Antioxidants play an important role, Dr. Chang says, especially in removing free radicals and protecting skin from damage. “Serums and face masks that contain antioxidants, like vitamin C, green tea, and niacinamide, can help calm the skin the day after a long night out.” We’re exposed to free radicals every day through food, pollution, smoke, sunlight, and yes, alcohol. According to research, alcohol not only releases a flood of free radicals into the body, it also impairs your antioxidant defense at the same time.

Strategies To Take Control When Drinking Is The Main Event

In the long term, you’ll see a youthful, healthy glow return to your face. When you put a stop to alcohol use, you’re reducing chronic inflammation, dehydration, and oxidative stress in your body—and this means significant changes for your skin as time goes on. If you like to drink sometimes, learning about the effects of alcohol on skin may feel disheartening. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your skin from the effects of a night of drinking. Beyond this, white wines can cause facial flushing, and have even been linked to incident rosacea. Combined with the dehydrating and inflammatory effects of alcohol, this can lead to wrinkles and other skin problems over time.

But, yes, okay, using too much alcohol in your skin-care products can definitely cause irritation.

what does alcohol do to your skin

First things first, the odd drink here or there isn’t going to break your body. But the unfortunate truth is alcohol is a hepatotoxin, meaning it specifically damages the liver, and this organ is intimately connected to your skin’s function. “Your body will enter a detox mode to clear the alcohol from your bloodstream and prevent alcohol poisoning,” she said. While many of us focus on the negative effects alcohol has on the liver, we tend to forget about its impact on your body’s biggest organ — your skin.

Skin changes due to alcoholic liver disease

More importantly, this flushing is of concern as it is linked to an increased risk of squamous cell esophageal cancer due to alcohol consumption. For many people of East Asian descent, alcoholic beverages cause prominent flushing on the face, neck, shoulders and sometimes the entire body. This effect is due to a genetic condition that interferes with the metabolization of alcohol. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink.

Sleep disruption

Unfortunately, if you’ve been drinking heavily for a long time, some damage may be irreversible. In this case, try to cut back on alcohol as much as you can to help your skin rebound. During this time, redness and blotchiness caused by alcohol will diminish, and sunken eyebags will plump up again as your body rehydrates. For the first week after your last drinking session, your skin might still be reeling. Don’t fret too much, however—after this, your skin will usually start to regain its healthy glow.

A not-so-obvious way that alcohol affects the skin is through oxidative stress, which happens when there are too many free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress damages every type of cell in your body, including your skin. Lighter coloured drinks such as vodka, gin and tequila contain the least amount of additives and are processed by the body quickest. This means that they should have the least impact on your skin, minimising potential damage. This isn’t exclusive to the face, though—you may see signs of water retention (as in puffiness) throughout your body. So if you wake up feeling or looking more bloated than usual, don’t be hard on yourself—it’s a direct result of alcohol consumption and it won’t last forever.

  • Chronic alcoholic liver disease may lead to reddening of palmar skin.
  • Binge drinking—consuming four drinks for women or five for men in a two-hour span—is even more damaging than when the same number is spread out over the week.
  • You can also take a supplement dedicated to keeping your skin, hair and nails healthy, which can also help repair any skin damage.

Alcohol’s physical effects on the body

what does alcohol do to your skin

Don’t worry, this is a safe space—nobody is going to judge you for consuming alcohol. Grabbing drinks with friends or pairing your dinner with a glass of red wine is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if it brings you joy and sparks a social connection. Drinking alcohol is linked to cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus. Research shows alcohol use also may be tied to the most common types of skin cancer. Your body works to repair DNA damage caused by the sun, but alcohol can interfere with that process. For some people, sunlight causes extreme burning, blisters, and pain.

  • Claire Chang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City.
  • Mixing with coke will top up the sugar levels and even if you opt for a sugar-free coke, you’ll swap the sugar for liver-stressing additives that reducing healthy liver detoxification instead.
  • ‘The exfoliator non-selectively removes healthy surface skin cells and their lipid layers, something the skin has spent the last month making,’ says Dr Patterson.
  • Drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions, so you might assume alcohol can ramp up your fun in the bedroom.

Tired appearance

Many people assume the occasional beer or glass of wine at mealtimes or special occasions doesn’t pose much cause for concern. But drinking any amount of alcohol can potentially lead to unwanted health consequences. To truly know what’s in that product bottle, flip to the back and thoroughly read the ingredient list. Just like for food products, ingredients are listed in descending order—so the most potent concentrations will be first. If alcohols top the list, it’s likely to be irritating to sensitive skin.

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