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Alcohol and Skin – what do we know?

Does alcohol cause premature skin ageing?

There are no clinical studies to confirm that alcohol causes premature skin ageing … yet. However, there is a lot of evidence to show what excessive alcohol consumption does to our skin on a cellular level and many of these cellular effects have a known connection to skin ageing, so it doesn’t look good.

Excess alcohol consumption has for example been shown to increase oxidative stress and micro-inflammation. Chronic alcohol consumption has also been shown to lead to mitochondrial dysfunction (mitochondria are the power houses of our cells) via generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Furthermore, excess alcohol intake has been shown to shorten telomeres … not speaking of disturbing your natural gut flora. Drinking alcohol has of course also a tendency to dehydrate our skin and body. Alcohol consumption has even been shown in a study to make your breasts look less attractive, so the odds are against alcohol…

 

Does alcohol consumption cause rosacea?

It is a myth that alcohol consumption causes rosacea. Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition between 30-60 years, especially in fair-skinned women.

Rosacea is caused by a genetic predisposition, not alcohol. However, in people with that genetic predisposition to rosacea, alcohol may trigger flare-ups of the disease.

 

Conclusion

Interestingly, there are some studies however to show that moderate (never excessive!) alcohol consumption may even be beneficial for general health and longevity, so the jury on moderate drinking is still out in my opinion.

My recommendation therefore is to not have alcohol daily and to avoid over-indulging at any one point, but most importantly – don’t stress if you’d like to indulge in the odd glass. My personal favourite is a nice glass of red wine, as it contains resveratrol, an anti-ageing compound (any excuse…), and less sugar compared to many other alcoholic drinks. Enjoy!