Before you go and enjoy the Christmas and New Year think before you drink!

Water-with-lemonWith the party season upon us, hair and beauty salons will be working overtime to preen, pluck, primp and polish us all into our best vision of beauty.

The irony is that many of us will then go out on the town and do the absolute worst thing for looks – by overindulging in alcohol.

So – at the risk of sounding like a party pooper, if you knew that it took your skin a whole 30 days to recover from just one night’s drinking, might you think twice about quaffing ‘just one more”?

So-called ‘alcohol skin’ is easy to spot:  your complexion goes from pink to muddy, spots can spring up at a moment’s notice, pores open up like craters and your eyes start to take on a hollowed and dark-shadowed look that’s nothing to do with make-up.

According to a top nutritionist, alcohol is one of the worst and most aggressive compounds in destroying your skin. His take on it is simple and blunt:  “If you want to look older then go ahead and drink!”

We tend to forget that alcohol is basically sugar – but with 50 per cent more calories.  Sugar causes cells and tissues to age through higher levels of insulin and changes the DNA.

The bottom line is that among other things, it slows down your production of collagen,  the stuff that keeps skin springy and firm.

Alcohol is also a diuretic, dehydrating you, making you absorb nutrients less efficiently and  crave salt (hence why you always want some crisps or peanuts to accompany that tipple).

Even more scary for women is that it messes with your hormones and creates higher levels of testosterone – not exactly what you want if you’re already spending a fortune on hair removal!

In pursuit of perfect skin, we seem prepared to shell out on an array of serums and creams and book expensive facials whilst all the time a simple fix has been staring us in the face – giving up the booze.

OK, so that’s a big ask, particularly at this time of year.  People are going to drink anyway – so what is the best alcohol to drink? Different ones have different effects on the skin, but as a general rule, the clearer, the better: vodka, gin, and tequila get out of your system quicker.

There’s also some truth to the old theory that a glass of red wine a day will keep you looking and feeling young. Certain antioxidants in red wine help protect against oxidative reactions, which come from sun exposure, and cause wrinkles.  But that is ONE glass a day!

An even better option is fresh juice – not the processed, sugary kind but real, freshly blended ones.  Those green juices may look unappetizing but they have powerful detoxing elements and are great for your skin.

Best of the lot though is good old water: you’ve heard it a million times before, but only because it’s true. If you want to have good skin, you’ve got to drink water.

Considering that all those baddies in the drinks cabinet will dehydrate you, it makes sense that you need to consume something that does the opposite (hydrates you) to undo the damage. When skin dries out, the pores contract and are unable to release the naturally secreted oils that keep you looking fresh. Water flushes out your body and rids your skin of all those nasty toxins you’re always hearing about. Just pop in a slice of lemon for the best detoxifying results.


Repair Kit

Repairing foods – Olive, walnut, pumpkin- and hemp-seed oils are rich in omega-3, -6 and -9 to help repair skin-cell damage. Avoid red meat – fish and eggs are the best animal proteins for reducing drink damage, being rich in choline that supports the liver.

Also wholegrain toast and honey as a morning-after restorative. For a drink try  ‘an antioxidant-rich green juice containing leafy spinach, stomach-settling ginger and vitamin A-rich carrots.’ And, no, you’re not allowed a vodka shot in that.