We all enjoy a cocktail or a cold one from time to time. But have you ever stopped to think how alcohol might be affecting your skin? By impairing the all-important function of the liver, alcohol can rob us of our natural glow and leave our complexion looking dull, dry or worse!
This October treat your skin (and your liver) to an alcohol-free month! Quitting alcohol can be hard but we promise your skin will love you for it!
'I'm so thirsty'– said your skin
You might not know it but drinking alcohol frequently, even if you are only having one or two, causes your skin to become inflamed and dehydrated.
"Dehydration takes fluid out of your skin resulting in enlarged pores and over time can cause things like ageing and wrinkles to appear ahead of time," Darlene says.
"Going alcohol free, even just for a month, will give your skin the chance to rehydrate and regenerate and rehydrated skin is one of the first steps to achieving clearer skin."
Goodnight sleep tight!
One of the best benefits to an alcohol-free month is a better sleep. You will start sleeping more deeply, meaning you will wake up feeling more rested, both mentally and physically.
"Alcohol consumption causes a lack of resilience in the skin. A month of sobriety means small things like dark circles under your eyes will start to reduce and your skin will begin to look more youthful and rested," she said.
"For people who suffer from eczema or an excess of dandruff, going alcohol free may also reduce the severity of these conditions."
Love your liver
Drinking alcohol all the time is tough on your liver and giving it a break has more benefits than you think. As the liver starts to heal, you will notice an improvement to your skin and body as it becomes clearer and more youthful. You might even notice that your eyesight becomes clearer and your mood improves… now how's that for amazing benefits!
Alcohol can cause hormonal imbalances, which we all know can wreak havoc on your skin. Participating in Ocsober will help your hormones to stay balanced, reducing your chance of a breakout and getting you one step closer to clearer skin!
"Acne can be caused by a wide range of external and internal factors, and alcohol is just one of the possible perpetrators," Darlene says.
"To reduce your chances of a breakout even further, always remember to follow a simple routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising or visit your local Australian Skin Clinics for a free skin assessment and treatment plan."
Question: Why are you ditching booze for the month of October?
Darlene O'Gara: Going sober in October gives your skin and body some TLC and R&R. It allows it to recover from any inflammation and dehydration caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Question: What does alcohol do to our skin?
Darlene O'Gara: The sugar load of many alcoholic drinks is quite high, which can cause insulin levels to spike and result in skin inflammation, redness, irritation and sometimes even acne. Excessive consumption can also deprive skin of vitamins and effect the body's ability to produce collagen, leading to lasting, visible effects such as fine lines, bloating and dullness.
Question: How does ditching booze seriously benefit our skin?
Darlene O'Gara: It gives it a break! Going sober for the month, or simply cutting back on your alcohol consumption, will give your skin the ability to regenerate, though this will depend on how much damage has already been done. A booze free month will allow skin to detox and rehydrate and regenerate, skin will absorb vitamins and other nutrients more easily leading to less bloating and even potentially redness.
Question: What role does the liver play on our skin?
Darlene O'Gara: Your skin reflects your liver. Your liver is the metabolic factory of your body and produces the energy to sustain the thousands of functions performed by all of your body's cells.
For example, your hair follicles need energy to grow strong shiny hair and your skin cells require energy to eliminate toxins and repair and regenerate themselves. Your heart requires energy to pump blood efficiently to your skin to maintain collagen production and oxygenate the cells to protect them from ageing.
If your liver is not doing its job of breaking down toxins efficiently, they must be eliminated from your body by other means – in many cases they come out through your skin!
Question: Does alcohol increase the likelihood of skin conditions?
Darlene O'Gara: When you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, toxins can build up in the deeper layers of the skin causing inflammation to occur and this can manifest in your skin as:
Redness and flushing of the skin
Premature aging and increase in wrinkles
Bloating and puffiness
Question: If we do drink alcohol; how can we best protect our skin from the negative effects?
Darlene O'Gara: It is possible to maintain your glow and radiance, while still enjoying the occasional cocktail hour. Here's how to prevent and treat the adverse effects drinking alcohol has on the skin:
Cleanse your face after your night out and apply a good hyaluronic acid moisturiser, such as our ReBalense Moisturiser, that rehydrates the skin deeply to diminish dullness.
Drink lots of water throughout the night – not just at the end – to ensure your body is able to flush toxins from your system
The general rule with alcohol is the clearer the better: vodka, gin and tequila are all processed through our body quicker than darker spirits or beer
Take some vitamin B and apply an eye cream the next morning. It also helps to sleep with two pillows instead of one to ensure fluid doesn't accumulate around the eyes causing the puffiness
If you suffer from redness – don't drink too much red wine and avoid spicy foods as your snack of choice – these all bring blood flow to your face and can cause redness or flushing of the skin
To reduce wrinkles you need to provide your body with a good antioxidant such as Vitamin C Serum to help your collagen recover – my favourite is Balense Skincare's ReBalense Moisturiser Skin Bright, it contains Clover Flower Extract that is four and a half times more powerful than Vitamin C. It rejuvenates, encourages natural cell renewal and helps with pre-maturely aged skin.
Question: Will going alcohol-free for Ocsober benefit our skin, long term?
Darlene O'Gara: Drinking alcohol all the time is tough on your liver and skin so giving it a break, even a small one, has benefits. If you give alcohol a break, you will notice an improvement to your skin and body as it becomes clearer and more youthful.
Question: How often should we look at going alcohol-free for a month?
Darlene O'Gara: More often is ideal, but giving your body a semi-regular detox is advised. If a month seems too hard, try cutting back to every other day or less. It's important to remember that when you age, your body's ability to process alcohol ages as well. This means the more often your drink the longer your body will take to rid itself of the toxins and repair the damage that may have been done. If you can't do Ocsober, there's always a New Year's resolution or even Dry July!
Interview by Brooke Hunter