Dry January, Go Sober for October, whatever you want to call it, having a break from drinking, experts say, is extremely beneficial. Not only will your body reap the health rewards from an abstinence of alcohol, but your looks will too.
Giving up the dreaded drink has immediate health benefits, including:
- Better sleep quality
- Improved skin complexion
- Lowers depression rates
Why should we give up alcohol?
Stephen Price, the personal trainer who works at London’s health and fitness company, SP&Co, says:
“Giving up alcohol will have an immediate and dramatic impact on one’s body, rapidly decreasing blood glucose levels and liver fat. This alone is likely to have a faster aesthetic effect than merely taking up exercise – although, a combination of both would obviously be ideal.”
Price states that more and more people are now regularly taking time off from drinking in an effort to look better:
“In my work, I see a lot of people taking micro-breaks from drink to help improve work/life quality and body image, especially in January and pre-summer. The immediate physical benefits are undeniable. However, micro-breaks are also an attainable way to change long-lasting behaviour towards alcohol.”
And he’s not the only one to recommend giving up the booze in order to look great. Celebrity personal trainer Lonan O’Herlihy says that it is one of the first things female stars do to look ready for the TV screen:
“Going alcohol-free for a while has the fastest effect on making women look good.”
Why is alcohol so bad for our skin?
Dr Michael Prager, the UK’s expert on Botox, tells us why booze is such a disaster when it comes to trying to attain younger-looking skin:
“Alcohol is basically sugar, only with 50 per cent more calories. We see a speeded-up version of the ageing effect of drinking in diabetes. Sugar causes glycosylation, ageing cells and tissues through higher levels of insulin, changes in the DNA and tissue oxidisation. This affects cells in a multitude of negative ways. It causes free radical damage, reducing cell proliferation and collagen production, slowing everything.”
Dr Prager says why alcohol is so bad for skin, especially for those who want a youthful and dewy look:
“Alcohol is also a diuretic. It dehydrates you, your skin included. You absorb nutrients less successfully and crave salt. In women it changes hormone levels, creating higher testosterone levels, leading to things such as spots and the taking on of a masculine appearance. These include a diminished waist, barrel-like middle, bloated moon face, skinny legs and hair loss.”
No amount of Botox or moisturisers can replace the water lost from excessive drinking. Dr Prager says that the only way to halt the effects is to stop drinking alcohol altogether:
“The best option for anti-ageing is to stop drinking altogether, but micro-breaks come a close second. Giving your skin time out allows it to recover by reversing damage, mainly in the production of skin collagen and hydration levels.”
What happens when you have a break from drinking alcohol?
Even the rich and famous have taken a break from drinking. These include DJ Chris Evans, former Spice Girls Mel C and Emma Bunton, actress Anne Hathaway. Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage. But what exactly happens to your body when you give up?
Alcohol affects how you sleep. You may think that having a couple of drinks before you go to bed will help you nod off faster. When you drink however, you tend to bypass the most important stage of sleep – rapid eye movement or REM. Once you’ve stopped drinking your sleep patterns return to normal. You then have a proper night’s rest.
Alcohol is actually a poison and too much of it can lead to stomach ulcers and vomiting. It can also affect the nerves that control your breathing and even cause brain damage. As soon as you stop drinking the body starts to repair itself. However, if you suspect someone is suffering from alcoholic poisoning you should call an ambulance and never leave them to sleep it off.
Our skin benefits greatly from a short alcoholic break. Immediately our complexion is brightened, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced, our skin tone is more radiant.
As Dr Prager advises:
“Even the very best Botox will never give you a glow as vibrant as a couple of months off the bottle.”