Alcohol & Smoking
Drinking (alcohol) is very much part of British culture but unfortunately, it is still a poison.
Many of my patients – especially the wine drinkers who like to go home after work and enjoy a glass or three, perhaps with their partner – are very surprised to hear how dangerously high their weekly alcohol intake is.
This section is not a platform to discuss the detrimental effects of alcohol on all our organs. However, we should mention its impact on the skin. Alcohol dehydrates your body in general and the skin does not escape this consequence. This happens every time you drink and thus over time, the skin in a drinker, will appear duller with more lines and wrinkles. Drinking too much is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients as well. Drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is often linked to alcohol. Some drinkers are also more likely to experience spot outbreaks, well beyond their teens. There are many other skin changes associated with alcohol excess but these belong in the medical textbooks.
Thankfully, smoking is fast losing its fashion status in modern society. We all know that it is, by far, the single most detrimental lifestyle choice amongst the wider population. Over 200 toxic chemicals are produced by cigarette smoking, many of which are proven carcinogens (ie can cause cancer). Smoking impacts on every organ in the body and the skin does not shy away from showing signs of damage as a result of this. By the age of 50, most smokers will look approximately 10-15 years older than non-smokers of the same age. Studies of identical twins, where one is a smoker and the other a non-smoker, present a clear visual indication of the damage smoking causes in the skin. I would estimate that smokers – on average – need double the amount of in-clinic treatments to non-smokers of a similar age (assuming all other relevant co-factors are the same). If you are a smoker and mentally ready to quit, search for your local NHS smoking cessation service. You are 4 times more likely to give up smoking with ongoing support.