Any guy who’s had a big night out knows the wrath of alcohol. When you’ve had a few too many, the next morning’s gruesome hangover (and rough look) is no surprise. But there’s more to worry about than a painful headache or a drained appearance. You should pay close attention to the short- and long-term effects of alcohol causing skin damage.
What happens to your skin when you drink alcohol?
Alcohol gets metabolized like all the foods and drinks you consume. But unlike those foods and drinks, alcohol digestion generates some toxic byproducts. An enzyme in your liver breaks down the alcohol, resulting in acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde dehydrates your tissue and your skin, which causes dry skin, premature wrinkles, and breakouts. It also inflames your tissue, which ignites the release of histamine and causes redness. That redness could last for life if you overdo it regularly.
As if that wasn’t enough, alcohol causes dilated pores, which creates the perfect conditions for whiteheads and blackheads. Without proper treatment, this could mean permanent skin damage like scarring and cystic acne. It could even mean a long-term breakdown of healthy collagen production.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t drink, but you should be mindful of the effects of alcohol on skin, and you should opt for the least damaging choice. Red wine may not be the manliest option but it contains an antioxidant called resveratrol. Antioxidants are great anti-aging agents. On the other hand, beer may be your worst enemy, as the other additives (i.e. sugar, salt, etc.) can throw your liver into overdrive and dehydrate you even more.
What can you do to minimize the effects of skin damage from alcohol?
Aside from keeping your intake to a minimum, follow up each drink with a glass of water to avoid dehydration. And, grab a big meal before you drink so the alcohol gets digested with your food instead of passing through your liver. But most important, you can develop a skin routine that protects you from the choices you’ll make later that night. When you know a huge celebration is in store, be proactive.
Cleanse your face before you hit the sheets. This might be the last thing on your mind when you’re drunk, but your skin will thank you the next day. It’s likely you haven’t washed your face since the morning. So, in addition to the inflammation and dilated pores that alcohol causes, you’ve got a day’s worth of dirt and sweat on top of it. If you go to sleep without washing your face, you’ve essentially created the perfect recipe for a breakout.
Also, alcohol dehydrates your skin, so counter this effect with a moisturizer for men. You want to ensure your skin is properly armed beforehand. More specifically, you want to load your skin with hyaluronic acid, as it pulls moisture to your skin and traps it there. A moisturizer for men can also strengthen your skin barrier. Rub it on before you go out. If you forget, it still works just as well the next morning.
And, if you can, try to sleep on your back. This position promotes fluid drainage, which reduces or prevents that puffy look the next morning.
Last but not least, a men’s face scrub could do the trick when you wake up. Not only will the scrub remove the surface dirt and excess oil, but it cleans out those dilated pores and helps pull additional moisture to your skin.
It’s perfectly natural to have a few drinks. But the more you have, the more skin damage you can cause. Keep an eye on your intake and build a solid skincare routine that keeps your skin healthy and hydrated.