The Drink That Increases Your Skin Cancer Risk

assorted alcoholic drinksAll you can drink resorts are fabulous, I mean, who can say no to them? Well, it turns out that those yummy piña coladas, daiquiris and all-inclusive drinks may be more than a beachside treat.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, consuming alcoholic beverages on a regular basis increases the risk of developing melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, by up to 55 percent. Having more than one drink per day (considered heavy drinking) increases your risk for melanoma by 20 percent, and drinking poolside only increases your risk.

Ethanol, the form of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, metabolizes in your body turning into a compound called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde heightens the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, increasing the likelihood for cell damage and cancer.

The Department of Health and Human Services classifies alcohol as a known human carcinogen, contributing to approximately 3 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S.

Although any form of alcohol may increase your risk, one of the authors behind a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention noted that white wine was, “the only drink independently associated with increased risk of melanoma.” The researcher concluded that white wine may contain higher levels of acetaldehyde compared to red wine and other spirits.

Another thing to consider is while imbibing in those yummy cocktails people are more likely to neglect the basics when it comes to sun safety. “When you’re boozing at the beach, you’re less likely to be conscientious of applying sunscreen,” says Dr. Michael Shapiro, medical director of Vanguard Dermatology in New York City.