The Beauty Benefits: Why Sobriety Makes You Look Great

The Beauty Benefits: Why Sobriety Makes You Look Great

You know that drinking is bad for you.
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You hear the warnings. You understand the health risks. You also know that alcohol has some other, unpleasant side effects: it drains your wallet, it makes you do things you regret, and it leaves you feeling awful the next day.

But there’s something else that booze does. It’s something you might not know about, or you might try to not think about.

Alcohol really affects your appearance.

Booze seriously undermines your attempts at health and beauty, leaving its mark on your face and body.

The good news is that sobriety has the opposite effect. It will make you look GREAT! It’s better than any expensive face cream or beauty treatment, and it works its magic pretty quickly.
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If you need some motivation to stay on the wagon this week, let’s talk about the vanity argument for quitting drinking…
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The weight loss

A large glass of wine contains approximately 200 calories. That’s the same as eating a doughnut. A bottle of wine is the equivalent of three doughnuts. THREE!

When I was drinking, I could quite easily knock back an entire bottle of wine, plus a beer or two afterwards – that’s almost 1,000 calories. And then there was all the other junk food that I’d eat the next day… This article tells you how long you’d need to spend on the treadmill in order to burn off those wine calories.

If you’re watching your weight during the day – and doing your best to stick to a healthy diet – don’t ruin it by pouring calories down your neck at night. An alcohol-free lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your health and waistline.
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Your skin

Whilst you can try and counteract the alcohol calories by dragging yourself to the gym the next day, the one thing you can’t do much about is your skin. Alcohol dehydrates the skin and reduces its elasticity. It also increases redness and can make you look puffy and bloated.

Dr Jairo Rodriguez, a New York-based nutritionist, puts it like this, “Alcohol is one of the worst, most aggressive compounds in destroying your skin. I always joke with patients, ‘If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!’” Some dermatologists claim it can take a month for your skin to get over a hangover.

It’s no wonder that celebrities like Jennifer Lopez don’t drink for this exact reason. Even Robson Green has given up booze for the sake of his appearance! This Drinking Mirror app shows you what your face will look like if you continue drinking at current levels. (It’s not the most sophisticated app I’ve ever seen, but you get the idea.) The Daily Mail put Beyonce and Jennifer Aniston through the same test here.
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Photographic evidence

How much would you pay for a moisturiser that could make you look younger, reduce puffiness, clear dark circles and give you great skin? I think most people would hand over quite a bit of cash for that. Well, sobriety is free. If you’re in any doubt about the benefits of giving up a toxic poison packed with chemicals, take a photo of yourself just before you quit.

When I coach women to stop drinking, one of the first things I ask them to do is to take a selfie. Six weeks later, they take another. (If you’re thinking of stopping drinking, make sure you do this too.) Here’s what some of my April 2017 students discovered:

“People have commented about how slim my face is but also how my skin is really good.”
“My eyes look clearer than when I was drinking. And I look less tired.”
“The rosacea on my cheeks is almost non-existent and my skin looks soooo much better and less dry.”
“People are saying my skin looks smoother and my eyes sparklier! I’ve also lost 10lbs.”

Don’t underestimate how much you might change – take a look at this article for some impressive before and after pictures.
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Double standards

Just take a moment to think about all the things you do in order to look good.

Maybe you’re paying for a pricey gym membership. Maybe you have a personal trainer. Perhaps your dressing table is cluttered with anti-ageing creams or your wardrobe is bulging with too many clothes. Maybe you spend a small fortune getting your nails done or your hair blow dried.

We’re always trying to be the best versions of ourselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s worth pointing out that if you really do care about how you look – if you’re prepared to invest time and money in your appearance – then logically, you should care about your alcohol intake too.

And if alcohol is affecting the way you look and feel, consider taking a proper break from booze. Who knows … it might just be one of the best things you ever do.

