Last Updated on March 27, 2021
The short answer: yes. While the occasional drink with friends might not hurt, evidence suggests there is a strong relationship between alcohol and aging. Drinking too much can cause wrinkly skin, redness, and a dry complexion–and that’s only the beginning. If you want to keep looking and feeling young, it’s probably time to start drinking less alcohol.
The Link Between Alcohol and Aging
There are many ways alcohol can put an extra strain on your body. Alcohol causes your body to release more stress hormones1, which speeds up the aging process. It also affects the healthy functioning of your digestive system, making it harder for you to absorb essential nutrients2. This includes vitamins A, B, D, and E; minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc; and even basics like proteins and carbohydrates3. Alcohol’s all-around negative effect on nutrition means that heavy drinkers often become malnourished. This limits the body’s ability to maintain itself, resulting in faster aging.
Of course, rapid aging affects your physical appearance. A recent study4 by researchers in Denmark focusing on telltale signs of aging found that men who consumed more than 35 drinks a week were 35 percent more likely to display “arcus corneae,” a gray ring in the eye that often pops up in old age. Women who had 28 drinks or more per week had a 33 percent higher chance of developing the same syndrome. By adding extra stress to your body and depriving it of the nutrients it needs to rebuild, alcohol can place you years ahead in the aging process, and affect how you look.
Alcohol, Aging, and Your Skin
One of the most visible impacts alcohol can have is on your complexion. The internet is full of articles encouraging you to cut back on alcohol to protect your skin5, and for good reason. Alcohol can cause:
- A deficiency of nutrients like vitamin A6, which helps with cell regeneration and collagen reproduction. Both are essential to youthful skin.
- Enlarged blood vessels, giving your skin a redder appearance.
- Dehydration, making your skin appear scaly and helping wrinkles appear faster.
- Liver disease, which causes conditions like spider telangiectasia7—red spiderweb-like lesions below the surface of the skin—and jaundice, a yellowing of the skin.
That’s quite a list. And although cutting back on alcohol can give your skin a chance to regenerate, some damage cannot be reversed. All in all, the sooner you quit or moderate your drinking, the better.
Alcohol Can Make You Feel Older, Too
Alcohol doesn’t just affect you superficially. It can impact your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, too—making you not only look but also feel older than you are.
Although alcohol might make you feel more relaxed in the moment, in the long run it can increase anxiety and depression, feeding into a negative cycle. And then there are the frequent hangovers from binge drinking. Overall, the less you drink, the more energetic and youthful you will feel. This will in turn affect how you look. Feeling better inside almost always means looking better on the outside.
Drink Less, Look and Feel Better
One of the best things you can do for your all-around health and appearance is to drink less alcohol. But at Ria Health, we recognize that this can be easier said than done. Many people struggle with alcohol dependency, and it can be hard to know how to begin to cut back.
Ria’s telemedicine-based program is designed to simplify things, allowing you to access the support you need from the comfort of home. We use evidence-based methods to help you moderate or stop drinking, and our convenient smartphone app makes the whole process portable. You no longer need to disrupt your life in order to start drinking less. Get in contact with us today, or learn more about how our program works. Soon, you can be on the road to a more youthful self—inside and out.