It’s no secret that alcohol has a potent effect on the human body, and that includes both skin and hair. The effects of alcohol consumption can include a decrease in both skin health and hair health—but how, and why? In this post, we’ll look first at some of the ways in which alcohol impacts the skin, then at some of the ways in which alcohol impedes healthy hair growth.
Alcohol Consumption and Your Skin
Alcohol’s effects on the skin mostly boil down to simple hydration. We all know that skin needs to be kept properly moisturized in order for it to look and feel its best; in the absence of hydration, skin can become dry, scaly, or leathery.
The big way in which alcohol affects the skin, then, is that it makes it more difficult for the body to remain hydrated. Because alcohol is a diuretic, it makes you have to urinate more frequently—which dehydrates you. At the same time, alcohol inhibits the production of vasopressin, a hormone that makes it possible for you to reabsorb water. So, it hits you in two ways—causing you to lose hydration, then making rehydration more difficult.
Cosmetically, the effects of dehydrated skin are all too well-known, and they include an appearance that is tired and sallow, with wrinkles and pores more distinct and visible. But that’s not the only way in which alcohol impacts the skin. It also decreases Vitamin A levels, which impedes cellular renewal; basically, your skin will lose some of its healthy glow. Finally, alcohol opens up blood vessels, which is why people who drink often look flushed—and over time, this blood vessel dilation can turn into spider veins or other, more significant skin problems.
Alcohol Consumption and Your Hair
If alcohol has a damaging effect on your skin, it’s not much kinder on your hair. The reason is largely the same: Alcohol dehydrates your hair just as surely as it dehydrates everything else, which means you end up with dry and brittle hair, as well as with split ends and other damage.
Moreover, regular alcohol consumption can have more cumulative, long-term effects. Over time, it depletes the body’s zinc and folic acid, both of which are vital ingredients for the hair to maintain its strength and its shine. This leads to hair that’s more liable to break—and it can also up the odds of hair loss.
How to Mitigate the Effects of Alcohol
Serious and undesirable though these side effects may be, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to totally give up drinking in order to prevent hair or skin damage. Drinking in moderation can help keep these side effects in check—especially if you take a few additional steps to safeguard your hair and skin.
One of those is just to drink plenty of water. The more water you have in your diet, the better you’ll be able to withstand the dehydrating effects of alcohol. A practical way to balance alcohol’s dehydrating effects is to alternate one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. (Of course, this also means you end up drinking less, so it’s helpful on multiple levels.)
Eating a nutritious diet can also help ensure your hair is fortified with the right nutrients; you might even consider biotin supplements to give it an extra level of protection. And, following a night of drinking, a rejuvenating hair mask can also go a long way toward undoing any damage done.
When you get right down to it, though, alcohol is never exactly good for the skin or hair—so the single best way to protect against it is simply to be careful in how much you drink.
Do What’s Best for Your Hair and Skin
If you have any questions about things you can do to protect or to rejuvenate your skin and hair, LH Hair can help. We’d love to have a one-on-one conversation with you about whatever your hair needs might be. Reach out to us at LH Hair to learn more, or simply come by for a consultation.