I have upsetting news for you: Your summer day parties may be giving you skin cancer. Not exactly the news you want to hear during the hottest months of the year, when pool parties and cookouts are par for the course, but take it from us — as long as alcohol is involved, you’ll want to stay inside.
We all know that our inhibitions are lowered when we sip any drink containing alcohol, but what does that have to do with your skin? It turns out, lots. When your inhibitions are lowered and you get more careless, the chances of you applying and reapplying sunscreen are dramatically lower. Additionally, when you attend summer events where drinking outdoors is common, you naturally just spend more time under direct sunlight.
So clearly, those things put you at a greater risk for a burn — and, subsequently, melanoma. But it doesn’t stop there.
“Research has shown that people who consumed alcohol during time spent at the beach had more severe sunburns compared to non-drinkers,” revealed experts from the University of Milan-Bicocca, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Participants in the study spent equal amounts of time in the sun and received different severities of skin damage. So regardless of how much time you’re spending in the sun, alcohol makes your sunburns worse.
And it “can substantially enhance cellular damage and subsequently lead to formation of skin cancers,” explained the same group of researchers. Coupled with UV radiation, alcohol impairs the body’s immune response. Therefore, your skin’s defenses are down, and you are at greater risk for cellular damage after you’ve downed a few beers.
Regardless of how fun it sounds, think twice about bringing a cooler with you on your summer beach trip. You could be doing your skin cells more damage than it’s worth.