How Does Alcohol Affect The Skin?

drinks party

This is a collaborative post.

You might not think that alcohol can do too much to the skin. Yes, we know it’s a problem for our livers and even brains if we drink too much over a sustained period of time, but the truth is it can do a lot more damage than this, and our skin can bear the brunt of it. If you were thinking of cut down (or cutting out) your alcohol intake, understanding what drinking can do to your skin might help you make that decision. Read on to find out more. 

bottles of wine


Dehydration is one of the biggest issues that people who drink more than is good for them will find. This usually manifests itself in hangovers, which are essentially acute and severe dehydration, but there is a chronic issue too, and the skin is where you will see it. 

Alcohol is a diuretic which means it pushes the water from our bodies. All the time you have alcohol in your system, this will keep happening, so it’s hard to rehydrate (which is why hangovers last for many hours sometimes – the more you drink, the longer it takes to rid your body of the alcohol). When you are chronically dehydrated, the skin becomes flaky, dull, and wrinkles form because the elasticity the water provides is gone. It is possible to have fillers injected to fix this look, but if you do, you must be ensuring your aesthetics treatments are conducted by qualified staff helps to ensure a safer treatment and recovery, and you’ll need to cut down on your drinking to prevent the issue from becoming worse.  

Redness And Inflammation 

The sun is by far the biggest issue when it comes to skin aging, but inflammation is the second biggest cause of looking older before your years, and this is much less commonly understood. When you drink too much, the alcohol inflames your tissue, and when it keeps happening, a histamine reaction will occur; this makes your skin red. In essence, your skin is fighting against the inflammation, and that fight causes a permanent red discoloration. 

It does this because the alcohol brings the blood to the surface where the inflammation is. It’s more easily seen. The stereotypical image of a drunk person with a bright red nose that you might see in cartoons isn’t so far from the truth.  

Spots And Breakouts

You might be old enough to drink alcohol, but your skin might look like something a teenager would be dealing with, covered in spots and breakouts. Although, of course, you may well have wrinkles to combine with this. 

Alcohol is high in sugar, and although cocktails are the worst culprits, white wine also contains high amounts, and everything else has at least a little. If you’re using mixers, these can contain much more sugar than you realize. Too much alcohol means too much sugar, and this can manifest in your skin. 

Lowered Immune System 

Everyone has good bacteria in their gut. This good bacteria is there to help digest food and generally keep your body in balance. Alcohol can disrupt your gut bacteria (called the microbiome), and an imbalance between good and bad bacteria can occur. This can cause the immune system to be compromised due to being overloaded, and you can become sicker more easily as a result. 


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