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30 Comments

  1. Hi Kate! Another great blog post. I’ve always been vain about my skin, spending lots of money on high-end moisturizers. I’ve been sober for just over 2 years, and substantially cut down before that. I recently had my driver’s license picture taken, and I look better than the one taken 5 years. Looking about the same age, but calmer, happier, more clear-eyed.

    Reply
    • Woo hoo! That must have been very satisfying indeed. Congratulations on your two years Jane! 🙂

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  2. LOVED this. My vanity needed this reality check

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    • Thanks Pat 🙂

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  3. Hi all, yes yes yes! After only 10 weeks sober I am really noticing the effects on my skin. My eyes look clearer and my skin less blemish-y! And, I might, this is not for the want of me trying to ingest as much chocolate and sweets as I can when I get the Friday and Saturday evening cravings! It could just be that I feel altogether calmer and that is outwardly noticeable. Whatever, who cares… I like it!

    Reply
    • The great thing about not drinking is that you can definitely get away with a few more treats here and there! I’m glad you’re feeling the benefits – congratulations on your 10 weeks! 🙂

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  4. Ive made the decision to quit for 6 months and I’m really looking forward to feeling all of these benefits. I’m on day 2 today and great idea to take a selfie, I’ll take one tomorrow morning.

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    • Quitting for 6 months is a great idea. Go for it Rebecca! 🙂

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  5. It is something I notice a lot. When I see someone with a really red, puffy face I find myself thinking “they must be a drinker!” It is a dead giveaway. If seems so counter-intuitive that I would spend tons of money on expensive cosmetics when I could drastically change my appearance just by going without the booze!

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  6. Great post Kate, I think this week will be the week

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    • Go for it Maddie! 🙂

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  7. Just hit the 6 month milestone of sobriety yesterday and had noted how clear my (acne prone) skin is today. Where i used to struggle to cover up blotchy redness and pimples, now I just use a dab of foundation to even out. The weight loss came quickly- craft beers by the six pack were an Easy 1000 calories a night- now I can maintain a Routine(!!) complete with Real Food (it doesn’t cost as much to eat well as it does to drink poorly,) exercise (only 10 minutes a day?! Can-do!)and meditating before snuggling into bed at the same(ish) time every night.
    I look great, feel pretty darn good most days, and when I’m down I don’t have to drink about it. Instead I grab a pint of Ben&Jerry’s and know tomorrow is a fresh start so long as I cherish my sobriety.

    Reply
    • That sounds like a pretty fabulous lifestyle you’ve got there Jeannine – what a difference! Really inspiring stuff

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  8. I’m a little over a week sober and I was just thinking about how if I stay sober, will my acne improve? Maybe so? Have also considered modifying my diet to see if that helps too, but maybe alcohol IS the cause of the break outs?

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  9. This is the truth! I quit drinking last year, and noticed a huge difference in my skin and energy! Then Christmas and New Years and an all inclusive trip south happened this winter, and well now I’m starting over. But I know the benefits I’m missing, and I’m more excited to quit drinking this time. This is just the reminder I needed!

    Reply
  10. Great article! With the money I save from not buying alcohol, I decided to start treating myself to monthly facials. This is something I’d always wanted to do but never felt justified with the expense…til now. So, I’m getting a DOUBLE whammy for awesome skin and don’t feel guilty about the expense one bit. I was spending WAY more on wine before.

    Reply
    • What a brilliant idea – and such a good treat for yourself!

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    • I love this idea too Shauna – putting what I normally spend on wine towards beauty treatments. Much more pleasing than it just getting sucked into something dull like household bills. In fact, I might go and book something right now!

