January has come around once again. Post-Christmas blues have kicked in and people are longing for vegetables and smoothies after over-indulging in pigs in blankets and prosecco. For some, the thought of a detox will be very appealing. However many glasses, litres or gallons of alcohol you consumed over the festive period (hey, we’re not judging), taking a break from it at any could help in lots of ways and dry January is the perfect time to get motivated. Taking out or reducing the amount of alcohol in your diet can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health, as well as your skin – that’s what we’re here to talk about. So, brace yourselves, this could get ugly.
We all know the feeling; waking up after a night out gasping for a drink, grabbing the nearest cup or bottle to you in the hope it doesn’t have leftover vodka in. It’s evidence in plain sight that drinking dehydrates us, but what we tend to forget is that it as well as making our bodies thirsty, our skin is left completely quenched as well. According to nutritional therapist, Lola Ross and skin expert, Michaella Bolder in an interview with ELLE magazine, alcohol is a diuretic, which causes plenty of skin cell-friendly water to be flushed from the body. This leaves skin feeling and looking dry, flaky and any fine lines and wrinkles will appear to be more present.
As well as it’s dehydrating effects, alcohol also has an inflammatory influence on our bodies. Drinking causes our insides to become inflamed which is portrayed on the skin as redness, puffiness and outbreaks. Alcoholic drinks are generally high in sugar, your mojito’s and bottles of Pinot Grigio that were only supposed to be one glass, are particularly bad for this. Ross explained that ‘the sugar in alcohol can quite literally crystallise your skin cells, leading to less plump, supple cells and a duller complexion’.
Stephen Gullo, a health psychologist and diet expert in New York spoke to Allure and pointed out that drinking can swerve our conscious decisions as well as damaging our organs. He suggested that ‘more than two cocktails tends to stimulate your appetite’ which has potential to interrupt any diets you may be trying to stick to. As well as being drunk and hungry, the morning after often leads to a greasy McDonald’s or a fry-up. Jennifer Kass of Kass Health also told Allure that “after a heavy night of drinking, your pH balance is out of whack. You crave the salty, fatty foods because your body is trying to create balance again.” All the bad food that appeals to us when we’re hungover can lead to breakouts and other skin related issues.
One final effect that alcohol has on our skin is the increase in likelihood of women suffering from Rosacea. Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that typically affects the face. It can result in redness, blemishes and swelling.
So, now we know what drinking alcohol does to our skin, but what happenswhen we stop drinking it?
After one hour: your body will be working overtime to eliminate excess toxins from your skin. Sonya Dakar, celebrity esthetician and CEO of Sonya Dakar skin clinic told INSIDER that “your body will enter a detox mode to clear the alcohol from your bloodstream and prevent alcohol poisoning”.
After one day: your skin still won’t be re-hydrated. Joshua Ross, owner of SkinLab told INSIDER that “one day after drinking, your skin will be dehydrated and blotchy” and that it still has a long way to go before it ‘bounces back’. This means that giving up alcohol for better skin needs to be a somewhat serious commitment.
After one week: this is when the real improvement in your skin starts to show. After being sober for a whole seven days, your skin will start to get its dewiness back. The restored hydration will give back your healthy, glowing look. Ross stated that breakouts may occur as your pores “purge” and push all the toxins to the surface of the skin.
One month: one vino-free month will have left your skin looking significantly healthier. Tess Mauricio, CEO of MBeautyClinic.com informed INSIDER that your skin will have ‘less swelling, a more even colour and a more hydrated look’.
So, there we have it. If you’re reading this and cringing at the mere thought of how much alcohol you have devoured over the past month or so, don’t worry – we are too. After being thoroughly apologetic to our lovely skin cells, we are absolutely positive that a detox is in order. Joining many others in Dry January is the perfect opportunity to fulfil our goals when we need a little extra motivation.