leaves the body unused through your sweat, breath, and urine. Keep that in mind next time you wake up next to someone after a night of drinking. Your body odor could leave a lasting impression.
A beer belly is a real thing
Two studies have shown that alcohol consumption can result in weight gain, but not exactly for everyone. Those who choose to have a relaxing alcoholic beverage every once in a while aren’t linked to obesity. According to a study at the University of Navarra, Spain, it is definitely possible for heavier drinkers to be the ones to gain weight directly related to their drinking habits. Another study at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute says the same.
Being tired adds even more issues
Alcohol can affect how much sleep you’re getting. There are obvious reasons why not getting enough sleep will show in your looks, with your eyes looking tired and lower motivation in the morning to get up, get ready, and look your best. But there are many internal things going on. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep deficiency has been linked to obesity. It’s also important to get proper rest because while you’re sleeping, your body repairs your heart and blood vessels, keeping your immune system strong. All of these things can affect how you’re looking and feeling on the outside.
Important things to know to maintain your looks
Over the years, alcohol has become a normal thing in society. If you’re celebrating, you celebrate with a drink. If you’re mourning, you go have a drink. If you’re trying to forget someone, you use alcohol to help. Happy or sad, alcohol is something that we just can’t seem to get away from, so if you’re going to drink, drink responsibly. Through research, here are some tips I’ve gathered to help you maintain your looks and your health: if you want to drink, drink in moderation, and drink plenty of water before and after you consume alcohol. Pick your poison wisely — alcohol with less congeners, toxic chemicals, will have different effects on the body. Eat carbs before you drink to avoid getting too drunk too fast. Take care of your skin by washing your makeup off before bed, and even consider taking vitamins. Finally, remember to brush and floss your teeth so the plague doesn’t grow in your mouth overnight.