One of the first things I like to remind my patients about alcohol is that it is dehydrating. Skin cells, like all cells in the body, are made of water. But when there is not enough to go around, water will flow to our internal organs first, sometimes leaving our skin with less than it needs.
Especially as we get older, it is important to decrease alcohol intake and drink hydrating fluids (you guessed it, more water). Also, fruits and vegetables are ideal foods to increase because of their high water content.
Excessive alcohol intake can be inflammatory to the skin and all tissues in the body. So what is a recommended amount? Rather than give a one-size-fits-all answer, I would suggest that you look at your current ingestion and cut back. If you drink alcohol every day, change it to every other day and keep it to one drink. Eventually, make it a weekend or special occasion habit. Be sure to avoid sugary alcoholic beverages and hard alcohol and opt for a good quality red wine (which contains antioxidants). Take control of your intake, don’t let it control you! Find other ways to relax that are more fulfilling (more on that in my next blog).
The other important effect of alcohol is that it can interrupt sleep. If it would make you happier to wake up in the morning feeling fresh, less-tired and ready-to-go, what you do the night before can make all the difference. Cut back on alcohol!
Bottom line: As I always say to my patients, be willing to make small changes and test them out. If one approach doesn’t work for you, try another. As a Naturopathic Physician, I appreciate when my patients feel they can turn to me for an individualized plan and know that I have their best interest in mind.