Starting to see some early signs of aging? Your favorite glass of wine may be to blame. While the antioxidants in wine (red wine, specifically) have been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, excessive consumption can have the opposite effect — and wreak havoc on our skin in the process.
“Drinking alcohol prevents the production of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that the body uses to absorb water,” explains RealSelf dermatologic surgeon Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “This causes the kidneys to work twice as hard to remove excess water from your system, leaving all of your organs, including your skin, dehydrated.”
The result? Fine lines and wrinkles, which are easily formed on dehydrated skin. Add to that a red, blotchy, or gray appearance, thanks to alcohol’s ability to deprive us of the nutrients we need to keep skin looking vibrant. “It’s harder for your body to naturally rejuvenate dull skin because alcohol depletes your body’s natural sources of vitamin A,” Dr. Schlessinger adds. “This antioxidant helps promote cell turnover and keeps skin looking youthful.”
Related: Wrinkle Treatment Overview
Of course, wine’s not the only thing contributing to premature signs of aging. By now, we all know that cigarettes are a major no-no when it comes to anti-aging. But what about smoking other types of things?
As it turns out, there might be some good news for cannabis consumers: Two cannabinoids found in weed, THC and BCP, are shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit the skin. However, those who are getting their fix through the traditional method of smoking are still at risk for premature aging.
“Any form of smoking leads to deep wrinkles, bags under the eyes, and dull, dehydrated skin,” says Schlessinger. “This habit starves your skin of oxygen and constricts blood flow, which affects circulation and breaks down collagen and elastin. Because smoke is a form of pollution, you’re also coming in contact with harmful free radicals.”
So, how can you get your high (and your antioxidants) without the risk of wrinkles? Vaping may be a viable solution.
Unlike the most common methods for consuming marijuana, vaping doesn’t create any smoke at all. Vaporizers work by heating up the desired substance and creating a vapor from the essential oils. Once inhaled, the user gets the benefits of the cannabinoids without the harmful free radicals associated with smoke.
But there is a caveat: Because vaping is a relatively new technology, there isn’t enough research to definitely speak to its safety. “Plus,” adds Dr. Schlessinger, “because you’re still puckering your lips, you’ll still develop deep lines and wrinkles around the mouth.”
If you’re looking to get more antioxidants to your skin, Schlessinger recommends relying on “ingredients that can offer these same benefits with clinically proven results.” He suggests a product with 1% active retinol, a serum that contains vitamins C and E, and of course, a high-quality sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UBA rays.
Got questions about protecting your skin? Ask a doctor.