How Does Alcohol Age You? (Spoiler: It’s Not Pretty)

What do birthdays, teenagers, and alcohol have in common? They can make you feel really, really old. In the case of alcohol, it does so quite literally. How does alcohol age you exactly? In more ways than one. Its dehydrating effects can add years to your face, skin, and body to make you look older than you actually are. Not only that, but it affects you from the inside out, making you feel older as well from your joints to your memory (and everywhere in between). Learn the ugly truth about how alcohol prematurely ages you with these 5 shocking consequences. 

5 Ways Alcohol Makes You Look & Feel Older Than You Are


One of the most telling signs of age, alcohol plays a major role in causing premature development of fine lines and wrinkles. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating which can cause your otherwise supple skin to be parched and dry. This dryness makes your skin increasingly susceptible to creasing and also makes existing wrinkles more pronounced. 

Dark Undereye Circles

As if looking tired all the time wasn’t enough (alcohol can cause sleeping issues), alcohol can make sure that you look it too. While the dark circles under your eyes are mostly controlled by genetics, alcohol can make the discoloration much more pronounced and contribute to puffiness as well. The cause is once again, alcohol’s dehydrating effects. The drying effect on your skin causes this already thin piece of the epidermis to become even thinner and make the blood vessels underneath the skin more pronounced.


Charming on Santa Clause, not so much for someone wanting to maintain their youthful appearance. Alcohol can put your heart into overdrive, causing blood pressure to increase and putting pressure on blood vessels. This pressure can cause your skin to flush resulting in perpetually ruddy cheeks. Sometimes these blood vessels can burst, causing a condition called telangiectasia (the culprit of spider veins in the legs) that resembles decades of sun damage. 

Weight Gain

Keeping a trim figure becomes a lot harder as you get older, and drinking can make it even more challenging to keep the lean figure of your youth. Alcohol is a double whammy on your waistline as it slows down your metabolism and is full of weight-gaining sugars. The extra pounds can also make it more difficult to maneuver when doing your usual activities. While gaining a little weight doesn’t automatically make you look older, it can slow you down to make you feel a lot less spry. 

Earlier Likelihood of Degenerative Illnesses

Alcohol kicks off a chain of events that hasten the premature breakdown of your internal bodily functions. The result of which can cause a host of serious diseases well before your time. Diabetes, health attack, liver failure, kidney failure, stroke, dementia…These are just a few major ones that can seriously undercut your overall health. While there are a number of other factors that can affect the onset of these illnesses (diet, genetics, lifestyle), drinking can cause them to occur decades earlier than they otherwise would.

The Unflattering Effects of Alcohol Consumptions

Knowing the extent of how alcohols ages you, it’s a wonder why anyone drinks alcohol at all! A few drinks may seem harmless – or even beneficial – in the moment but they can have long-lasting repercussions that fast track your body’s signs of aging. Heavy drinking and binge drinking put you at the greatest risk of incurring undesirable side effects. To minimize both external and internal alcohol damage, the NIAAA recommends avoiding drinking more than three standard drinks per day and no more than seven total in a given week. If you’re having difficulty cutting back on your drinking, an alcohol rehab center can help before things escalate.

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