Alcohol is metabolized through a specific enzyme in the liver and is known as a hepatoxin, meaning it is toxic to the cells that detoxify the body. Liver failure can cause damage to the skin such as large pores or pasty-looking skin. When alcohol is metabolized, an enzyme in the liver releases a byproduct called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is also a known toxin to the body; however, this toxin dehydrates the body causing hangovers and skin dehydration.
Dehydrated skin can lead to fine lines and wrinkles associated with premature aging. As skin ages, it loses collagen and elastin – two key factors that keep it young and fresh-looking. Once lost, elastin is too big of a molecule to be put back in the skin; collagen is also a large molecule, but can be reabsorbed into the skin. Alcohol also releases a histamine that causes dilation of capillaries, leading to inflammation that makes the skin turn red.
Most people will not stop going out and drinking, but there are a couple of things they can do to minimize the effects of alcohol on the skin. Between drinks, having a glass of water will help keep the body hydrated so that skin will not suffer the usual consequences. Also, steering clear of alcohol that has a lot of sugar in it is a good ideas, as sugar can cause inflammation and acne breakouts.
While having a good time and enjoying life is important, it is worth considering the damage that alcohol, particularly, can do to the skin, in order to prevent signs of aging, inflammation, and dehydration.