Healthy Skin Lifestyle

With the summer wrapping up, many of us are looking at the toll that the summer months took on our skin.  Sun exposure, long days with late nights, and summer cocktails can leave your skin dull and dry.  Whiletreatments and products make a difference revitalizing your skin and repairing the damage from the bad behavior many of us indulged in this summer, there is a quick ‘life-style’ cleanse that guarantees to refresh you.

In an ideal world, we could rely on a full 7-8 hours of sleep, plenty of water, a whole-food based diet including organic vegetables, and daily physical activity for a beautiful, healthy appearance.  And while most of us busy-but-beauty-conscious individuals find achieving just one item from off that list out of our reach, there is one simple life-style change that produces an immediate improvement to one’s appearance: cut out alcohol.

I tried a 30-day alcohol cleanse on suggestion from my acupuncturist when complaining about my unshakeable sugar cravings, but the compliments I got on my skin made me think: is this the skin-care tip people haven’t been getting?  At the risk of using temperance party sound-bites or sounding as old-fashioned as a character from Boardwalk Empire, I highly recommend going “dry” to combat dry skin.

Alcohol dehydrates you.  Not only does alcohol work as a diuretic it inhibits the hormones which control water reabsorption.  So even if you are using the college-senior-approved strategy of one shot of water per shot of alcohol, you will be dehydrated.  So for those of us with dry skin, alcohol keeps us dry or exacerbates the condition.  To follow this further, dehydration leads directly to wrinkles as collagen is not being regenerated well so wrinkles come on faster and go deeper.

Alcohol is a vasodilator which means it dilates the blood vessels and causes a redistribution of fluid in the body.  In case you were wondering how one can be dehydrated and puffy at the same time, there is your answer.  While your whole body is affected, the thin delicate skin around your eyes is quick to show this by way of puffy eyelids and under eye bags.  This increased vascular activity can look like a general flush or redness particularly around the nose and cheeks.  Over time or in extreme cases this increased vascular activity can result in tiny broken capillaries sometimes called spider veins.

In a less direct aesthetic attack, alcohol is detrimental to restful sleeping causing tossing and turning and waking up more frequently during the night.  A University of Michigan study actually shows this side-effect to be worse for women than for men.  The subsequent and often indulged craving for a greasy hang-over-cure breakfast is another indirect assault on your skin’s health.

Going alcohol-free is certainly not a necessity for health as there have been numerous scientific studies about the benefits of alcohol; red wine in particular has garnered plenty of good press in the last decade.  It’s important to remember that alcohol, like any controlled substance, has both pros and cons.  If you feel like giving ‘Sober September’ a try, you can judge for yourself.

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