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Ever heard of a “beer jacket” or “alcohol blanket?” That’s the belief that booze can keep you warm when it’s cold out. But is it scientifically sound or just a myth? “Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means it widens the tiny blood vessels called capillaries right under the skin, so the quickly fill with warm blood,” says Mayo Clinic internist Dr. David Raslau.

While this provides the feeling of warmth on the surface of your skin, it simultaneously causes you to push heat out of your body while dropping your core body temperature. “It’s as if your body is in permanent ‘on mode’ for releasing heat from the skin’s surface,” Raslau adds. In other words, your “alcohol blanket” is full of holes.

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