Alcohol and the sun – remember hydration and protection

If you are enjoying an alcoholic beverage during the summer you should remember to drink enough water to prevent heatstroke, and also to protect your skin from sunburn with sunscreen or clothing.

Warm weather invites you to enjoy some cold drinks and sunshine on the terrace. However, sunshine and alcohol don’t mix well, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to a few things if you intend to enjoy some alcoholic beverages on a hot day.

Drink water in between

Water is vital for humans, as it maintains our fluid balance and regulates our body temperature. ‘Dehydration’ means that our organs are drying up as a result of too little fluid in our body. The symptoms of dehydration include a headache, nausea and tiredness.

According to current recommendations, a healthy adult needs 2–3 litres of liquid per day. Half of your daily water intake should come from beverages and the other half from food. You will need to drink more water on a hot summer day, as you will lose fluid through sweating.

Alcohol is not a suitable beverage for quenching thirst, as it dries out the body. And in addition to it removing liquid from your body, you may forget to drink water while enjoying your alcoholic drinks. It’s therefore a good idea to bring your own water bottle along for a day out in the sun. You could also grab some sparkling Välivesi from Alko. At home, you can keep a water jug in the fridge and add ice cubes, cucumber slices, berries or lemon wedges for extra flavour.

Read more about the undisputed benefits of drinking water.

Protect your skin

Sun-lovers are plagued by another threat in addition to dehydration – sunburn. Whether your skin tans or burns depends on the intensity of the UV radiation and how long your skin is exposed to it. Different people can tolerate more or less sunshine, depending on their skin type. Finns typically have a Northern European skin type that starts to burn after 10–20 minutes in the sun.

Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of sunburn, as it stimulates the blood to circulate at the surface of the skin, swelling it and exposing it to faster burning. When you’re drunk, you may also forget to protect your skin with sunscreen or other means.

Seeking shade, avoiding the midday sun and protecting your skin with clothing and sunscreen are all effective ways to prevent sunburn.

The same rule applies to both alcohol and the sun – enjoy them in moderation.

Finnish institute for health and welfare
Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK)

The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim

Article picture: Folio Images