Sometimes, when I was drinking, I felt my skin looked good. The next morning, my complexion would boast a fetching plumpness and my lips would be pertly swollen. And, given how these things so often pan out, I might have had that post-coital glow. I came to regard this as a pickled prettiness.
“Wow,” I’d think. “Things could be a lot worse.” Give it a couple of hours and they invariably were. The plumpness would give way to a bloated greyness, my pout deflated into bleeding cracks, a parched yet acne-threatening stubble rash emerged, and jet rings set in around my hollowed eyes. And it happens for a reason, says Dr Jairo Rodriguez, New York-based nutritionist to the fashion pack. “Alcohol is one of the worst, most aggressive compounds in destroying your skin. I always joke with patients, if you want to look older, go ahead and drink.” Only, the older a boozer gets, the less funny this is.
London-based dermatologist Dr Michael Prager says alcohol is basically sugar, with more kilojoules. “Sugar causes glycosylation (the attachment of sugars to proteins), ageing cells and tissues through higher levels of insulin, causing changes in the DNA and tissue oxidisation,” he explains. “This impacts cells in a multitude of ways: it can cause free-radical damage, and reduce cell proliferation and collagen production, slowing everything down.” And if you think it can’t get worse, “Alcoho