Women's Health
Alcohol - How Much You Imbibe Can Make you Look Old
Aug 16, 2016 - 7:10:29 AM

( - Most of us are conscious of how we look. What many people don't realize is that drinking alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on our appearance.  Sometimes, alcohol misuse can affect your short-term appearance. It's even possible for some people to develop conditions which may permanently change how they look. Alcohol is fattening and 2 double gin and tonics equals one hamburger! Alcohol  lowers your blood sugar, making you feel hungry, so you may drink or eat more than usual.  Alcohol also dehydrates your body generally, including the skin - your body's largest organ. This happens every time you drink.

Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a New York board certified dermatologist and says that, "Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol". She adds, "Alcohol increases your blood flow, often causing blood vessels in your face to dilate (sometimes permanently) and often burst, leaving behind broken capillaries and red spots that are difficult to get rid of." 

What's worse, drinking too much doesn't only affect the appearance of your skin, it will dehydrate your hair, making it more prone to breaking and split ends. Weak, brittle hair is just about as ideal as premature wrinkling,

Alcohol affects your eyes

In much the same way that alcohol causes broken capillaries on your face, it irritates and enlarges the tiny blood vessels on the surface of your eye (the sclera) causing a "bloodshot" appearance. Not vain enough to be put off by a few red lines? How about blindness?  Dr. Papantoniou says that, "Because excessive drinking robs the body of some nutrients required to maintain eye health, it can lead to a condition called alcoholic optic neuritis, which impairs eyesight and, over time, can result in blindness."


Stay Hydrated

Aside from giving up booze altogether, Dr. Papantoniou says it is possible to minimize the unwanted effects of alcohol by constantly staying hydrated.  She stresses, "That means drinking a full glass of water for every cocktail you have. Drink even more water before you go to bed to flush the alcohol out of your system so you wake up less dehydrated, puffy and flushed."

Take Care of Your Skin Before Bed

Taking care of your skin before hitting the sack is also crucial. Dr. Papantoniou says to fully wash your face and then apply a moisturizer, like a hydrating serum before getting into bed.  "Sleeping with dirty skin makes it prone to clogged pores and acne.  It also means no skin-care products touched your face the night before."

Sleep Strategy

One of the best ways to minimize the eye and face puffiness is to sleep on two pillows, slightly propped up.  In the morning, rubbing ice cubes all over your face helps, too.  "One of the best ways to deflate eye puffiness and reduce the redness is to place cold tea bags over the eyes.  The tannins in the tea help constrict blood vessels," adds Dr. Papantoniou.


To camouflage the redness in the face, Dr. Papantoniou suggests using a green-tinted primer before applying makeup, which should help neutralize any redness. And, if you must use foundation, look for a lightweight, moisturizing formula.  Avoid powders, as they are often more drying.

Pricier Measures

Of course, there are pricier measures you can take to minimize the effects of alcohol: Dr. Papantoniou adds that, "Certain laser treatments can reduce redness and spider veins on the face."

Choose Your Liquor Wisely

People are going to drink, whether you like it or not, so what is the best alcohol to drink?  "Different alcohols have different effects on the skin, but as a general rule, the clearer, the better: Vodka, gin, and tequila get out of your system quicker. If you're going to drink anything, drink vodka that doesn't have a grain in it, like potato vodka. It's a lot clearer and smoother, so it gets in and out of your body quickly says Dr. Papantoniou.

Most dermatologists agree that although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, if you can remember to drink in moderation and stay hydrated, you can save your skin.

About Dr. Kally Papantoniou

Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. Connect with Dr. Papantoniou  via twitter @DrPapantoniou or her website


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