Twenty-six episodes of ‘The A-Files’ air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode S looks at skin damage created or worsened by alcohol use. Compared with people who never drink, people who drink are 20 percent more likely to get skin cancer. As alcohol intake goes up, so did the danger—light drinking was associated with a 10 percent increase in melanoma risk…and heavy drinking was associated with a 55 percent increase in risk (see the full study).
Assume that people who are imbibing at the beach or ballgame don’t want to interrupt their fun, so they don’t bother to refresh their sunscreen…or else they’re so bombed that they’re clueless about how sunburned they’re getting. Both assumptions may be accurate. What research at the University of Berlin found in 2012 is that alcohol consumption significantly reduces the level of protective antioxidants in the skin, leading to faster burning in the sun.
Alcohol use also helps age the skin prematurely. Blame the dehydrating role alcohol plays in all organs – the skin being the largest organ. Delicate facial skin that’s dry from the inside out wrinkles more quickly than normally moist skin does. Skin also can take on a grayish tone since alcohol also robs the body of vitamin A. Vitamin A is also extremely important in the production of collagen. When you have lower amounts of collagen, you lose elasticity in your skin. Collagen and elasticity are what keep your skin looking young.
Drinking alcohol also is one of the main culprits of rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness. More than half of 1,066 patients surveyed by the National Rosacea Society cited alcohol consumption as the primary trigger for a surge in their condition. And, it’s not just people with the disorder who run the risk of unwanted, permanent redness. Alcohol increases blood flow and dilates the tiny capillaries closest to the outer layer of your skin, it sometimes does it in such volume that they burst, causing unsightly, permanently broken capillaries on the face. The bottom line is that drinking will cause both accelerated aging – in which symptoms of aging appear earlier – and exaggerated aging, in which the symptoms appear at the appropriate time but in a more dramatic form. The more you drink in excess, the more you’re speeding up the clock.
The entire 26 episode HD series is available on disc, along with fact sheets, for helping professions. See the preorder special at tr.im/TheAFiles