Side Effects of Alcohol on Your Appearance

You wouldn't scoff down chocolate bar after chocolate bar would you? At least not without feeling distinctly guilty about it, so why do many women think it's acceptable to drink far more than the recommended 2-3 units (3-4 for men) of alcohol per day?

What do chocolate and alcohol have in common? In a word - calories.

The number of calories in alcohol is incredibly high with a bottle of wine exceeding 500, a medium glass (175ml) coming in at 125 and even the dieters favourite, the G&T, is a whopping 120kcals. And if you think cocktails are good for you with all that fruit, think again.

While this doesn't sound too bad in terms of your recommended daily calorie intake, when you consider you're consuming these empty calories in addition to food, which may be a carb filled dinner to line your stomach or a meal out, it suddenly starts to add up.

It is also believed that the toxins contained in alcohol can contribute to the appearance of cellulite, so if you're drinking too much you can look forward to a flabby tum and orange peel bum.

And unfortunately it's not just the calories in alcohol you need to worry about.

In the short term...

When it comes to your appearance and the short term side effects of alcohol there is a whole list of things to consider including bloating, bloodshot eyes, spots, smelly breath, red skin while drinking and dull looking, grey skin the next day due to dehydration.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists explains:

"Alcohol dehydrates your body generally, including the skin, which is your body's largest organ. This happens every time you drink. Alcohol is also thought to deprive the skin of certain vital vitamins and nutrients".

Sadly yet another thing alcohol affects is your sleep, so even if you go to bed early you can expect to wake up feeling exhausted with tired, puffy eyes. And when you do you'll probably smell, as although your liver metabolises most of the alcohol you drink, five to 10 percent is excreted through your breath, sweat and urine.

In the long term...

The long term effects of regularly exceeding the daily guidelines are also something to think about. If you've ever seen someone who drinks too much you might have noticed they're a bit red in the face. This is down to Rosacea, a skin condition linked to alcohol, which can begin with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to permanent facial disfigurement.

"One of the effects of alcohol is to dilate the small blood vessels in the skin, which can make the skin appear redder," says Goad. "The central areas of the face can become studded with small red bumps and pus spots, which come and go in crops. Small dilated blood vessels also appear, looking like thin red streaks."

All in all it doesn't paint a very pretty picture, so if you want to keep your good looks and minimise the side effects of alcohol why not cut down on the amount you drink for 2010? With all the money and calories you'll save you can even treat yourself to a nice meal to celebrate.

Visit Drinkaware for all the facts about alcohol or use Drinkaware's free unit calculator to uncover the hidden calories in alcohol.

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