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How Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

Listen – sometimes a cocktail night with the girls is exactly what we need after a long day, and we love a brunch mimosa as much as the next girl. But, let’s face it – it’s probably not the best for your skin.

And the only way you can deal with that boozy breakout or prosecco puffiness is if you know exactly what is going on – and how to deal with the problems head-on.

Let’s dive in.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

First thing’s first: what exactly do those drinkies doto your skin?

Well, overall, alcohol dehydrates and inflames the skin.For one, alcohol is a diuretic. As such, it draws water out of the body, leading to dehydration. Big picture, this can cause skin problems like:

  • Loss of elasticity
  • Dryness
  • Dullness
  • Uneven texture

It can also dilate the pores of your skin, leading to redness, acne, and rosacea. And the bad news doesn’t stop there, unfortunately. Alcohol is also a vasodilator, so it’s known to increase redness in the skin, as well as release inflammatory markers. That’s why alcohol can exacerbate inflammatory conditions like rosacea.

Finally, the high sugar in many alcoholic drinks can trigger a hormone called IGF-1 that leads to overproduction of oil on the skin.

Dryness, dullness, redness, acne, and oiliness? Not great.

So what can be done to combat these effects (besides skipping the drinks altogether)?

How To Combat the Negative Effects of Alcohol

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Watch What Kind of Alcohol You Drink

Certain kindsof alcoholic beverages are actually much worse than others. On the bad end of the spectrum, you have:

  • Dark liquors, like rum, whiskey, scotch, and brandy, which are high in additives and overall alcohol content.
  • Red wine. Despite its high antioxidant content, red wine is usually high in sugar and unfiltered, which means the body has to work hard to process it. This can exacerbate negative effects.
  • Cocktails, which are super high in skin-harming sugar.
  • White wine, which is also high in sugar.

On the good end of the spectrum, conversely, you have:

  • Clear spirits, like vodka, gin, tequila, and white rum.
  • Beer. Though it’s not exactly healthy,beer has comparatively low alcohol content, low sugar, and some antioxidants.


This one may seem like a given, but adding some extra hydration to your skin can help combat that dullness and dryness. Make sure, then, that you drink plenty of water and that you use hydrating skincare ingredients like:

Choose Your Drinks Wisely

The body has a great ability to bounce back and rehydrate – but you have to give it a chance. And remember, alcohol’s effects can be cumulative, so things like collagen loss and redness can become permanent over time. It’s important that you pick and choose your occasions, then, if you want to imbibe and keep that face glowing long-term.