Alcohol ~ The Slayer of Youthful Skin

It may be glaringly obvious as a theory based piece of advice and something that pretty much everyone knows that they should listen to more often, but it’s amazing how innocent this particular demon of the youthful skin slayer is perceived, especially when it is the cause of so much boosted ageing and the poison of everlasting youthful skin…

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Yes, you guessed (probably from the title), its alcohol.

We all have stressful lives, and we all have our own ways of coping with that stress. And of course, most of us like to spend time with our friends in a social environment where it is simply the norm to break open a bottle of wine or get the rounds in at the local pub or swanky bar, whatever takes your particular fancy.

The Friday or Saturday night wind down to forget about our work weeks is so typically English and European, that we simply follow tradition and the status quo, where self discipline goes out of the window and we really do regret it the next day.

Even if you don’t follow that trend, look at your typical alcohol based habits and you will be able to pinpoint the reasoning behind it to some level of stress and/or simple desire to intoxicate your body and mind, even if on a moderate level or to become typically more alive and confident temporarily.

And your skin suffers with every drop.

Alcohol is completely devoid of any health benefits and yet we succumb to its temptations and the social norms of those temptations all too easily, and all too regularly (as a well justified stereotype, even if you, the reader does not fall into this category).

“So where’s the science”, you plead of me… “Prove it!”

Here’s a few points to sober you to the truth…

Alcohol is a hepatoxin, meaning that it specifically damages the liver. It’s a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body. Alcohol is also massively dehydrating and deprives the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Drinking red wine, although mythologically known to be good for for the “anti-oxidants” actually both helps cause rosacea and worsen the symptoms for those people who suffer from this skin complaint.

Even Vogue are on board with my tip and state that “alcohol affects any muscous membrane from the pancreas and liver to the skin.”

And New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez backs up the rosacea theory that “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. At first you think, oh you’re a little red, not a big deal, but over a period of time—six months, a year, two years—if you continue drinking, it can become a prominent facial redness you can’t get away from.”

Another NYC dermatologist Whitney Bowe states that alcohol “hinders the production of the hormone vasopressin. That hormone helps you reabsorb water. So alcohol is kind of a double whammy, in that it’s forcing out water and making it harder for your body to rehydrate itself.” And we all know what dehydrated skin looks like — tired and sallow, with more pronounced fine lines, wrinkles, and pores.

Aside from dehydrating your face, alcohol decreases the body’s level of vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. “It’s important for cell renewal and cell turnover, and it gives you a healthy glow,” says Dr. Bowe. She says a lack of vitamin A can make it harder for your skin to fight off free radicals, which can do damage to the lipid layer (a.k.a., the moisture centre) of your skin.

A good reason to stop alcohol altogether (if you are still young enough at least) is that even though your skin can bounce back from pretty much anything, once you destroy your collagen in the skin, it’s pretty much too late and it’s hard to recreate the glow that you may have once sported. However if you catch this bad habit and stop it while still have your collagen intact, my advice would be to cut down immediately, and even consider quitting altogether.

Who likes hangovers anyway? Especially when the drinks you “enjoy” are filled with sugar, for example with cocktails or as a mixer to the spirits or salt as in the case of beer.

It’s just plain bad all round, and I personally remember that when I had a heavy night of drinking, it would take me two full days to recover. That’s 48 precious hours in my week which I lost while feeling hazy and cloudy minded, not able to focus or do anything with zest and energy.

Alcohol doesn’t just speed up the ageing process of your skin, but it clouds your judgement, rationality and sense of well being.

Alcohol is also one of the worst things you can actually apply to your skin, so if it’s in the top 6 list of ingredients on your skincare labels, stop using them and better yet, throw them away. Alcohol will strip your skin of essential nutrients and damage the cells from within, even if they provide an immediate matte effect immediately after use.

Your skin drinks in everything, whether applied topically or through the liver, so give it a break and say goodbye to alcohol if you want it to stay youthful for longer!

The Power of the Nap

Youthful skin is mostly about your habits and lifestyle so find out one powerful habit that will reduce wrinkles and de-age your skin for free!

For a long time I’ve been a firm believer in power napping, ever since I read the book “Powerful Sleep” by Kacper M Postawski, more than 10 years ago. Within he states that having one nap per day actually contributes to better sleep during the night.

And having just awoken from a power nap myself (actually the first one I’ve had in a very long time), I was suddenly inspired to write about the benefits of the power nap.

There are however some rules to the power nap that are easy to break, but first, what has napping got to do with being able to have youthful, glowing skin?

Sleep is like food.

If you have the best quality that is nutritious for your body, your body and skin will thank you for it instead of making you look like your aging too fast.

The same can be said about sleep.

There is good quality sleep and bad quality sleep, but overall a power nap is defined as a 10 to 45 minute nap during the day ideally taken between 3pm and 6pm, where both slow wave sleep and REM sleep (rapid eye movement) are experienced.

This not only improves your overall quality of sleep at night, especially if you have lacked in both quality and quantity of sleep the night before, but improves your skin and slows down the ageing process. And this can be said for sleep in general.

So number one, if power naps help you get a better quality of sleep at night, as evidenced by Postawski, then it will already be contributing to better skin.

And if you need them, and can fit maybe one in per week (perhaps one on the weekend), then other resources have found the following to be true –

The National Sleep Association state that “Our cells grow and repair while we sleep and our immune system is strengthened by sleep which helps slow the aging process.”

So better immunity equals youthful skin, contributed massively by not just sleep, but quality sleep, which naps are if taken in the right way. And far more healthy than taking a sleeping pill or relying on anything external to help you sleep!

The NSA also state “naps are a must-try modern-day solution to our perpetual sleep shortage and offer a great energy-rejuvenation break.”

Also while sleeping (in general including with naps), new skin cells grow while replacing older ones.

And lastly, “when you sleep, you release growth hormone, the antidote to cortisol which which boosts your immune system, primes your sexual function, reduces stress and anxiety, and aids in muscle repair and weight loss. Napping gives your brain a chance to rest and your body a chance to heal.” This is from Unleash the Power of the Nap by Brett and Kate McKay via The Art of Manliness.

So before plunging into an investment of expensive youth skin promise products or worse, heavy, chemical based make up to cover those lines and wrinkles, consider your sleeping patterns first, because it is easier to prevent wrinkles than it is to cover them up!

And remember, the foundations of good sleep are simple – exercise regularly, eat well, stop drinking caffeine (or reduce this to only one cup of coffee in the morning) and you will also find your sleep naturally improve, with or without the power nap.