As a global health and wellness expert working in the industry for over 35 years, I’ve extensively studied the skin and everything within… My understanding of the body is that the human body is like a novel, you just have to read the chapters to understand the whole story.
The effects of alcohol on the skin and the body have definite links that may be of interest! So if you’ve just finished Dry January, or have given up alcohol altogether, here are some of the changes you may be finding in your body, skin, hair and nails…
The Effects of Alcohol Are Varied From Person to Person
We all know the effects that alcohol can have on our body – ranging from the small up to some quite impactful changes – but what’s actually going on inside our body?
Each and every one of us is unique in how the body processes toxins. Alcohol is filtered directly by the kidneys and the liver; the kidneys are linked to the hair and the skin in the form of density and integrity (hair) and texture and redness (skin). The liver is also linked with nail health, so dry brittle nails can be linked to the lack of activity of blood flow in the liver as well as eye health, energetically the liver opens to the eyes so eye strain, headaches, migraine can originate with liver stress.
Alcohol is a toxin, one that bypasses the digestive tract and goes straight to the liver to filter. I always describe that throughout our lives, we all carry a toxic bin and depending on our constitution (our genetic make-up and our diet, lifestyle and environment – stress, thought patterns also contribute to physical dis-harmony), some may have their toxin bin filled a third, some, a quarter, some half and some three quarters… A 32 year old with a healthy diet and lifestyle may have a few glasses of wine and not have any effects, as it is counteracted with good support for the Liver and Kidneys within their lifestyle. If you are not sleeping, your diet is not great, you are smoking (etc) – then your toxic bin may already be pretty high, so these few glasses will reflect in the skin, hair and nails.
Binge Drinking Is As Bad As You Think It Is For The Body
Binge drinking will bombard the body, (liver, kidneys, spleen) with high levels of toxicity in a short space of time – all of this will reflect on the skin, hair and nails as explained above. You may see redness in the skin – in the form of inflammation, tiny red bumps on the arms and thighs also on the cheeks (keratosis pilaris) , thread veins on the cheeks and nose, flushing, hair shedding and breakages with excessive drinking.
Two Weeks Is All You Need to Start Seeing the Results of Sobriety on Your Skin
The liver will detox if you are not drinking – usually within two weeks. If you are supporting your body with foods that support the liver and kidneys then you most certainly feel and see positive results, in your skin, hair and nails but also you will have more energy and clarity. The liver, as mentioned, has hundreds of functions – the main being to eliminate and filter the blood from large toxins and waste , so by giving the body a break it will aid this detoxification and also allow it to process the many hormone metabolites and support nutrient uptake. It also engages with the spleen, pancreas and the gallbladder with crucial enzymes and body fluids (including bile) for digestion so bloating, wind, cramps, stool all will be improved – reflecting in the skin.
The liver also stores blood, so if you are having issues with menstruation alcohol will be a huge contributing factor to blood stasis, blood stagnation and blood deficiency, giving yourself a break from alcohol will certainly help towards healthier menses. The kidneys’ function is to balance pH and eliminate waste and filter the blood but more importantly is a major source of Qi – the kidney’s house is known as original Qi that supplies all of the other organs with the direction and movement of body fluids.
Alcohol is a toxin, a poison to our system, so of course reducing or stopping drinking it altogether will benefit the workings and the wellbeing of your internal system. An easy analogy would be if you kept pouring alcohol at the root of a tree, everyday a couple of glasses of wine, then at the weekend 10-15 units and this continued, you would expect the health of the tree to wither, the bark brittle maybe come away from the tree, leaves not healthy or producing as they should, fruit not bearing. It is the same for the human body.
Quitting or Reducing Alcohol Has Some Great Benefits for the Skin!
Reducing alcohol or stopping altogether will certainly improve any skin conditions you might have. Redness in the skin and puffiness link to the fluid channels of the kidneys. If our biological terrain has more heat in it (alcohol is a factor which creates heat – it makes the biological terrain acidic and stresses the kidneys which are responsible for heat in the body), it will create or exacerbate these red conditions and puffiness, also giving a wonderful environment for possible pathogens.
Moulds, bacterias, viruses and parasites do exist in our bodies in a symbiotic state. This means that they work positively for us and our bodies. For example, a parasite may do us no harm physically and it might be useful by absorbing heavy metals for us. However, when the biological terrain is more acidic, as a result of increased toxicity and heat from alcohol, it creates an environment that pathogens love – warm, moist and acidic! It is like providing an exotic island to them, and they therefore change from being symbiotic (helpful to us) to pathogenic (harmful to us).
After Two Weeks of Not Drinking – Your Body Will Breathe a Huge Sigh of Relief
The kidneys pump around 200 litres of blood a day, if it is not getting hydrated it will pull on other organs for help and increase heat in the body – alcohol not only places pressure on the kidneys’ ability to filter blood – it is dehydrating. Pathogens love toxins, so the gut will be relieved, alcohol can increase the likelihood of dysbiosis and inflammatory diseases and the liver will be doing backflips of joy!
The liver has over 500 functions including metabolising hormones – so think of the effect alcohol has on the whole body and stopping drinking for even two weeks will help the whole system hugely.
After two weeks without alcohol, you will have more energy, better sleep, less mucus, less chance of thrush or smelly discharge, help with periods, PMT helped, better nutrient absorption, better stool evacuation, less bloating, better hormone balance, less redness and bloating, better skin texture and skin health, brighter eyes, stronger nails, better gum health, stronger hair, improved cognitive function, less brain fog, better mood… I could go on and on and on.
Make Sure You Support Your System When Quitting Drinking
Look at supplements to support the liver and the adrenals when quitting drinking – MRL Liver Rescue is a blend of herbs and vitamins that detox the liver, Milk Thistle is a well known Liver protector, Hydrate with an ionic mineral like Spectramin and Rehydration, For hair health MRL Coll-force has biotin, zinc and silica along with 3-Set a wonderful adrenal adaptogen to strengthen the root of the hair.
Written by Marie Reynolds
Marie is a global skin and wellness expert with over 35 years in the industry and a unique approach to the skin and body. For more information on alcohol, the body or holistic health you can read her journal or follow her on Instagram.