Whether you’re in your twenties or forties, or beyond, you may have taken an interest in anti-aging, as you should. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the old saying goes. You know all the common culprits – sun, tobacco, pollution, drug abuse – but what about alcohol? Is it true that alcohol can speed up the aging process?
In a word, “yes,” alcohol can definitely speed up the aging process, but much of it has to do with how much and how often you drink. You don’t have to give up alcohol altogether, but you do want to drink in moderation and heed the following advice.
How Alcohol Can Speed Up Aging
There’s no shortage of information on the internet about alcohol and aging, but a lot of it is in complicated, scientific language that’s hard for the average person to understand. In simple terms, alcohol can speed up the aging process because it can cause wrinkles. Too much alcohol can lead to premature wrinkles, collagen loss, redness, loss of elasticity, puffiness, and dehydration – um, thanks but no thanks.
For starters, let’s discuss how alcohol affects Vitamin A and why that’s an issue. Vitamin A is an important antioxidant. It’s a vital nutrient for the skin and body and it’s essential for the regeneration of new cells. Vitamin A is also very important for collagen production.
When your body produces less collagen, your skin loses elasticity. Since collagen and elasticity are critical to having supple, youthful-looking skin, excessive amounts of alcohol would counteract this effect.
When you drink too much alcohol, you inadvertently speed up the aging process because you’re already producing less collagen and losing elasticity as you age. The alcohol does not help. Living in Southern California, we’re already exposed to so much sun and pollution, so when you drink in excess, it’s like you’re pushing the fast-forward button only it’s not your favorite show on Netflix or HBO, it’s the clock.
Drinking in Moderation is Key
So, how much alcohol is too much? Drinking in “moderation” is as much as one drink a day for women and two drinks for men. One drink is a 5 ounce glass of wine, 12 ounces of regular beer, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. If you drink two or more drinks per a day, like many women do, you could be accelerating the aging process.
You probably know that alcohol dehydrates the body, and dehydration is not good for the skin. The more alcohol you drink, the more dehydrated you become. A good way to combat the hydration is to drink a full glass of water before your first drink and to alternate a tall glass or a 16.9 ounce bottle of water in between alcoholic drinks. The water will help keep your skin hydrated and it can help you avoid the nasty hangover the next day.
Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to all kinds of health problems, but the good news is that studies have found that moderate drinking can have health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, the risk of diabetes, and the risk of a heart attack. So, drink up, but do it in moderation – your skin will thank you!