8 min read

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

Female hand closing a glass with alcohol

Alcohol—our favorite social lubricant or skin saboteur? We raise our glasses to celebrate, but what happens to our skin when the party’s over? Almost everyone has a glass or two from time to time, right? Sometimes a bit more. Sometimes more than just sometimes and much more than a couple of glasses. Sounds worrying? Honestly, it is. Alcohol reaches all tissues of the body and affects most vital functions. We are not about to explain what damage it does to your entire body, but we are gonna talk about what it does to the largest organ - to the skin because in FOREO we know a lot about skin. 

What Does Alcohol Do to Your Face?

It does a lot, and sadly, there is no positive effect. You might feel more relaxed or more confident, but the negative lasting effects are hugely overpowering those short-term effects you feel while or shortly after alcohol consumption. According to nutritionists, alcohol is one of the most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin, and it affects our complexion severely.  This "news" might be a joy killer, but here is what you are doing to your skin:

  1. Dehydration (diuretic) effect
  2. Less elasticity 
  3. More wrinkles or existing wrinkles seem more pronounced
  4. Skin looking dull, unhealthy, tired, and older
  5. Destroying collagen
  6. Skin problems like rosacea (redness, dilated blood vessels, small red bumps, pus-filled spots on the face)

Dehydration (Diuretic) Effect

First and foremost, alcohol dehydrates the skin. Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much water and other fluids that it needs to work normally. You can have one or more symptoms like feeling thirsty, having a dry or sticky mouth, not urinating too much, or having dark yellow urine; you can even have a headache, muscle cramps, and dry, cool skin. Dehydration happens each time you drink alcohol. When you drink, the dehydrating (known also as diuretic) effect of alcohol means your skin loses fluid and nutrients that are vital for your body and healthy, glowing skin Want some hard facts to back this up? A study in Psychopharmacology revealed that alcohol suppresses vasopressin—the antidiuretic hormone that regulates kidney function. Low vasopressin levels signal your kidneys to excrete more water, leaving you dehydrated and your skin gasping for a sip. So, when you’re nursing that cocktail, know that your skin is silently protesting.

Less Elasticity

One of the first visible effects of dehydration is elastosis, or the loss of elasticity. Elasticity is the ability of the skin to stretch. When there is less elasticity, there is less ability to stretch. This is highly correlated with the fact our skin contains collagen and elastin. As alcohol steadily destroys collagen, the skin will lose its elasticity over time and look saggy, crinkled, or leathery. https://www.foreo.com/mysa/how-to-properly-hydrate-skin-and-slow-the-signs-of-aging/

More Wrinkles or Existing Wrinkles Seem More Pronounced

The morning after. Does it seem like there are more wrinkles? Or do the existing wrinkles seem more pronounced and visible? Again, one step leads to another, and this state is caused by dehydration

Skin Looking Dull, Unhealthy, Tired, and Older

It is also possible one can experience one or many different symptoms of the complexion. The skin can look dull, and grey, it might be bloated and puffy. One can also experience dryness, flushing, and dark circles under the eyes.

Destroying Collagen

As mentioned above, alcohol disrupts the production of collagen. By doing that, alcohol actually leaves our skin much weaker and the result of this loss of collagen is more wrinkles, more sagging, and generally older-looking skin. No need to emphasize that alcohol’s effect on the aging process is much deeper than the skin. This study was conducted to research the effects of alcohol on collagen. [caption id="attachment_17629" align="alignnone" width="1200"]A young woman with curly hair looking at herself at the bathroom mirror, smiling The first thing to be seen after you stop drinking alcohol is a healthier-looking complexion.[/caption]

Other Skin Conditions (Like Rosacea)

Alcohol reaches all tissues of the body and affects most vital functions. There are a lot of different skin manifestations that are related to alcohol consumption. The most common one is probably rosacea, but there are many more, such as seborrheic dermatitis, urticarial reactions, etc. The bottom line is that regular alcohol consumption can cause serious disorders that can lead to or aggravate a variety of skin conditions. If you have a concern over your skin and you think your skin does require an expert’s attention, contact your dermatologist immediately. You can do a lot about rosacea and psoriasis, just need to learn about them. Alcohol’s inflammatory dance partners—histamines and cytokines—can trigger breakouts. These compounds activate immune responses, leading to redness, swelling, and the formation of pimples. Additionally, alcohol dehydrates the skin, which can exacerbate acne by disrupting the skin’s natural barrier function. This comprehensive study explores the effects of alcohol consumption on various skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. It has been found that alcohol consumption triggers and exacerbates skin tumors, and considering the potential risks involved, reduction or avoidance of alcohol consumption should be advocated to reduce the occurrence of neoplastic skin diseases. This study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that the women who drank alcohol had a higher risk of developing rosacea than the women who didn’t drink. The study also proved the higher the alcohol percentage, the greater the chance of developing rosacea.

Ever Heard of “Wine Face”?

If you think you are crazy when you look at yourself in the mirror and think you look older because of alcohol consumption, you're not crazy. The fact is that alcohol can make you look older than you are. It all comes down to dehydration; it can sap your skin from moisture and elasticity, leading to sagginess, dryness, and wrinkles.

How to Reduce the Effects of Alcohol on Your Skin?

