Will Drinking Alcohol Cause Acne?

Martinis, daiquiris, and hurricanes, oh my! The amount of alcoholic beverages available at any given restaurant seems to grow every year.

Certain drinks become trendy thanks to social media influencers and television shows; it seems that alcohol has become more and more acceptable as the years whiz by.

An occasional drink is fine and, in some cases, even beneficial, but science has proven that heavy drinking can have some really nasty health consequences.

Liver damage, digestive disorders, and cancer are common outcomes, just to name a select few. Acne, as well, seems to stem from alcohol consumption.

Will Drinking Alcohol Cause Acne?

Alcohol Effects on Androgen

Alcohol increases the amount of male hormones in your body. Drinking raises your testosterone levels and, in turn, elevates your androgen, which is a key player in acne formation.

Oddly, drinking appears to also elevate estrogen, a hormone that actually decreases the chances of acne flaring, levels in females, indicating that alcohol consumption could have a greater impact on the skin of men, though more research is needed to prove this true.

Either way, there are more reasons that alcohol causes skin issues, meaning that the playing field is relatively equal since damage can come from many sources.

How Drinking Alcohol Cause Skin Irritation?

Another reason alcohol can cause skin irritation is because after drinking we actually sweat a low to moderate amount of alcohol out. This alcohol acts as a fuel for the bacteria on our skin, allowing them to move more quickly and multiply.

This, in turn, increases the chances of an acne breakout. Additionally, alcohol suppresses your immune system, lowering your body’s response to invading bacteria and viruses.

When your immune response is lessened, you are more likely to fall victim to a bacterial attack.

This is especially true in those who drink heavily and/or often, as their body does not get a chance to fully recover between drinking binges. This also increases inflammation, allowing acne to spread more freely.

Why to avoid alcohol in your skin care products?

Alcohol is also incredibly drying. Think about it: when you need to mix in something that will evaporate what do you choose? Alcohol.

There are countless articles about avoiding it as an ingredient in skincare products and makeup yet here we are putting it inside of our bodies where it can do even more damage. There are many reasons why you should prefer using natural products in your skin care.

When your skin is dry, it is more prone to sun damage, which can, in turn, open you up to more frequent and severe acne flares. Your skin will experience more microtears which act as tiny doorways to acne causing bacteria.

The dryness alone is enough to be concerned over, as it can be accompanied by flaking and itching, but as a whole it can be an actual health risk.

How Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

Your blood sugar plays a key role in your skin’s health. Consuming an overly sugary, blood sugar spiking diet can cause acne to spread at a much higher rate than that of a healthy, nutrient rich diet.

Alcohol can cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, creating a crazy ride of highs and lows. When your blood sugar is high, your body produces insulin to help regulate it back to a safe level.

This, in turn, triggers the release of androgen, which we all know causes acne formation and increased levels of inflammation.

Many people drink alcohol in the form of delicious mixed drinks.

Margaritas, daiquiris, mojitos, bahama mamas, and similar drinks may be tasty but they also contain incredibly high amounts of sugar.

This sweet mix can increase your blood sugar’s spiking, resulting in a harsher hangover and even higher chances of breaking out. Sangrias are especially irritating, as they contain red wine and sugary juice, both of which have been explicitly tied to severe breakouts.

What to drink to cause the less damage to your skin?

As crazy as it sounds, if you are drinking and want to be kind to your skin, shots are the way to go. A single shot of clear liquor has the least impact on your face!

It is important to remember that this is only true if you consume just a single shot. Vodka, tequila, and gin are all clear liquors that contain lower amounts of acne triggering, inflammation causing chemicals.

If dark drinks are more your thing, whiskey and rum are a good second choice. They contain lower amounts of congeners than other forms of alcohol. Congeners are created as a result of fermentation and have been know to attribute to skin aging and inflammation.

Beer has been known to cause flaring in those with skin issues like eczema and rosacea. This is due to it containing higher levels of sodium, which can contribute to dryness and inflammation.

Additionally, white wine can cause similar reactions as well as bloating. Red wines famously contain anti aging properties but, unfortunately, also run the highest risk of causing skin breakouts due to them causing a histamine release in some people.

The anti-aging benefits are also questionable, as it is likely that any positive effects of alcohol will be undone by the heftier levels of negative effects.

Final Thoughts

The key when drinking is to remember to exercise control. Moderation is incredibly important and will help keep you from waking up with a nasty hangover or intense breakout.

One to two drinks a day is considered moderate drinking. Five ounces of wine is a serving. If you prefer beer, twelve ounces is one drink’s worth.

One and a half ounces of liquor is a drink, as well. Keeping your intake low allows you to still enjoy the social aspects of drinking without damaging your body.

Ideally, most doctors would like your alcohol consumption levels to be firmly stationed at zero but there are few health risks to occasional, low intake drinking.

Why do you feel merry when you drink alcohol? It’s because alcohol is toxic to your body!

If you feel you are drinking excessively and do not know how to stop, consider reaching out to a medical professional or loved one for assistance.

Your skin will thank you!