Most of us turn to dry January in a desperate attempt to combat the over indulgence of Christmas without evaluating the bigger picture of cutting down.
Every year we go through the same cycle of “treat yourself…it’s Christmas!” whilst binging on party food and drinks, the as soon as January hits we think “SHIT!” and hit the health kick of dieting, exercising, and cutting out alcohol. It’s the same vicious cycle that we put ourselves through every single year.
Now I am not here to criticise Dry January. I think it’s an amazing initiative, started by Alcohol Change UK, which has had a great impact across the UK. You can read more about the campaign here…and I actually think it’s a great way to get you started!
So back to the bigger picture, we medicate temporarily on something that makes us feel better for a few minutes or hours by sacrificing the benefits of feeling good the next day! And it’s not just the headaches, sickness, or tiredness I’m talking about. It’s the outside too. Cutting down on your alcohol intake can have a huge impact on both the inside and the outside of your body. So, what exactly is the impact of alcohol on the skin?
Dehydration means damage
Most of us have experienced the dreaded hangover headache, but dehydration does in fact cause damage. Alcohol causes damage to any mucous membrane in the body such as your liver, pancreas and you guessed it…the skin! Dehydration of the skin means a loss of fluid which in turn causes more wrinkles. From just 20 years of drinking alcohol, you can see a 10-year age difference compared to someone the same age who hasn’t.
Alcohol inflames your skin tissue and creates a histamine reaction, which is the same reaction as an allergy. You may have noticed a red flush to your skin when you drink? No big deal, right?! Well, over a period of time that facial redness can stick and become permanent.
Not all hope is lost! Skin is great at bouncing back. It has an incredible regeneration and rehydration rate, so before you give up hope…it’s not too late! That being said, the earlier you start the better. Collagen is hard to get back once you destroy it!
Cut Back with achievable goals
The idea of giving up completely is a daunting task and is the reason most of us are setting ourselves up to fail. Any small change makes a huge difference. Instead of having a glass every night, try every other night, then just weekends. Make small achievable goals and progress. This will ensure you stay on track and don’t relapse into medicating for your failures.
The older we get the longer alcohol takes to process and leave our system. At the age of 20 it can take 3 hours for a drink to leave our body, but by the time we are 40 it can take 33 hours for the same drink to leave our body! This means that even by the next day that drink is still in our system.
Finally, the most obvious and important point is to stay hydrated…and it doesn’t just mean water (although it is amazing for your skin if you can)! My friend Jo over on Sober Jo has some incredibly alcohol-free recommendations over on her blog here. Check out her sobriety journey too for some extra inspiration!