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  11. Hi Kate. Great article. That’s it. I’m done with booze. I nearly died yesterday because of it and I’m in hospital. The bump on the road I was so needing as I hardly suffer hangovers so had no deterrent. I’m being medically supervised and detoxed. That’s a pint of no return to drinking. I built a small women circle network for support. I know I can do this. Looking forward to your next course in the summer for additional reinforcement.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear you’re in hospital Martine – it sounds like the wake up call you needed. Take care and rest up, you can do this 🙂

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      • Thank you Kate for your kind words. And I meant the point of no return to drinking… not the pint of no return LOL!The medical staff here have been amazing and supportive. I’m in very good hands.

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  12. Love this article! I spend huge amounts of money on skincare products and facials…. and unfortunately alcohol! This is the wake up I need. I did 6 weeks without alcohol earlier this year then stupidly went back to it. Embarking on another 100 days dry. This time I’m going to enroll on your course in July and hopefully kick this demon for good. Going to be 50 on my next birthday and I want to create the best life for myself, I’ve wasted too many years on alcohol

    Reply
    • Going alcohol-free will be a great birthday present to yourself! You won’t regret it 🙂

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  13. Hi Kate, your post is once again spot on. I gave up drinking when I hit 40 and one of the reasons was I couldn’t face the way I looked in the mirror after a night of drinking. Now sober, I am often told I look years younger which I think is a great incentive to continue being sober : )

    Reply
    • Absolutely – we all love compliments like that! Congratulations Helen 🙂

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  14. When you’re addicted to alcohol you can rationalize any reason for continuing to drink… I have to be honest, vanity was the only thing that motivated me well enough to get past Days 2,3,4. After a week, my rosecea was decreased, my parents were commenting on how good my skin looked, I was sleeping better… I hope you do more articles focusing on this because despite everything else that alcohol ruins, women in their thirties really do want to look their best and quitting is easy when the benefits are this great.

    Thanks again Kate!

    Reply
  15. its a long time since I have visited your site Kate. This article and links are hitting and realistic, tough with no frills but genuinely true to the point than most want to admit. Fantastic research that we all know but tend to wonder why those goddammit creams do not make us look so good as they claim they can. Its so simple its incredibly frightening, we have over complicated our lives and reach for the bottle instead of reaching for simplicity.
    Yes please more of the same it is very nourishing. Awesome Job Kate & team.

    Reply
  16. I remember my last few weeks of drinking. I was so sick all the time that I was only eating once a day, but a big, greasy, awful meal. I normally had glowing skin (haha, not even going to be humble) but it started getting dry and ashy. I had sores on the side of my mouth that I learned were directly related to a vitamin that alcohol leeches from your body. When people saw me they’d ask if I “had a cold”. I was also 15 pounds heavier and paunchy.

    It’s been almost 1.5 years since I’ve stopped drinking. In the first year I lost all that weight, got my glow back, and my mind through the help of so many people and, if I’m being honest, AA. I don’t ever want go to back to those days of insanity, depression, sadness, and also just looking terrible!

    Reply
  17. Hi Kate

    Thank you so much for this article which stuck with me today, and I think really saved me from caving in to buying a bottle of wine at the supermarket. I was feeling very sad today and after a very successful 34 days of no wine and reading about 10 memoirs in this time, today was tough due to some triggers. Anyways, when I entered the supermarket there were two ladies older than me, (I am 52) and their trolley was full of two big boxes of beer, two casks of wine and bottles of wine. They both looked very battered and tired. One looked like her face was bruised. This reminded me of the long term damage that ethanol causes (in many ways)..and I also wondered how their night would end…I changed my mind and picked up some cream donuts instead (which I never do!). Needless to say, when I walked out, I felt floods of emotion and tears as I was so relieved and grateful that I had not given in. Especially knowing full well the harm and abuse ethanol has caused many of us.

    Thanks again Kate 🙂

    Reply
  18. I have been searching for new skin care. Nothing is working. Ya derr. It’s coz my body is so sick, I’m tired constantly, losing my memory and my skin is disgusting. Thank you for this post. I’m only on day 4 but I am determined to get through this. Will take a selfie in the morning. I look forward to sparkly eyes.

    Reply

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