If you’re wondering what I’m talking about it’s basically an idea I spotted in a new book that plopped onto my desk by the naturopathic doctor, Dr Nigma Talib. And it’s fascinating, a bit scary – but thankfully fixable. Read on to find out all about wine face…
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Called Reverse The Signs of Ageing, the book looks at all the factors that can make you look older than you actually are – and ways you can turn that around.
It’s pretty comprehensive…however, my attention was drawn very quickly to Chapter Two in which Dr Talib talks about how she can spot which foods someone is intolerant too – or, even just over-doing – simply by looking at the impact it has on the skin.
Why Food Sensitivities Show Up on Your Face
Dr Talib believes that if you’re overly sensitive to a food it will clearly show in your face – and that time and time again the same foods show up in the same ways.
She says she can even spot people on the street who are overdoing a food that doesn’t agree with them. I’ve been studying my face for days….and I absolutely have wine face.
To be honest I kind of knew this anyway – see I interviewed Dr Talib a while back for a feature I was working on.
We got talking about my rubbish gut health (as you do when you’ve got experts on the phone) and she suggested at that point I give up wheat, dairy, sugar and booze to see if that helped. Sadly, it didn’t stop my reflux issues, I’m still working on those – but woah, it made my face look good.
I didn’t even completely give up alcohol – but I still noticed a definite difference – my face was less ruddy and the lines between my brows virtually vanished, no Botox required.
Sadly, I haven’t quite decided which I like more – looking younger or drinking wine so I didn’t take up the change permanently!
So, now I know what you’re asking…..could you have wine face? Well here’s a handy checklist of symptoms to take to the mirror….
The Seven Symptoms of Wine Face
Pronounced lines or spots between the brows
Pronounced fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes
Dehydrated skin with feathery lines across the cheeks
Visibly enlarged pores
A reddish skin tone
Deep nasal labial folds
Erm, yes tick all of the above…..in fact it’s enough to drive me to a Pinot Grigio to cheer myself up! I guess that’s not quite the plan.
Why Wine Face Happens
The fact is that alcohol really isn’t good for your skin.
In my book How to Quit Alcohol (For a Month) I investigated all the benefits you can get giving up drinking even just for a few weeks a month and discovered that while most of them would be happening inside the body, the reversing of some of the issues it causes on the skin would be seen pretty fast.
You see alcohol noticeably changes the face. Drinking causes the blood vessels of the body to dilate and in areas of the face where the skin is thinner, like the cheeks and chin, or in the whites of the eyes, you may notice a ruddy tone and flushing.
If this is there all the time you might think it’s your normal skin tone but once you quit you’ll rapidly notice your skin looks less red and your eyes are whiter and brighter.
You could also notice your face starts to look slimmer when you quit alcohol for a little while. This is also related to those enlarged blood vessels as they leak watery fluid into the surrounding tissues creating a bloated, puffy look – especially when you wake up in the morning. As you stop drinking this fluid drains away and your face will start to look thinner.
Alcohol also dehydrates the skin which makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. As you stop drying out the skin (especially if you drink more water to replace the booze you were consuming) these fine lines will plump back up, and you’ll turn back the clock on how you look.
None of that though is the biggest change as Dr Talib says you might particularly notice a big difference in the lines between your eyebrows when you give you drinking; these can fade or even disappear during your month off and in some people, it can even look as if they’ve had Botox!
The reason is that in Chinese medicine the area between the brows is associated with liver health. If the liver is overworked, which is can be if you’re drinking too much, lines form in this area. Take a break and they become less noticeable.
Dark circles might also be related to drinking. In Chinese medicine these show that your kidneys are a little overworked, these too can disappear during your month off.
How to Combat Wine Face
When it comes to wine face the number one thing to do is to stop drinking for a while (if only you knew of a helpful book with some tips on that – or if you don’t want to buy my book this post might help you out with some suggestions) which will give your liver and kidneys a rest which will then show up on positive changes on your skin.
Once this happens, your job is merely to try and keep it that way… the good news is you don’t have to be abstinent for life – Dr Talib only suggests that you have more non-drinking days a week than drinking ones (these non-alcohol drink alternatives make this much easier) and that you never drink two days on the trot to give you body a chance to eliminate toxins.
She also suggests choosing drinks with the least number of skin pollutants in them. She doesn’t think gluten is good for the skin so that rules out beer and some gins, vodka and whiskeys. Stick to gluten-free spirits like rum, tequila or potato-based vodka – and read labels carefully on other drinks.
Wine does not contain gluten but it can be quite sugary so choose drier varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Merlot or Pinot Noir. For the same reason, if you are drinking spirits, stick with soda or sparkling water as your mixer.
Also, try and choose sulphite-free wines. Sulphites are used in wine as a preservative and it can cause sensitivity that aggravates wine face – if you sneeze, cough, wheeze or find your nose running after drinking wine you might be sensitive to sulphites.
When you are drinking, the herb milk thistle can help you detox alcohol faster which can help reduce some of the strain on the liver. If you like tablets, have a look at Healthspan’s Milk Thistle.
If you don’t like tablets, then you can try A.Vogel Milk Thistle tincture – this is the product I use, but remember you’ll always taste a tincture more than a pill.
The Four Faces of Aging
These tips are only the start of Dr Talib’s inside out way of tackling aging in the body – and the skin.
On top of this, Dr Talib has also identified what she calls Gluten Face, Dairy Face and Sugar Face in the book – and again, tells you what clues to look for on your face that explains if you might be overdoing any of those foods too.
Thankfully she also gives lots of tips on what to do if you DO suspect you have any of what she calls ‘The Four Faces of Ageing.’
Find Reverse The Signs of Ageing here.
What to Read Next
If you’re contemplating Botox to handle the effects of wine face, you might want to have a look at some of our Botox advice posts…
Find out what you should ask your injector before going for jabs in our guide to not making a Botox mistake here.
Did you know that you should avoid alcohol before and after your Botox injections – here’s why and how long you need to take a break for.
You also need to take a break from exercise after Botox – find out the experts advice about that here.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.