Alcohol: Can your skin handle the drink?

For many, alcohol is the go-to beverage of choice at the end of a long day or week. In fact, 4 in 5 British people drink more than they want or intend to – this can lead to mental and physical side-effects but one consequence often ignored or misunderstood: the effect it has on the skin.

Find out how alcohol affects your skin and what prevention/treatment methods there are below.

Alcohol is a toxin

Every type of alcohol, regardless of manufacturing process, is a toxin with little or no nutrient value. Its nature as a toxin contributes to reduced immunity, cell damage, insulin issues, hormone disruption and poor liver management. When all these factors begin to take a hit, especially hormone disruption and cell damage, one will see a drastic change in the appearance and age of your skin. 

Alcohol is a diuretic

Alcohol is also a diuretic. This means that it pulls water away from the body’s skin cells and leaves it dehydrated and dull-looking. Furthermore, it makes it harder to rehydrate the body after the fact as the body still continues to pull water away from the skin to counteract the alcohol running through your body. This can leave you with dry, flaky skin and wrinkles will be more visible due to a lack of fluid in the skin. Wrinkles from dehydration damage can make you look 10 years older. 

Damaged pores

Not only can dehydration lead to dry and flaky skin as well as wrinkles, it also causes the pores on the skin’s surface to dilate. When the pores dilate, there is a greater chance of blackheads and whiteheads popping up. If this isn’t managed well, it can leave the skin with bad acne issues and, in some extreme cases, permanent scarring. 


Whilst the sun is the biggest factor in the ageing of the skin, inflammation is the second most active variable for ageing skin. Alcohol stimulates inflammation by forcing a histamine reaction to happen in the skin. This reaction causes redness on the surface of the skin and blotchiness if alcohol consumption continues at a high rate. 

Sugar is everywhere!

A lot of people are unaware that alcohol is usually very high in sugar. If you overindulge in alcohol, the sugar will cause spots and breakout rashes to appear on the skin. In some cases, alcoholic sugar can sometimes even crystallise the skin, thus causing it to lose its supple look and vibrant complexion. Drinks such as wines, cocktails and mixers are most sugar-heavy, whilst vodka, gin and tequila enter and leave your system quickly with very minimal adverse effects on the skin.

Hormone issues

Drinking alcohol also raises your stress hormone level (cortisol). This puts pressure on your immune system and leads to breakouts on the skin. Other hormone side-effects can impair a woman’s reproductive function, bone structure, hunger and digestion. 

Alcohol vs Microbiome

We have a microbiome of good bacteria that live in our guts and aid us in digestion. Alcohol depletes the healthy levels of bacteria in the gut. This leads to inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, which already responds poorly to continued and high alcohol consumption.

Are there any treatments for this?

There are a few things one can do if you think you are suffering from a skin reaction as a result of alcohol consumption. Whilst the obvious answer is to quit drinking, or at least drink responsibly, you have options as well. 

  • Regular Hydrafacials hydrate the skin by detoxifying and doing a deep cleanse, giving the skin a clean and youthful look. 
  • Profhilo hydrates skin and triggers collagen and elastin production, thus encouraging the skin to heal and repair itself over time. 
  • Laser Treatments can target vessels causing redness on the skin and force them to collapse into the body, thus reversing the tonal change in your skin. 
  • Skin peels also rejuvenate the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which are exacerbated by alcohol consumption. 
  • LED light therapy stimulates blood circulation and hydration to allow the skin to repair itself, it does this by stimulating collagen and elastin production. 

Lockdowns are over, the pubs are open and people need a drink now more than ever. Just keep in mind that if not handled properly, alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on your skin.  


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  • Mandy says:

    This now makes sense. After a weekend of drinking my skin tends to feel super dry and sometimes it peels leaving patches on it. I had no idea this was the cause. It is so nice to finally know and I can actually do something about it.