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What does Alcohol Do To The Skin?

What does Alcohol Do To The Skin?


2 minute read

Rodrigo here, and I can’t say I don’t love the taste of an ounce (or three) of Clase Azul reposado but what actually happens inside our skin when we digest the swig-of-the-ol’-elixir-o-life that is alcohol? Let’s watch in this quick 3 phase process.

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 ( ADH [alcohol dehydrogenase] + ALDH2 [aldehyde dehydrogenase]) and metabolized into acetaldehyde (carcinogen). 

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, and 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 noticeable. But this happens no matter how much ethanol is consumed and the effects depend on epigenetics and the environment. Are there ways to limit the effects of acetaldehyde on the skin? Learn how GOA’s new Essentials Set can crack down on issues like dryness, inflammation, and redness from alcohol consumption. 

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