Have you ever stopped to notice how much alcohol is part of our daily culture? The week that I'm writing this blog post it's both National Wine Day and National Margarita Day! I'm sure there's probably days for other forms of alcohol as well. It wasn't until I became a mom that I really honed in on just how much alcohol is considered a way of life for us moms (ever heard of "mommy juice?"). And then once I came back from maternity leave I had other moms asking me what my nightly drink of choice was...because mom life is HARD work so we must need something to take the edge off, right? Well....me being the rebel I am, I challenge that way of thinking. I actually haven't really gone back to drinking since I had my son, and although some days are hard, I know that my hair, skin, and maybe even mental stability, are all the better for it.
We all know that alcohol effects our mood, but that got me thinking about what alcohol really does to our hair and skin. Ever wondered? In putting this post together I came across some really eye opening info on this subject (there's a lot!) Read on to find out what I learned...
The occasional glass of wine or beer most likely isn't going to hurt you or your hair, but excessive drinking can definitely damage your locks. Over drinking can cause deficiency or malabsorption of key nutrients that keep your hair healthy (like iron, protein, and folic acid). By not getting these vital nutrients, hair can become dry, brittle, and even fall out (more than the typical 50-100 hairs per day). Alcohol has also been to blame for chronic thyroid imbalance in some people. Hormone related disorders, like hyper- or hypo- thyroidism are among the top instances of hair loss*, and if excessive alcohol increases that risk I say, "No thank you!"
Okay, so what about skin? "In reality, alcohol creates inflammation throughout your body and skin, and its effects far surpass dehydration alone. Dullness, enlarged pores, discoloration, sagging, fine lines and lack of resilience are just some of the symptoms that can result within the skin."** Major YIKES!!!
Even worse is that alcohol can negatively impact our sleep as well. When we drink, we may initially become sleepy, but a few hours in we get that burst of energy and therefore waking us from restful sleep. You know there's a reason it's called "beauty sleep" and I like mine very much, thank you!
The good news is that these negative effects are all reversible when you stop drinking. Your hair, skin, and sleep will improve greatly and what surprised me in my research is that your risk of cancer is reduced! Are you as surprised at this as I was? When you drink alcohol it can have dangerous effects on the antibodies in your system that help keep us from getting sick (including cancer), so by not drinking our antibodies increase and help keep us healthy overall^. Cool.
Now, I'm not going to be the one to say that you have to be completely sober. I definitely enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two from time to time, but I definitely don't plan on revisiting the over drinking days of my youth any time soon. And for now, I'll pass on the "mommy-juice," too.