Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 7, 2020

The short answer is: Yes, alcoholism does affect your skin. Alcoholism has a negative impact on the skin. The good news is that some of it is reversible.

Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin?

Alcohol has several effects on the body and its organs. Alcoholism can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and many other undesirable effects.

When we consider the effects of alcoholism on the body, people don’t often consider what alcohol can do to the largest organ of the human body; the skin.

Alcohol Dehydration

When a person struggles with alcoholism, it is common to feel thirsty or dehydrated. This is a pretty common side effect of alcohol consumption.

Dehydration affects the skin by making pores more visible, wrinkles more pronounced, and overall elasticity decreases.

According to nutritionist Jairo Rodreguiz, those who suffer from long-term alcohol-induced dehydration, end up looking an average to 10 years older than they actually are.

Alcoholism And Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin condition that results in visible blood vessels and redness in the face (usually across the cheek area and forehead). Rosacea can affect the eyes, and also lead to rhinophyma (thickening of the skin on the nose, resulting in a bulbous appearance). There have been several studies that connect rosacea and alcohol.

According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology, two important facts were noted:

  • Red wine triggers rosacea in those who already have the disease
  • White wine and liquor have been identified as potential causes of rosacea in women

It appears that avoiding certain types of alcohol can lower chances of rosacea flare-ups in those who already have rosacea while avoiding others will lower the chances of developing rosacea. Even further, avoiding alcohol altogether will lower the risk for issues related to rosacea.

Inflammation And Alcoholism

When a person consumes alcohol, it causes blood to raise into the skin tissue. When blood rushes to these delicate tissues, it causes inflammation. This results in red, blotchy patches of skin, and can lead to ruddiness, discoloration, and dehydration.

When this level of inflammation is continued over long periods of time, like when a person is struggling with alcoholism and drinking often, it can cause premature aging of the skin.

Inflammation is the second leading cause of skin aging, after sun exposure.

Alcoholism, Malnutrition, And Your Skin

Consuming large amounts of alcohol over periods of time can lead to the body not being able to absorb necessary nutrients, leading to malnutrition. Not having proper nutrition will certainly affect your skin in a negative way.

Additionally, the body does not see alcohol as a usable nutrient, so the body works very hard to get the alcohol out of the system. The body slows or ceases other functions to remove the alcohol.

As a result of malnutrition, skin becomes dull, lifeless, saggy, blotchy, dry, flaky, red, and does not heal quickly.

Alcohol Is A Toxin

Alcoholism causes liver damage, cell damage, issues with the immune system, and can impede hormones and insulin production.

Alcohol acts as a diuretic, and when it pulls moisture out of your skin, the dehydration can also leave skin looking dull.

When a person with alcoholism continues to put a toxin like alcohol in their body, the effects can be observed in the skin. Puffiness under the eyes, acne, pasty skin, broken capillaries, or a red nose are just some of the effects of alcohol on the skin.

What Happens To Skin After You Stop Drinking?

To understand how the skin recovers when you stop drinking, it’s important to understand the changes that are happening in the body:

After one hour

The liver starts working overtime to get rid of the alcohol in the body, so every part of your body (including the skin) is being cleansed.

The pancreas produces more insulin than normal, which is a side effect of being in shock

After one day

Individuals who suffer from rosacea will see mild improvement of their rosacea symptoms. However, the skin still will be visibly blotchy and hasn’t rehydrated yet.

After one week

Skin will be noticeably improved. It will appear healthier and seem to have that “youthful” glow to it.

As the skin begins to heal from the inflammation and toxic exposure, it can cause breakouts. This is a result of the skin pushing out the toxins through the pores.

After one month

Skin will appear more hydrated, more color, and less swelling.

After one year

In most cases, after one year, the liver has repaired itself significantly. This can be observed by the appearance of your skin.

Skin will have a naturally radiant glow, and look healthier overall.

Will My Skin Heal Completely Without Alcohol?

Your skin will heal as much as it can, once alcohol is no longer being consumed.

The damage that repeated alcohol abuse does to other organs in the body is the same that it does to the skin. Some damage can be healed, but long-term, repeated alcohol exposure can cause irreversible damage.

Help Your Skin Heal From Alcohol Damage

Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to help your body recover from the damage that alcohol can cause:

  • exercise
  • stay hydrated
  • nutrition supplement – especially vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, E, and Omega 3
  • wear non-comedogenic makeup
  • remove make-up at the end of the day

The most important thing you can do to help your body recover from alcohol damage is to stop drinking alcohol.

Seeking Treatment For Alcoholism

It isn’t easy to stop drinking, and you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, many people struggling with alcohol abuse and alcoholism reach out to programs for assistance when they make the decision to stop drinking.

Finding a treatment facility that meets the needs of you or your loved one can seem complicated and overwhelming. We are here to help locate the program that will work to heal your body and help you start on your journey into a sober life.

Contact us today and let us work beside you to explore your options.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 7, 2020

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