According to a recent study, there may be a connection between drinking alcohol and skin cancer. The British Journal of Dermatology found that drinking too much alcohol could set off a chain reaction that makes the skin more sensitive to UV light that can cause skin cancer.
The study looked at 16 different case studies involving thousands of participants. These studies found that drinking one alcoholic beverage or more per day increases the risk of skin cancer by a fifth.
How does alcohol increase skin cancer risk? Dr. Joel Schlessinger shares.
A number of forces may be to blame causing the link between alcohol and skin cancer. Ethanol is converted to acetaldehyde soon after ingestion, and acetaldehyde can render the skin more sensitive to UV light. Sunscreen negligence and not wearing enough protective clothing while drinking may also be to blame.
“The interesting question will be whether it is because protection and the awareness of sun protection is flawed while ‘sunning under the influence’ or whether there is a particular worsening of sun exposure when drinking,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
“We have many drugs and foods that intensify sun exposure when ingested, so it isn’t a stretch to think alcohol could do the same thing.”
Dr. Joel Schlessinger is not surprised by the findings of this study.
Although this is a new study, Dr. Joel Schlessinger isn’t surprised by the findings.
“It is tough enough to encourage patients to stay out of the sun,” says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, “so it comes as no shock that when drinking, sun protection habits go out the window.”
Dr. Joel Schlessinger always recommends wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, especially when you plan to be in the sun. Wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. For extra protection, try an antioxidant supplement such as Heliocare Sun Protection Capsules.
But at the end of the day, Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends avoiding drinking alcohol and spending time in the sun.
“The take home message is that it is unsafe to be in the sun and drink at the same time.”