Could cocktail hour be contributing to your eczema?
If you live with eczema, you likely know by now that there are a lot of connections to be made between the food we consume and inflammatory skin conditions. However, an often overlooked component in many people’s routine is alcohol consumption. As it turns out, drinking alcoholic beverages can, in some cases, contribute to eczema for a variety of reasons. Here’s what you need to know:
Histamine reactivity and inflammation – According to medical experts, alcohol triggers the release of histamines and an inflammatory response, just as it would during an allergic reaction to certain foods. For just about anyone, this can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, or hives, and in the case of those with eczema, increase the likelihood of a flare up.
- Dehydration and nutrient depletion – Another common side effect of drinking alcohol is dehydration, which often translates to dry or dehydrated skin. Additionally, because excess alcohol tends to leave the body depleted of vitamins and minerals, certain nutrient deficiencies can worsen the effect and even negatively impact the skin’s moisture barrier.
Increased stress and anxiety – If you’re someone who experiences eczema outbreaks as a result of stress, anxiety, depression, or other intense emotions, overuse of alcohol can create a negative cycle of causing more stress to the body, taxing the immune system, and making it more difficult for the skin to heal and repair.
- Drink in moderation – If all of the above sounds like bad news, a bit of good news is that everyone’s reaction to drinking alcohol will vary, and for most eczema sufferers moderate consumption won’t significantly compromise your skin’s condition. Rather, your best strategy is to simply be aware of how your body reacts, monitor your intake, and adjust your drinking habits accordingly, if need be.
- Be mindful of multiple triggers – Understanding that eczema is a complicated condition influenced by a number of elements – from fabric choices to climate, daily diet, and topical products – it will always be beneficial to consider your skin’s condition holistically. For example, if you notice that your eczema always flares up after parties, it could be due to drinking alcohol, but may also be a result of eating certain foods, excess anxiety, or a combination of all of the above.
- Check in with a specialist – If you are concerned that your eczema is worsened by alcohol consumption, you might find it helpful to partner with a doctor or dermatologist you trust to get to the bottom of things. A medical professional may be able to conduct allergy testing to determine your body’s sensitivity to alcohol. They can also look into any drug interactions that may be occuring, as certain medications used to treat eczema may interact negatively with alcohol.
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