Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a little bit of alcohol here and there? Sometimes it can be difficult to resist a drink, but did you know that alcohol consumption can actually affect your skin condition, too?
If you’ve never thought about the combination of alcohol and eczema (atopic dermatitis), then we suggest you read on. Discover how drinking alcohol can trigger eczema symptoms, as well as a few recommendations on how to enjoy a drink or two without making your eczema worse.
Eczema From Alcohol Intake?
Alcohol is made from a variety of different ingredients, but usually fermentation is the result of broken down yeast or sugar from fruit. Additional ingredients and preservatives like barley, hops or wheat can be added to certain beers to intensify flavors. These additional ingredients and preservatives are usually what trigger reactions, as many people can be allergic – especially to gluten, high amounts of sugar or milk.
Determining which foods trigger your eczema symptoms can offer some key solutions on what alcoholic drinks to avoid. Sometimes switching to gluten-free alcoholic beverages such as cider or certain (or alcohol-free) wines can help, but intake should be limited.
To determine what foods might be triggering your inflammatory skin condition, we suggest reading our blog post: What Foods Could Trigger Your Eczema? We also recommend learning about elimination diets. An elimination diet can help you determine allergens by removing certain foods from your diet and reintroducing them slowly to learn which foods might be causing eczema flare–ups.
Eczema and Alcohol: Do They Mix?
If you like to enjoy one or two drinks once in a while and they do not trigger your eczema symptoms, alcohol intake should still be kept to a minimum.
Alcohol actually dries out the skin and dilates blood vessels which in turn can cause atopic dermatitis to become redder, itchier, and altogether more uncomfortable. What’s more, drinking excessively can also cause serious health issues such as liver inflammation.
Alcohol is also known for dehydrating, so it’s important to limit its intake in order to keep skin well hydrated.
How to Drink Alcohol with Eczema
If you choose to drink alcohol, then make sure you’re opting for quality beverages (even organic or gluten-free) that avoid harmful toxins and preservatives. Investing in premium spirits or wines can actually be more beneficial for your skin disorders.
A few other ideas:
- Don’t overdo it
- Stay away from alcohols that contain gluten, milk or high amounts of sugar (beer, pina coladas, baileys, etc).
- Maintain healthy eating
- Increase your vitamin C intake, as drinking alcohol blocks the body’s natural absorption. Vitamin C is required for a healthy immune system.
If you are suffering from severe eczema, our suggestion is to stay off alcohol until your gut or immune system is in better shape. By eliminating alcohol, the body will have the necessary time and state to repair itself.
Time might be better spent adopting a new diet or an elimination diet to improve your immune system and heal your gut.
If you’re looking to adopt a new eczema-safe diet, we suggest checking out the following blog posts:
Lastly, if you’re on any medication for inflammatory skin diseases or any other condition, make sure to check with a doctor or with a pharmacist. Also, always remember to drink in moderation no matter what, as it is not hard to develop alcohol use disorders that are long and difficult to cure.
Ways to Ease Your Intensified Eczema Symptoms
It is crucial to know what you can instantly do when due to alcohol consumption or any other reason, you make your eczema worse. Some of the most common recommendations are:
- take a bath to ease the itchiness and discomfort
- use an emollient moisturizer, as such lotion can help lock in moisture, giving the skin the opportunity to repair faster
- apply wet wraps to the irritated and itchy areas
Apart from such home methods to react to intensified eczema symptoms that can be applied at once, you should most importantly schedule a visit to the doctor as soon as possible, especially if they are really severe.
Suffering from atopic dermatitis, you should not only remember about control visits but also consult your physician in case of any worsening of your skin problems. Don’t be ashamed to tell the medical professional that you made your condition worse by alcohol consumption – they need to know all the circumstances to treat you properly.
Other Effects of Alcohol Misuse
Drinking alcohol in excessive amounts and too frequently may not only intensify your eczema symptoms but also negatively affect your health in many other ways, no matter if you have any chronic skin condition or not. Here are some of them:
If not consumed in moderation, alcohol can harm the tissues in your digestive tract, making it more difficult for the intestines to process food and acquire nutrients from it which can lead to malnutrition.
What’s more, overusing it can result in bloating, gas, diarrhea, painful defecation, hemorrhoids, or ulcers – those are particularly dangerous, as they may cause internal bleeding that sometimes can be fatal.
Apart from eczema flare-ups and other kinds of skin inflammation, too much alcohol can also cause inflammatory damage to your liver. This organ is responsible for getting rid of toxins and other harmful substances from your body and if this process is disturbed with excessive alcohol consumption, the toxins and waste can accumulate in your body and even develop life-threatening conditions. What’s more, chronic liver inflammation can lead to scarring and cirrhosis.
Circulatory System Issues
If you drink alcohol irresponsibly, it can also increase the risk of developing a heart-related problem. Namely, you can suffer from, for example:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- irregular heartbeat
- blood pumping issues
On top of that, severe circulatory system conditions can result in a stroke or a heart attack.
Reproductive and Sexual Health Problems
Overusing alcohol can disturb hormone production, decreasing your libido and making it harder to get or keep an erection as well as achieve an orgasm. Moreover, irresponsible alcohol intake can have a bad impact on the menstrual cycle and even make you infertile.
Apart from that, it is crucial to remember that no amount of alcohol is safe for pregnancy. It increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery. Also, even if the fetus survives, the future child can suffer serious health problems, learning difficulties, emotional and developmental issues, and more.
Alcohol Use Disorders
Alcohol can have an impact not only on your physical but also mental health. If you drink too much of it, you can suffer from such alcohol use disorders as:
- alcohol-induced depressive disorder
- alcohol-induced bipolar disorder
- alcohol-induced sleep disorder
- alc0hol-induced anxiety disorder
What’s more, some people drinking alcohol too often can easily get addicted to it, when their brain gets too used to this substance’s effects. When a dependent person stops drinking, they face physical, mental, and emotional health symptoms that ease when they drink again which makes them trapped in the need of constant alcohol consumption.
The Link Between Being Addicted to Alcohol and Eczema
Interestingly, there are studies showing that people with atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin diseases tend to be more prone to alcohol use disorders. The reason is still not clear, though – both psoriasis and eczema as well as many other skin disorders make people’s life more difficult, so they may be more likely to reach for substances making them forget about their problems. Another reason considered by scientists is that it is probable that the body of a patient with inflammatory skin diseases applies a different alcohol breakdown.
The Final Note
All in all, mixing alcohol and eczema may not end up well. Inflammatory skin conditions like atopic dermatitis often react badly to alcohol misuse, so it is crucial to consume your beverages in moderation and be aware of what amount is safe for you so that you don’t suffer from unpleasant eczema flare-ups.
Apart from making your eczema worse, drinking alcohol frequently and in huge amounts can lead to other health issues. It can have a bad impact on your liver, digestive system, circulatory system, reproductive and sexual health, and more.
For your own safety, you should ask your doctor how often you can drink alcohol and in what amounts so that it will not be dangerous for your health and will not intensify eczema symptoms.