A new smart phone app is literally holding up the mirror to the physical toll alcohol takes on the looks. Part of the Scottish government’s “Drink Smarter” campaign, the new app called ‘Drinking Mirror,” aims to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking and the shocking visible effects it can have over time.
‘Drinking Mirror’ plays on people’s vanity and specifically targets women. While heavy or binge drinking is also common to men, the campaign is hanging its hat on the fact that it will make a bigger impact by appealing to women’s innate sense of vanity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about one in eight women aged 18 years and older engage in binge drinking while among female high school students the number is even higher, a shocking 1 in 5.
To operate ‘Drinking Mirror,' users upload their photo and then enter data on their weekly alcohol consumption. A computer-generated split image shows the potential long-term effects on the looks by portraying the original face juxtaposed with the face as it might appear in 10 years time at the current rate of consumption.
The campaign hopes that by forcing people to see the visible effects of their drinking they will downsize their consumption and consider following the recommended guidelines. The line between social and binge drinking can be difficult to define as people usually have no idea of exactly how much they are consuming. According to the Scottish government, the recommended safe consumption for women on a daily basis is currently defined as two to three units (unit defined as a 5 oz glass of 13% wine) and three to four units for men. Current U.S. dietary guidelines recommend no more than one drink a day for women and two for men.
The app is part of the ‘Drop a Glass Size’ campaign launched on January 8 by Health Secretary Alex Neil. The program hopes that by encouraging users to downsize their consumption it can make significant improvements to people's health as well as slow the aging process. The program also encourages people to observe two alcohol-free days a week.
Using the app to see how alcohol ages the face is a surprisingly effective way of visualizing the import of alcohol’s devastating effects on the skin. Easily observed in the heavy drinker’s pale and tired demeanor, these effects include dehydration, dilated blood vessels and bloating of the face. Add to that the requisite puffiness, increased wrinkling, weight gain and the appearance of jowls, and it doesn’t make for a very pretty picture.
To check out the free app go to http://www.drinksmarter.org.
The smart phone app is currently only available for Android-powered devices though an iPhone version and web version are due out shortly.
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