Work does it, your trivia team does it, even your family visiting town does it. Everyone drags you out and asks you to have some cheeky drinks.
Just about anyone who has a life gets tempted with booze. I have plenty of experience drinking, being the teetotaller and still taking care of my complexion. Here’s my quick guide to good skin in today’s drinking culture.
If you like drinking AND clear skin, there are a few things you need to know.
Having a few
When you go out and socialise, you want to do it in a way that flushes out the alcohol, not the nutrients in your skin.
All kinds of friends and sources say that liquor is best because it’s cleaner. There’s truth to this, there is very little that’s good for you in beer and cider. The best liquor is vodka, which has less ingredients than darker spirits like rum or whiskey.
The best drink of all is red wine. It contains an antioxidant called resveratrol.
As always, remember to stay hydrated.
Having a lot
You know, there’s something nice about waking up on a share house floor with texta on your face and a hellish headache. It means you’re among friends and you probably have nowhere to be.
At the same time, you need to know what’s happening in your body.
Alcohol is a diuretic, it drains away your water. Water is a great way to clear your skin and treat the things that cause acne, like anxiety and fatigue. Remember, water is life. You’re 70% made of the stuff.
The drink has also suppressed your vasopressin, a hormone that helps you keep water in your body. In the meantime, vitamins are draining out of you en masse.
The alcohol has thinned your blood. Your blood vessels have opened up, which makes your skin puffy. A few vessels have burst. If this happens enough, you’ll have permanent spider veins.
So how do we fix this? It’s simple. You replace what you’ve lost.
Eat what you’re losing, or take some pills. Here’s what we use in our SkinB5 Acne Control Extra Strength Tablets:
B vitamins stop the things that cause acne and help your cells regenerate. Vitamin H supports skin, hair and nails, and helps absorb those Bs. Zinc helps you with hormones and blemishes, copper encourages the skin to revive and silicon helps it heal.
You can find many of these things in a balanced meal. Seafood and meat are high in B vitamins and copper. Spinach and kidney beans are great for zinc. Soy is good for copper and the Bs too. You’ll find silicon in grains like wheat or brown rice.
Fight that diuretic effect by having a glass of water between each drink.
Get some Vitamin A too. It’s an antioxidant that helps your skin glow. Antioxidants are good for fighting the free radicals that appear in your body after drinking.
And on the upside, when the hangover ends your skin goes back to normal. Your pores shrink and you might lose weight.
Know thyself, please teetotaller!
Now SkinB5 Fans, I started writing for you not long ago. We’ve only known each other a couple months but I need to tell you something that offends some people in my native Australia.
I’ve stopped drinking.
I have an endomorphic body type, meaning I retain a lot of what I put in my body. I gain fat and muscle fast. It’s a superpower and a curse. When I drink, this power gets multiplied and I can earn myself a kilo of fat in a night. I still have weight to lose. For now, I just can’t drink.
Many of you are like me. You’re here because you want to improve yourself and going off alcohol is a brave, strong way to do that. You might be scared that people will judge you or get uncomfortable because you’re staying sober. When you can’t drink with someone, your bond with them changes. Stay strong. A paragraph ago I said I’d stopped drinking and you kept reading. Likewise, your friends will still go out with you.
You might be tempted to replace your messy night with the body high of caffeine. First, make extra sure you know how soon you can get to sleep after a coffee. Caffeine has the same draining effect on your skin as alcohol, but we manage that chemical spike because it’s a small amount and we remember to drink water. Sleep deprivation will make your skin greasy, because you’ve missed out on your nightly rejuvenation. Caffeine and sleep deprivation both fill your blood with cortisol, the stress hormone. This will pile on more grease. Add more grease to the tally if you take sugar.
The trick is to drink your water, get your nutrients and make sure you have time to sleep. You’re the sober one, you can leave the party whenever you like.
So what about smoking? The short answer is don’t. Come on, you quit the booze. You were at your most tempted to smoke when you were holding a glass of beer. One more step, buddy. I got you.
That should cover all your bases. Now go have some fun and keep healthy.
Peter Matthews is a runner, weightlifter, lifestyle journo and radical tea drinker who has lost more than 100 kilos in his lifetime. His favourite vitamin is B6, the one that may give you vivid dreams.