Here’s How Alcohol Destroys Your Skin

An occasional glass of wine or beer is harmless, right? If this is your internal message when you reach for that occasional cocktail, you’re like many others. It’s a common justification. And if you’re like most alcohol drinkers, you might also tell yourself that alcohol even has some health benefits. Consuming alcohol in moderation may seem harmless, but it causes you to crave more. So your occasional indulgence can quickly turn into a nightly cocktail hour if you don’t remain mindful. Health professionals stress alcohol consumption poses more health risks than benefits. And the adverse effects on your skin’s health are only one.

Alcohol’s And Your Skin’s Appearance 

Alcohol has no nutritional value: zero, zip, nada. So, if you drink alcohol, you’ve likely learned to enjoy the taste or its temporary calming effect.  Unfortunately, the perceived benefits of alcohol are temporary at best. And the momentary pleasures it proffers isn’t worth the long-term adverse side-effects. Here are just a few of alcohol’s drawbacks:

  • Impairs your liver function
  • Damages your immune system
  • Imbalances your hormones
  • It damages your cells. 
  • It harms your skin’s health, texture, and tone extensively. 

Most shocking is that you may experience all of these adverse side effects just one day after drinking alcohol.  Let’s take a deeper dive into how alcohol consumption is injurious to your skin:

Glycation / Dehydration

Alcohol increases your need to urinate, which means you lose lots of nutrients and vitamins. It also dehydrates you. But drinking more water won’t help because your system must be free of alcohol before water can adequately hydrate your body and skin.  On average, it takes three days for your liver to clean the alcohol you drank from your system. During that three-day window, your skin’s texture becomes rougher, and you develop extra wrinkles and fine lines. Your dehydrated skin is less able to defend itself against pollution, UV rays, and free radicals. The alcohol content in your beverage of choice isn’t the only issue. There are copious amounts of sugar in alcoholic drinks, and the sugar comes in two forms; alcohol sugar and added sugar.  Because alcohol is a simple carbohydrate, it turns into sugar in your bloodstream. Essentially, when you drink alcohol, it’s the same as downing a soda or eating a piece of cake. Then you get a double whammy if you drink a sweetened beverage with added sugar. In that case, you’re getting the added sugar and the alcohol sugar.   Sugar stimulates glycation, a reaction that takes place in your bloodstream when simple sugar molecules, such as fructose or glucose, become attached to proteins or lipid fats and damage them. This process forms rogue molecules called advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs).  Glycation has a catastrophic effect on your skin’s two main skin proteins, elastin and collagen. As a result, you get loose, wrinkled skin while the free radicals continue to wreak havoc in your body. 

Increased Redness & Inflammation

If you regularly consume alcohol at any level, it can cause chronic inflammation in your skin and copious other health problems. You’ll notice an increase in acne breakouts, damage to blood vessels, redness, rosacea, and abnormal skin tone. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes chronic inflammation and symptoms such as redness, facial flushing, bumps, and thick skin. Under these conditions, your skin’s normal cell renewal process is impaired, so your skin looks dull and aged. 

Acne Breakouts

If your alcoholic beverages contain added sugar, you’ll experience increased acne breakouts because your skin’s pores become clogged, which causes dehydration. If you don’t cleanse your skin correctly, you’ll eventually see pimples, blackheads, red spots, and wrinkles.  Alcohol also harms your gut bacteria and hormones, which will exacerbate your acne and increase breakouts on your forehead, cheeks, and chin. 


Initially, alcohol can help you fall asleep more quickly. But, what you may not realize is the quality of your sleep will be adversely affected. You may even wake up shortly after you fall asleep and have a tough time going back to sleep.  When you drink alcohol before bed, it affects your ability to enter the essential deep sleep phases. Instead, you might toss and turn and awaken frequently. And your sleep is more likely to be affected if you’re female, especially if you drink alcohol before bed.  Each day, your skin gets damaged by stress, pollution, and other environmental elements. When you sleep, your body repairs your skin. Sleep also allows your skin to rebuild its lipid barrier. Your lipid barrier blocks external factors and prevents them from damaging the elastin and collagen proteins in the bottom layers of your skin. Since your body produces more human growth hormones while you sleep, it will stimulate the skin cell renewal process, and your skin will appear younger and smoother.  If you get poor quality sleep, your skin won’t have the chance to rebuild its protective lipid barrier, so your skin will look dull, aged, and be more prone to wrinkles if you drink frequently. If you wait too long to change your drinking habits, it may be too late to restore your skin’s health and vitality.

How to Treat Skin Damaged by Alcohol

Abstaining from alcohol consumption is the first step in repairing your skin. Then, you’ll need care for your skin and help it recover from the prior damage. Here are some helpful skincare hacks:

Use Skincare Serums

You can boost your skin cell renewal process with topical creams and serums containing retinol, which is essential to reversing aging skin because the hyaluronic acid in retinol allows your skin to capture and store extra amounts of moisture. As you continue to use these serums, your skin’s lipid barrier skin will repair itself and retain more water, so you’ll have a smooth, plump complexion.

Just Drink Water

When you abstain from alcohol, try to avoid substituting with sugary or caffeinated beverages. The only drink your body needs is freshwater if you want your skin to be hydrated and healthy. Also, if you add natural, whole foods to your diet, it can help your skin rehydrate. Try to avoid foods that are high in salt or sodium.

Treat Your Acne 

Once the alcohol is out of your system, your beneficial gut bacteria will begin to restore, and you may notice more acne on your face. In this scenario, more acne is a sign your skin has already started to heal. When this happens, you mustn’t pop your pimples because that can make your breakouts worse and possibly create scars.  Try reducing the inflammation with spot treatments or Intense Pulsed Light therapy. The latter will reduce inflammation and redness of the skin and stop acne-causing bacteria from forming more pimples. 

Use Rosacea Treatments

If you have rosacea, it’s best to treat your skin as soon as possible. It’s best to schedule a consultation with us about which treatments or products will be the most effective for you. If you have uneven skin texture, you may want to use a non-invasive method like radiofrequency energy to increase your skin’s healing cycle.

Use More Anti-Aging Skincare Treatments

Don’t rely on topical anti-aging creams. If you’ve consumed alcohol regularly for several years, then you’ll likely need a personalized non-invasive wrinkle reduction treatment regimen. This treatment allows your skin to naturally boost its elastin and collagen production so you’ll have firmer, healthier, smoother, and younger-looking skin. Best of all, there is no recovery time or downtime. 

Photofacial Treatment Regimen

A personalized photofacial treatment regimen can help you reduce the look of facial vascular marks, broken blood vessels, sunspots, and other kinds of skin damage. Innovative IPL treatments reach under your skin’s surface target the pigments in that area, which helps eliminate discoloration and establishes a more youthful appearance on your skin’s surface.  At Allurant, we have a team of highly-trained experts available to answer all your questions. Contact us for a complimentary consultation today and discover which treatments are right for you.

Sign-up for Our Monthly Newsletter and Get Our Best Beauty Tips, Tricks, and Hacks Free!