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What does Alcohol Actually Do To The Skin?

What does Alcohol Actually Do To The Skin?


2 minute read

Let’s take one step back and call alcohol, ethanol ‘cause that’s what we’re drinking! The type of alcohol that won’t make you go blind:)

Phase 1: Potent Potables

After ethanol is swallowed, it is absorbed primarily from the small intestine into the veins that collect blood from the stomach (replaces normal food processing) and bowels and from the portal vein, which leads to the liver. From there it is carried to the liver, where it is exposed to enzymes and metabolized into acetaldehyde (carcinogen). 

Enzymes: ADH [alcohol dehydrogenase] + ALDH2 [aldehyde dehydrogenase]

Phase 2: Vascular Domination 

Acetaldehyde diffuses across membranes and distributes through all cells and tissues like the skin, and at these concentrations, it can affect cell function by interacting with certain proteins and cell membranes via blood vessels.

Phase 3: Reactive Oxygenated Species [ROS]

Might sound pretty cool but ROS is something no one wants in their skin. As acetaldehyde produces ROS it suppresses the immune system, impairs nutrition, enhances UV sensitivity, and begins to damage the DNA of the skin. And while ethanol replaces normal food processing in the stomach, the skin is unable to intake Vitamin A, B1, B2 which results in the cracking of the skin. 

Here the skin becomes depleted of H2O and follicles become rougher (chance of larger pores and flaky skin). And so the more one is drinking, the more this becomes more noticeable. But this happens no matter how much ethanol is consumed.

The alcohol-to-skin pathway as we like to call it is insanely complex (like 100x more than what you read above) and impacts the facial skin even more so than the rest of the body (depending on genetics as well). Make sure to stay up to date with strengthening all areas of the face to limit vasodilation and the replacement of nutrients to the skin. Find out how GOA has packed its products with strengthening ingredients to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy.

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