As the weekend approaches, many of us will be looking forward to a drink or two with friends. According to a new study, however, women who are concerned about their skin health might want to steer clear of white wine and liquor.
Researchers have found that women who consume alcohol may be more likely to develop rosacea than non-drinking women, with white wine and liquor being the biggest offenders.
Furthermore, the study revealed that the more alcohol women consume, the higher their risk of developing the skin condition.
Study co-author Dr. Abrar A. Qureshi, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Rosacea is a chronic disease that causes redness and flushing of the skin, most commonly on the face and neck. Early symptoms of the condition include frequent flushing of the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. Swelling and a burning sensation may also occur.
Individuals with rosacea may also experience dilated blood vessels under the skin (vascular rosacea) and develop papules and pustules (inflammatory rosacea).
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, rosacea affects around 14 million people in the United States.
The disease is most common among adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years, and women are most affected, particularly during menopause.
While the precise causes of rosacea are unclear, some dermatologists believe that the condition may arise as a result of blood vessel or immune system abnormalities.
Now, researchers suggest that alcohol consumption might be a risk factor for rosacea.
To reach their findings, Dr. Qureshi and colleagues analyzed the data of 82,737 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II between 1991 and 2005.
Information on the alcohol intake of each participant – including the frequency of alcohol intake and the type of alcohol consumed – was gathered every 4 years. Data on any diagnoses of rosacea among the women were collected in 2005.
During the 14-year follow-up period, a total of 4,945 women developed rosacea.
Compared with women who did not drink alcohol, those who did were found to be at much greater risk of developing rosacea. Additionally, the researchers found that the risk of rosacea increased along with an increase in alcohol intake.
Upon looking at how the type of alcohol consumed affected rosacea development, the researchers found that white wine and liquor posed the strongest risks.
While the study was not designed to pinpoint the mechanisms by which alcohol might raise the risk of rosacea, the researchers speculate that it may be down to the dilation of the blood vessels that occurs with drinking.
They note that alcohol may also weaken the immune system, which could contribute to rosacea.
The team says that further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the role that alcohol plays in rosacea development, and to determine whether the same link applies to men.
In the meantime, Dr. Qureshi and colleagues say that their findings support health recommendations to reduce alcohol intake.
“Our research contributes to the sizable body of evidence that demonstrates alcohol’s harmful effects on the body, including the skin. Science has identified many factors that may potentially cause rosacea, and our study indicates that alcohol may be one of them.
Women who wish to maintain the health of their skin – and their overall health – should limit their alcohol consumption.”
Dr. Abrar A. Qureshi