It wasn’t until my quarter-century birthday that I had my first sip of alcohol. In college, I traded boxed wine and cheap beer for Shirley Temples and ginger ale in Solo cups (to fit in, of course), a decision that was motivated by my discomfort around seeing how alcohol impacted the behaviors of my family members while I was growing up.
When I started law school, my relationship with alcohol changed. Social drinking, networking over shared glasses of merlot, and drinking while traveling became the norm. I began to look forward to getaways where I could enjoy poolside drinks and the occasional preflight mimosa (after all, airports are the ultimate judgment-free zone). Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve begun to reflect on how drinking influences my life—especially as the hangovers that come along with it have become harder to cure—so ahead of a recent trip to the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort with my husband, I decided it was the perfect time for an alcohol-free reset.
As an Islamic country, Maldives prohibits bringing alcohol into its borders and it’s only available for purchase by guests at licensed resorts and hotels, a tidbit that helped influence my decision to abstain. I knew that not drinking would make me feel better—improved sleep, more energy, and better digestion all come along with going alcohol-free—but knowing the correlation between alcohol and skin health, I was also curious about how it would impact my appearance.
“Alcohol is a diuretic which causes increased urination that leads to dehydration of the body, including the skin,” explains Brooke Jeffy, a board-certified dermatologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the founder of BTWN Skincare. “Dehydrated skin has less elasticity and looks flaky, dull, and irritated. Alcohol also causes disrupted sleep leading to hormone fluctuations that can trigger breakouts and damage collagen in the skin.”
I stopped drinking for seven days leading up to the trip and kept my sobriety going the entire time I was at the resort, which meant nearly 2 weeks sans alcohol. And though it wasn’t a huge chunk of time, it was long enough for me to