It’s no secret that alcohol is bad for the skin, we get told it many times and might even have experienced its effects a few times. However, the common myth stands that it’s just because the body’s dehydrated. Unfortunately, drinking water won’t solve the problem.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SKIN WHEN YOU DRINK ALCOHOL?
Alcohol is an inflammatory agent, which affects your body as well as your skin. Yes, there’s more than just dehydration. In fact, ingesting alcohol can cause your pores to become enlarged, produce discolouration, fine lines, sagging and much more damage.
WHY? Alcohol changes the blood flow to the skin more specifically it allows more blood flow to the surface by widening the blood vessels. This causes that flushed colour to the face that many associate with alcohol. This can also cause broken capillaries, causing more damage to the skin.
Furthermore, alcohol affects sleep. Now, we don’t need to tell you how important sleep is for the skin; it helps to rejuvenate the skin and body. Alcohol triggers the release of a hormone called Norepinephrine (stress hormone) as well as Adrenaline, this is the reason why you have such a bad night’s sleep after drinking. A bad night’s sleep means that your skin looks dull the next day. We don’t need to mention those dark circles, too.
WHY IS ALCOHOL THE INGREDIENT IN SOME SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
When you look at the ingredients in skincare, you’ll often see alcohol such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, alcohol denat (denaturated alcohol) and methanol. These ingredients allow the products to feel lighter and penetrate the skin easier.
Of course, this is fine but there is an ugly side to it. These are bad alcohols and, if used excessively, your skin’s protective barrier will deteriorate and your skin won’t be able to keep in all the super important moisture.
A lot of toners and cleansers include alcohol to help take the dirt away, but this obviously isn’t desirable. Even gentle skincare products from Glossier, Origins and PIXI all contain alcohol. In the short term it will make the product easier to apply, but your skin won’t be benefiting from it. Therefore it is very important to apply moisturiser after your skin cleanser and toner.
ARE THERE ANY GOOD KINDS OF ALCOHOL?
There are good types of alcohol when it comes to skincare. They’re derived from vegetables and are nothing like the bad alcohols. These alcohols protect your skin and help keep moisture in. These include:
That being said, over the years we have ditched our skincare products that are oozing in alcohol (of any type) and replaced them with friendly alternatives.
Most green skin care products and eco-friendly items will be alcohol free. Just check out the ingredients before you make the purchase. An alcohol-free beauty routine will restore the natural balance in your skin, without stripping away your natural, healthy oils in the process.
It’s time to fall back in love with cleansers and toners, which you might have strayed away from after they dried your skin out. Alcohol-free is the way forward.
WHAT ABOUT THE ANTIOXIDANTS IN THE ALCOHOL?
Honestly, cutting out all types of alcohol would be your best bet, there’s nothing good swimming around in the bottom of a wine bottle or shot glass. They’ll all cause the same problems.
To summarise, when alcohols are bad, they’re bad for your skin. The worst kind of alcohol in your skincare is the type which you slam down at a bar, but the alcohols included in your moisturiser aren’t always pretty either. Just be safe and moderate.