Stopping drinking improves your skin
The Sober Journey

Why does stopping drinking alcohol improve your skin?

When I stopped drinking I took a selfie on day 1, then another a couple of weeks later. Straight away I noticed a huge difference in my skin, it was way less blotchy, clearer and looked generally healthy. I couldn’t believe the difference, my face was also less bloated and looked noticeably slimmer. On top of this the dark shadows under my eyes had gone!

Most people who quit alcohol notice their skin improve very quickly (among the other numerous benefits), it is usually visible after just two weeks of being alcohol free.

Alcohol is a diuretic which means it dehydrates the body and skin, it also reduces antioxidants, which reduces natural skin defences.

The reduction in antioxidants in the skin make it much more susceptible to damage from things like sun exposure, cigarette smoke and free radicals. It also means you can’t fully absorb nutrients and your body will crave salt. For women, it also changes hormone levels which can cause spots on the skin, a masculine appearance, bloated face, lost waistline and the dreaded barrel like middle body.

London dermatologist Dr Michael Prager stated that: ‘Alcohol is basically sugar, with 50% more calories. A gram of fat has nine kilocalories, carbohydrates have four-and-a-half, and alcohol has seven. Sugar causes glycosylation (the attachment of sugars to proteins), ageing cells and tissues through higher levels of insulin, changes in the DNA and tissue oxidisation. This impacts upon cells in a multitude of ways: it can cause free radical damage, and reduce cell proliferation and collagen production, slowing everything down.

‘Alcohol is also a diuretic: it dehydrates you. You absorb nutrients less successfully and crave salt. In women it changes their hormones, creating higher levels of testosterone, leading to things such as spots and the taking on of a masculine guise, with a diminished waist, barrel-like middle, a bloated face, skinny legs and hair loss.’

‘So many women come and see me in their thirties to ask my advice about ageing, I point out that drink is sabotaging their looks. Then, in their forties, they come back in a panic. There are things that I can do. However, the damage is done.’

Improved skin is just one of many benefits of quitting drinking, many non-drinkers comment on their glowing skin and how people they haven’t seen for a long time tell them how well they are looking – all without having to pay for Botox!

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