How does alcohol affect the way you look?
Most of us are conscious of how we look. What many people don’t realise is that drinking alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on our appearance. Sometimes, alcohol misuse can affect your short-term appearance. It’s even possible for some people to develop conditions which may permanently change how they look.
Alcohol is fattening and 2 double gin and tonics equals one hamburger!
Alcohol also lowers your blood sugar, making you feel hungry, so you may drink or eat more than usual. Alcohol also dehydrates your body generally, including the skin – your body’s largest organ. This happens every time you drink.
Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol.
High alcohol consumption is a risk factor for psoriasis. The distribution of psoriasis has been observed to be particularly prominent on the fingers and hands of heavy drinkers. People who have psoriasis and drink more than 80g of alcohol per week have been found to have more severe treatment-resistant psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis and high alcohol intake are also more likely to suffer from depression.
Blood Shot Eyes. This happens when tiny blood vessels on the surface of the eye become dilated and inflamed.
Acne. This skin condition may be aggravated by depriving your skin of necessary vitamins and nutrients from alcohol misuse. If untreated, this can lead to facial scaring.
Facial redness. One of the earliest signs of alcohol abuse is a persistently red face due to enlarged blood vessels. This appears because regulation of vascular control in the brain fails with sustained alcohol intake. Transient flushing is also a common side effect of alcohol, particularly in heavy drinkers. It is due to acetaldehyde, the main breakdown product of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is thought to cause flushing by stimulating release of histamine.
When the alcoholic gets a lot of alcohol in their brain tissue following heavy drinking, something different occurs. A small part of the acetaldehyde goes to the brain, where it interacts with a substance called dopamine to form THIQ. Once the THIQ is formed, it does not go away, even if the alcoholic stops drinking. It is there for life. How does the alcoholic recover from this chemical imbalance? They have to stop drinking. It’s alcohol that triggers off the compulsion. Don’t take the first drink and you are free from the bondage of alcohol. If it was as simple as not taking the first drink, everyone would be sober. There is a lot of work involved in keeping the alcoholic away from that first drink.
The THIQ that has attached itself to the Dopamine Neurotransmitter becomes dormant when drinking alcohol ceases. However, it does not go away but, like a dormant volcano, lies there waiting for something to trigger it off and cause the compulsive drinking to start again. AA has a saying: ‘One drink is too many and a hundred is not enough.’ The wisdom of this saying cannot be denied. Trying to control your drinking after a few drinks is like trying to control diarrhea!
Stomach and Facial Bloating. Alcohol can also cause your face to look bloated and puffy. Alcohol can cause gas to form in your digestive system and when this becomes trapped, pressure builds up in your stomach causing bloating and even pain. Then there is cellulite and many people believe the toxins in alcohol contribute to its build-up.
Spider Veins. Spider veins are given that name because of their appearance. Blood vessels (the spider legs) radiate out in all directions from a central blood vessel (its body). Like other blood vessels, spider veins blanch when pressure is applied. They are mostly frequently found on the face, the V of the neck, chest, arms, hands and abdomen. Large number of spider veins is associated with liver disease due to elevated estrogen levels.
Jaundice. The skin and sciera of the eyes often turn yellow in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Skin darkening around the eyes, mouth and on the legs may be associated with chronic liver disease.
Generalised skin itching (pruritus) may occur due to the build-up of poorly metabolised substances that stimulate nerve endings in the skin.
Skin Cancer. Along with increasing the risk of liver, pancreatic and breast cancer, alcohol increases the risk of skin cancer. Alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. Alcohol suppresses the immune system and impairs adequate nutrition, reducing the body’s natural defence against skin cancer. Its main metabolite, acetaldehyde, is a carcinogen (cancer causing chemical). Acetaldehyde produces reactive free radicals and damages DNA.
Nutritional deficiency can develop when alcohol replaces normal food in the diet and the digestive tract and liver do not digest and process food the way they should resulting in malabsorption. With little calorie or protein intake, the skin becomes dry and loses elasticity. Vitamins are essential to maintain healthy looking skin:
- Vitamin A deficiency results in dry skin and rough follicles on the skin
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency results in waxy skin and a red thickened tongue
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) deficiency presents with cracked corners of the mouth, an inflamed tongue and a rash on the face that resembles seborrheic dermatitis.
- Pellagra is a deficiency of niacin (vitamin B3) and presents with diarrhea, dementia and dermatitis on sun-exposed areas.
- Vitamin C deficiency results in swollen gums
- Zinc deficiency causes a condition that looks like dermatitis around the mouth, hands, feet and anus.
Unpleasant Body Odor. People suffering hangovers smell like stale alcohol as the liver processes most of the alcohol you drink but some of it leaves the body straight through your breath, sweat and urine.
How does alcohol affect your sleep?
Sleep is important for our health and well-being, in fact, we can’t live without it. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can affect your health and quality of life, causing fatigue, poor concentration and memory, mood disturbances, impaired judgement and reaction time and poor physical coordination. Ultimately, you are less productive and more prone to accidents. Alcohol interferes with the normal sleep process, so you feel much less rested than you normally would.
Exhaustion and fatigue. While it may help you fall asleep, when you drink a lot of alcohol close to bedtime, you can reduce and change the sleep stages which are necessary for good health.
Rapid-eye-movement sleep state or REM, is either reduced or you may miss out on it completely. Typically, you have six to seven cycles of REM sleep during the night, which should leave you feeling refreshed. If you have been drinking, you will most likely have only one or two cycles so you can wake up feeling exhausted.
Then there is the deep sleep state, which is when the body and mind restores itself, is also interfered with when you drink alcohol. As the alcohol starts to wear off, your body can come out of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up just after a few hours of sleep, when you have been drinking.
Dehydration. If you have been drinking a lot, you may have to get up during the night to go to the toilet. Alcohol is a diuretic so it encourages the body to lose extra fluid, by going to the toilet more often and by increasing the amount your body sweats.
Snoring. Drinking alcohol can make you snore loudly. It relaxes the muscles in your body including the tissue in your throat, mouth and nose, which can stop air flowing smoothly and is more likely to vibrate, causing you to snore. If you are drinking alcohol, try to avoid it too close to bedtime. Give your body time to process the alcohol you had before you try to go to sleep. On average, it takes an hour for your body to process one standard drink, but this can vary widely from person to person.
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Magnesium is known as The Great Relaxer and may assist in the reduction of stress, nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness.
Glicemic Balance Capsules aid in the metabolism of carbohydrates and supports insulin function and is helpful in curbing sugar and carbohydrate cravings when you are detoxing from alcohol.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.