Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Warm?

As usual, the answer is rooted in science
Contributor
Sweat

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Alcohol may make you feel warm, but it’s really making your body cold.

Have you ever wondered how women have the ability to celebrate New Year’s Eve in nothing but a dress and tights? Or, have you ever seen a pack of people moving from bar to bar in the winter, wearing light jackets and sweaters, wondering how in the world they haven’t frozen to death? The answer to your question points to a common, yet incorrect myth: the alcohol blanket.

If you’ve ever had a few too many, we’re sure you know the feeling: the sweaty, uncomfortable moment when you realize you’ve had too much to drink and you feel like you’re body is overheating. It happens to the best of us.

Whether or not you believe that your “alcohol cloak” will protect you from the cold, this common assumption isn’t true. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from the truth — alcohol actually makes your body colder.

According to Discovery, alcohol makes your skin feel warm, but it isn’t protecting you from the cold. After you have a few drinks, alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood closer to the surface of your skin. Though this makes your body feel hot, while your veins are pumping blood closer to the skin, you are losing core body heat, which is the heat that you need to survive.

Overall, when you drink alcohol, your skin feels warm, but you’re actually losing body heat, resulting in a lower body temperature. Keep this in mind the next time you break a sweat at the bar.

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