Remember when you were a child and your grandmother (who I'm sure you adored) always looked old? She might have been in her fifties but she was definitely "old" looking. It's not that she aged, she simply looked the same age forever. Like all the other grandmothers back then. It's such a different time now - oh yeah! 50 is the new 40 - lol. Forget about aging gracefully, we are aiming to age slowly, very slowly. I think it's fair to say we all want to feel and look our best at any age. We'd all like to sample the Fountain of Youth.
That said, I'm exploring the topic and compiling a little series on how to slow down the aging process if that's really possible. I'm gonna try to dig a little deeper to explain not just the ways, but the why's, with the goal of motivating us (me) to make better choices; what to do and what not to do, to preserve and hopefully improve, our bodies and minds. I'm gonna chat about the usual topics: nutrition, exercise, supplements, strategies, activities products, procedures and more over the next few weeks.
I've been conducting my research like any savvy scientist. Google! :) One of the first things which popped up was some rather startling information about alcohol. Yes, yes I know, and we all know, that too much and too frequent drinking is "bad" for you, but most of us still do it anyway. It makes us feel a little more relaxed and less socially awkward. We convince ourselves that we don't really drink that much, everything in moderation and so forth. We joke around about preserving our livers etc. Somehow we believe that one or two per day is actually good for us. Anyway, I'm not saying that I plan on completely stopping anytime soon but I think these facts are worth considering, especially in light of how much we (I) spend on skin care and anti-aging regimes:
Here are several ways alcohol ages your skin and overall appearance:
Potential Extra Weight aka Love Handles!
This one is a no-brainer. Alcohol is high in calories and provides no nutritional value. Just empty calories. And the extra sugars and salt in "mixers" also wreak havoc on your skin. Sadly, wine and beer (my alcohols of choice) are particularly high in sugar, so if you can handle clear liquors ie. gin, vodka and tequila on their own (which I can't stomach) those are better choices. In any case, the sugars in alcohol tend to be converted to fat in the liver, giving us the not-so-sexy "muffin top" and "beer belly". Yay! PLUS as we age, fat often manifests as jowls, so between the extra fat around the middle and jowls, we can look ten years older. All that sweat for what?
You may think that you sleep better under the influence but you don't. The chance of waking up during the night and not getting good, deep sleep is much higher after a night of drinking. In addition to all of the consequences which I covered in my VLOG on sleep, you may wake up the next day with puffy eyes, dark circles and under-eye bags, all of which make you look older than you are. A hangover also interferes with your ability to function and eliminates your desire to workout. Hmmm.
Skin in General
This one is BIG because skin health and quality is really the first indicator of age. Alcohol directly affects the skin in several ways that I never knew or clearly understood.
Redness, puffiness and swelling - alcohol works as a vasodilator. It widens the blood vessels in your face. "If you consume a lot of alcohol over time, the blood vessels will steadily enlarge, leading to permanent redness and blotchiness like rosacea. The blotchiness can be compounded by broken capillaries or vessels that burst under the skin’s surface, typically around the nose and eyes. Not pretty. The excess sugars in beer and wine are most likely to cause these effects." Damn. Not good. But does explain alot.
Alcohol interferes with Vitamin absorption, particularly Vit A absorption which is a crucial antioxidant (age fighter). Vit A aids in cell turnover, the formation of new skin cells which keeps us youthful. Vit A is also essential for the production of collagen!!! That means more wrinkles!!! "Reduced levels of collagen lead to a loss of elasticity and fullness in your skin, which are essential to keep it looking young and supple. Less collagen equals less tautness and tone. If you drink too much or too frequently, you speed up the aging process by accelerating collagen loss. Skin is already delicate and vulnerable to the elements — wind, smog, smoke and the sun. When you drink, you are hastening the aged, weathered look of your skin." Shit. So much for all of those expensive collagen boosters.
Alcohol is a diuretic. So in addition to having to go to the bathroom more often (more sleep disruption), your skin will be less plump and full. A gaunt, drawn, dehydrated, collagen-depleted face can make you look many years older than your age. It's called apple face in these parts. :( And although unrelated to skin, it's also worthwhile to note that due to fluid depletion, you may think less clearly, not only because alcohol is a toxin, but because your brain needs to be properly hydrated to function optimally. You may react and respond slower (uumm, more like an elderly person).
Those are just a few deterrents. Who knew? One more thing, the only permanent alternative to not aging, is well, NOT aging. Remember that while you're having a "good time", alcohol increases the risk of many serious diseases including cancer, heart disease, liver disease and Alzheimers which obviously may cut your quality of life, if not your actual life, short.