While the obvious option would be quitting alcohol altogether, it's understandable that you want to enjoy it occasionally and may not want to give it up entirely. To reduce its impact on your skin and overall health, try consuming alcohol in moderation and take active steps to protect your skin and well-being. Here are our tips:

1. Stay Hydrated

It may seem obvious, but one of the most effective ways to support your skin's health is by staying properly hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water helps maintain skin hydration from the inside out. Additionally, using a deep hydration device, such as UFO™ 3, can further boost moisture levels. The device uses warming thermo-therapy and gentle T-sonic™ massage to push the active ingredients from your face mask deep into the skin, where they work best, thus increasing moisture levels in the skin by 126% in a 2-minute treatment. 

2. Sleep With an Additional Pillow to Reduce Eye and Face Puffiness

Elevating your head slightly during the night can help prevent fluid accumulation under the eyes, reducing dark circles and puffiness. Research suggests that cooler temperatures during sleep do not disrupt the body's natural REM cycle, which results in better sleep quality. A good night's sleep can help your skin and body rejuvenate better, leaving you with a refreshed face in the morning.

3. Exercise

Regular exercise maintains overall fitness and well-being and enhances blood circulation to the skin, which makes the skin look healthy, radiant, and supple. 

4. Take Dietary Supplements

Alcohol can deplete your body's stores of vitamin A, which is crucial for cell turnover. By integrating a daily supplement, you can support cell rejuvenation. Also, consider supplements specifically formulated to promote skin, hair, and nail health, aiding in the repair of skin damage. Other beneficial supplements include vitamins C, E, B1, B6, B2, B3, and Omega 3, which can help restore balance to your skin.

5. Choose Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Abstaining from alcohol doesn't mean missing out on the pleasure of a sophisticated drink. Many bars and restaurants offer non-alcoholic alternatives to their cocktail selections. Additionally, non-alcoholic beer and wine are becoming increasingly popular. If you're committed to reducing alcohol consumption but crave a more flavorful option than water, there are plenty of fun choices to explore.

6. Take Time for Your Nighttime Skincare Routine

Regardless of your alcohol consumption, taking care of your skin before bed is essential. While it may be tempting to skip skincare after a late night, your skin benefits from the attention. This is particularly important when you drink alcohol. The first step is a thorough cleanse. We recommend LUNA™ 4, an ultra-hygienic silicone cleansing brush that removes 99% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue accumulated during the day (and night!). After a thorough cleanse, apply a nourishing moisturizer infused with antioxidants such as SUPERCHARGED™ Ultra-Hydrating Sleeping Mask to soothe and hydrate your skin. Products that calm the skin can soothe redness and inflammation.

After You Stop Drinking Alcohol, When Can You See the Effects on Your Skin?

You will see positive effects almost immediately. The majority are talking about a few days to a few weeks after they stop consuming alcohol. The first thing is a healthier-looking complexion. Our skin, as our entire body, has a remarkable ability to heal itself. It can heal trauma, so let your body regenerate. Quitting the consumption of alcohol or seriously cutting it back will lead to improvement. These are some of the benefits you may get after quitting alcohol:

  • Hydrated, plumper skin
  • Fewer wrinkles
  • Brighter skin
  • Smaller pores
  • Excessive redness will disappear
  • Acne may improve
  • Skin tone becomes even
  • Puffiness subsides
  • Flare-ups of rosacea become more infrequent

What to Do Next After Cutting Back on Alcohol?

When this huge step is behind you, you can do a few more things to support your skin in the recovery process. You should drink enough water, slowly starting to raise the daily amount. Don’t ever be too aggressive with your body; give it time to accommodate new habits. Eat a nutrient-rich diet; even consider a collagen supplement and introduce a proper but simple skin routine that you will be able to stick to. Since the effect of your complexion is a part of the entire problem caused by dehydration, you should take into account how you hydrate your skin. It is always good to talk to the dermatologist or skin advisor you trust and who knows your skin. You might learn about some specific aspects of getting your skin in shape.

Last, but Not Least... Include Beauty Tech Into Your Skincare Routine

You went a long way, doing all the right steps to get your skin in shape. There are numerous things to do, and don’t forget about the maintenance of your skin, as it needs a bit more of your time and attention. Among other tips and tricks, you can always do face yoga and reduce wrinkles and fine lines around eyes and lips. You can also try a microcurrent device to tone 69 muscles in your face and neck and lift and firm your skin. BEAR™ 2 is clinically proven to reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines after one week of use, as well as skin firmness and elasticity. And where alcohol depletes you of it, microcurrent devices make your cells produce more collagen and elastin.   The impact of alcohol on our skin is undeniable, affecting its appearance and overall health in various ways. As we've seen, alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, inflammation, and premature aging of the skin. Knowing the damage alcohol does to our skin should remind us to be moderate in our consumption. While enjoying an occasional drink is a personal choice, being mindful of how it affects our skin can empower us to quit or reduce alcohol (do we really need that third cocktail?). Incorporating hydrating skincare products and practices can help to soothe some negative effects of alcohol on our skin. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep is crucial for supporting skin health, especially after drinking alcohol. Remember that our skin is a reflection of our internal health, and being mindful regarding alcohol consumption can contribute to our long-term well-being.



MYSA user avatar
Lily Forman 15/02/2023

Thank you for sharing this, some of us needed to hear this. Cutting back is the only way no matter how it makes us feel momentarily.

MYSA user avatar
Joan 09/05/2023

Alcohol use can also have an impact on the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. Dr. Joan said, "It can also result in a disorder called rhinophyma, which is a bulbous swelling of the nose, commonly known as drinker's nose.


Leave a comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.