How Does Alcohol Affect the Skin?

Who doesn't love a glass of wine with dinner, or a Sunday afternoon sesh with a refreshing cocktail? Drinking is a part of most people's social lives these days.

However, although we all know that alcohol plays havoc on our liver, do we really know the extent of what alcohol does to the skin and other bodily functions?

What is alcohol made off exactly?

The alcohol found in wine, spirits and beers is ethanol, and in short, alcohol is a toxin. Alcohol is produced when yeast ferments the sugar of various foods - e.g. grapes for wine or apples for ciders.

The intoxicating effect of alcohol gives us the missguided idea that we are feeling "happy", when in reality, alcohol is a depressor of the central nervous system.

The alcohol effects on the skin

There are a lot of alcohol effects on the body and skin, and this might change your mind when reaching for that third or more drink.

1. Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to remove fluids at a faster rate from your body and skin. This is why we tend to get a headache the next day after drinking, and to urinate more frequently while drinking.

Dehydration from alcohol shows in the skin in the form of:

  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Dull skin
  • Accelerated skin ageing

    The older we get, the longer it takes for our bodies to process and metabolise alcohol through the liver. This could be a 2-3 day process of toxin elimination depending on age, gender, body size, medications, and mental state. This is why, in case you're wondering, we get those 3-day hangovers as we get older!

2. Collagen loss

Collagen keeps our skin and body firm, resilient and structured. Alcohol is a chemical that produces free radicals, which damage our collagen fibres.

Alcohol plunges little holes in our collagen fibres, making our skin and body look:

  • Uneven
  • Dimpled
  • Untoned
  • Lose elasticity
  • Lose firmness
  • Accelerates collagen loss
  • Decreases nutrients we need for collagen rejuvenation

3. Inhibits our fat burning process

Alcohol consumption affects our liver, stopping it from metabolising the fat properly - alcohol basicallyl changes how our body burns fat. That happens because our body wants to eliminate the toxin of alcohol first, before accessing our stored fat as energy. In other words, it stops our fat burning process to dedicate to the most immediate threat: the intoxication.

Alcohol also has a high calorie and sugar content, which makes us put on excessive fat, which we mainly see in the abdominal region. Moreover, sugar also leads to skin dehydration, dullness and it harms our collagen fibres, causing premature skin ageing.

4. Sleep disruption

Excessive alcohol can interrupt a good night's sleep, and we all know that to have a healthy body and radiant skin, we need good quality sleep.

Good quality sleep is essential for our skin and body to repair, heal and rejuvenate. Alcohol affects our ability to stay asleep, the amount of deep sleep and REM of sleep we get.

That happens because our liver is going into overdrive trying detoxify the alcohol out of our bodies. Moreover, the alcohol-driven lack of sleep also leads to dark circles under the eyes.

5. Puffiness and Bloating

Excessive alcohol consumption can make us have puffy eyes, due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol and the interrupted sleep. The alcohol-caused puffy eyes can also be caused by the chemicals and preservatives present in the alcohol.

Moreover, drinking can also make our stomach bloated, as it irritates the stomach lining, not to mention the sugar consumption from the alcohol also contributes to the bloating.

6. Flushed skin or rosacea

Alcohol causes inflammation within the skin and body.

We can notice this alcohol effect on the skin if the skin flushes red - that is caused by the alcohol inflaming the tissues causing a histamine reaction.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also cause a flare up for those who suffer with Rosacea, leading to the redness on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. For men, that reaction is mostly seen on the nose.


Top tips for better alcohol choices and recovery

1. Choose to drink white spirits, like vodka, gin or tequila

The clearer the spirit, the faster your body will be able eliminate it through the liver. The darker the spirit (e.g. beer or sugary drinks), the longer it'll take for the body to get rid of the toxins.

2. Drink plenty of water while you are drinking
That will help flush out toxins, restore hydration levels and protect your skin.

3. Take Vitamin B and C the next day to replenish nutrients in the body and skin.
Sheet Masks are also a great option to put back all the hydration into the skin the next day, with all the potent serums that sheet masks are infused with.

Some products to help rehydrate and nourish!

Sold out

A luxurious sheet mask enriched with vitamins and hyaluronic acid to soothe, nurture, and deliver intense hydration for dewy, glowing skin.

Sold out

Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum is a long lasting serum which floods the skin with hydration, replenishes from within, and helps prevent future dehydration - creating a healthy circular and sustained hydration flow.  

Sold out

Aspect Extreme B 17 contains a patented blend of Vitamin B Complex Polypeptides, which help energise and decongest skin. Vitamin B3, otherwise known as Niacinamide, is a potent skin care ingredient. This vitamin helps reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts, minimise acne scarring, and control oil levels for less-congested skin. This powerful serum also contains 5 super skin-boosting sea plants, which brighten and smooth skin to turn back the clock on ageing skin.

About The Author

My name is Sari Pols,
I have been in the skincare industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have good well-being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.
I have furthered my knowledge of Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns, and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to band-aid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.

Your Cart (0)