Does Your Skin Have a Hangover? How Alcohol Affects Your Complexion

By November 19, 2018

Holiday party season is – as the saying goes – the time to “eat, drink, and be merry”, however, take that second part too far and your skin may pay the price. Read on to learn exactly how alcohol affects the skin.

With the holiday season approaching, the urge to indulge in festive foods and one too many cocktails is very real. And while one more cranberry martini at the end of the night might seem like a good idea at the time, when you wake up the next day, your reflection the next morning may beg to differ.

Alcohol is a toxin and regular consumption of it has many immediate effects on how your skin looks, and can have a long-term impact on how skin ages by impairing your skin’s ability to repair itself.

Read on to learn the risks, both immediate and prolonged, that come with bouts of excessive drinking.

Immediate Effects

If you struggle with rosacea and skin sensitivity, you’ll notice the effects of drinking on your skin right away, especially if you’re drinking red wine. For those with this common skin condition (which is not caused by alcohol, but rather aggravated by it), the histamines and tyramines in red wine cause an intense dilation of blood vessels, resembling a mild allergic reaction that can leave your skin looking more flushed and rosy than usual. If you have issues with rosacea, try white wine or clear liquor-based cocktails to avoid any skin flare-ups.

You may also notice that as the night goes on, your selfies are starting to look a little puffy and your shoes are feeling tighter than when the evening began. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body will start to retain whatever water it has to defend itself against the dehydrating effects of alcohol, resulting in uncomfortable bloating, swelling and puffiness from head to toe.

The Day After

For many, the effects of their drinking aren’t seen until after a night’s (un)rest. Drinking alcohol is the fastest way to dehydrate your body since it is a diuretic, which means that if you don’t drink plenty of water with your adult beverages, you will notice your skin looking dry and feeling tight and uncomfortable the next morning.

Not only that, alcohol has an effect on how much blood flows to the skin, as it widens smaller blood vessels in the face, leaving skin looking flushed and feeling warm to the touch after consuming alcohol, sometimes for many days after.

Finally, if you’ve been drinking cocktails with a high sugar content, you may notice breakouts in the days that follow thanks to a spike in glucose levels which can lead to an overproduction of sebum and the development of new pimples.

If you’ve overindulged, replenish your body’s hydration levels with water, herbal tea or an electrolyte drink, and soothe any irritation with a sheet mask like the cooling Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Sheet Mask, which has erythritol, an ingredient known to lower the skin’s temperature, and centella asiatica to repair damage and bamboo charcoal purify enlarged pores.

Long-Term Effects

Regular drinking over extended periods of time can eventually lead to severe inflammation in the body. Due to the enlarged blood vessels, skin may develop broken capillaries that will leave the complexion looking permanently flushed, particularly around the nose and cheeks.

Alcohol can also lead to liver damage and gut health issues, which will negatively impact the body’s ability to flush out toxins and properly digest food. Inflamed digestive organs will have a drastic impact on the appearance of the skin, with poor gut health showing up for many in the form of hormonal breakouts, eczema, and excessive sebum production.

The repetitive dehydration caused by regular heavy drinking can also impact your skin’s ability to repair and rehydrate itself, leading to skin that looks uneven in tone, a more heavily lined texture and an overall appearance of slackened skin that lacks youthful density.

Bottom Line

Just like how what we eat impacts our skin, so does what we drink. Next time you reach for another cocktail, think about how it might harm your complexion in the long run. Enjoy responsibly, drink with a meal whenever possible, and always remember to drink plenty of water for happy, healthy skin.

+What are your go-to skin hangover remedies? Share them in the comments below!