Best Cure For a Facial Hangover

Best Cure For a Facial Hangover
Most people drink. On a regular basis. Who doesn't like going out and having a great time? But at what expense? Depending on frequency, it could be a pretty steep expense. Alcohol consumption could pose a pretty hefty toll on your organs. That includes your biggest organ. . . your skin. "Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin," says New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez. "I always joke with my patients, ‘If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!'" Let's break down what happens to your skin when you drink, and what you can do to turn it around.

Drinking Effects On Your Skin

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy drinking is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week if you are a woman, and 15 or more drinks per week if you are a man. This can lead to dehydration, dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging, and fine lines. Where does all this come from? There is a whole cascade of effects that can stem from engaging in too much alcohol. According to Rodriguez, "there's a huge amount of damage to the skin that occurs; alcohol affects any mucous membrane from the pancreas and liver to the skin." Alcohol triggers inflammation throughout your entire body. That includes your skin. "Alcohol inflames the tissue, and systemic inflammation to the skin caused by alcohol creates a histamine reaction- that creates the redness, the flushing of the skin," says Rodriguez. Over a period of time, months or years, this can become a prominent facial redness that doesn't resolve. Alcohol alters blood flow to your skin, leaving it looking less than ideal. This effect can last for several days after drinking. Tiny blood vessels can widen, allowing more blood flow closer to the surface. Tiny capillaries may be broken, giving you the familiar flushed appearance associated with alcohol consumption. People suffering from rosacea should really consider abstaining, or at least minimizing their intake. Many patients say that alcohol is the number one trigger of their rosacea. One study shows that just one alcoholic drink can trigger problems in two out of three patients. Alcohol dehydrates you. It is a diuretic, which forces water out of your body. This is why it's difficult to rehydrate and get over your hangover. You can see this in the amount of wrinkles that show in a woman who has been drinking for 20 to 30 years. "The long-term damage from dehydration will make you look 10 years older. In the short term, dehydration causes dull skin and under eye circles," says Annie Chiu, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in Hermosa Beach, CA.  Alcohol depletes your body's supply of Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. Decreased Vitamin A will leave the body susceptible to attack by free radicals. Vitamin A is also responsible for cell renewal and turnover. "When skin is dehydrated it looks shallow, fine lines are more noticeable, and pores become obvious."

Cure Your Skin's Hangover

"It takes about two to four weeks for your body to regulate after a night of drinking" according to Dr. Harold Lancer, celebrity dermatologist. The best thing you could do for your skin is to cut out drinking altogether, or at least drink less and less often, particularly if you have sensitive skin or suffer acne. As you age, your body's ability to rid itself of alcohol decreases. Minimizing your intake can help to lower the damage to your skin. Drink plenty of water if you're going to drink. It will take you longer to rehydrate, so drink plenty of water and help to offset that diuretic effect. It may take a while for the internal effects to show up, though, notes Chiu. Try a sheet mask that includes hyaluronic acid to help skin lock in and retain moisture. Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. The massaging effect of exfoliation will help to improve the blood flow and make your skin look instantly better and more awake. Caffeinate. Have a coffee to help your brain fog, then apply a caffeinated product for your face, too. It helps to constrict blood vessels, countering the dilating effects of alcohol, which can make the area around your eyes look puffy and bloated, explains Chiu. If you gently massage it in with your ring finger, you'll also help to further flush out some of the excess fluid and alleviate any unwanted swelling. 

Whatever you do, don't skip your nighttime facial routine. While you may be tempted to fall into bed and pass out, don't! You'll want to cleanse your skin as usual to rid it of makeup and and daily grime. Leaving those things on your face while you sleep will increase the likelihood of clogged pores. Be sure to moisturize afterwards. Use a cream that contains ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier and minimize how much moisture evaporates from your skin overnight. This can be especially important when skin is already dehydrated to begin with.