Alcohol: harmful effects on the face and skin


In this newsletter, we will discuss the harmful effects of alcohol on the face and skin. In addition, we will look at some tips to minimize these harmful effects.

Table of contents

The harmful effects of alcohol on our health are multiple! The effects on the brain, the nervous system and the liver are well known, but those on the face and skin are less well known.

Skin aging, rosacea, acne, dehydration... Excessive and regular consumption of alcohol can wreak havoc on the face and the skin in the long term. Physical or psychological problems can then set in.

Alcohol: harmful effects on the face and skin

1. Alcohol causes skin aging

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to premature aging of the skin. Combined with other factors, this aging process can be aggravated (overexposure to the sun, overeating, smoking, etc.) Alcohol is an "empty" calorie, which contains no nutrients for the body and exhausts the liver, causing general fatigue and a slowdown in cell renewal.

A study conducted by researchers at Kobe University in Japan on a cohort of patients showed that excessive alcohol consumption alters the composition of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that protect the DNA sequence and that shorten with age.  Of this cohort of 235 patients, 134 were alcoholics.

The scientists found that the alcoholic patients had shorter telomeres than other patients, putting them at risk of:

  • Premature aging of the skin;
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • Increased risk of diabetes;
  • An increased risk of cancer;
  • An increased risk of dementia.

2. Alcohol makes skin problems worse

Alcohol has inflammatory effects on the body and on the skin. It is in fact a powerful vasodilator that acts very quickly on the small vessels of the face.  

Not to mention the high sugar content of alcoholic beverages, which increases the glucose level in our blood and prevents the skin cells from regenerating properly. 

Swollen dark circles, gray complexion, redness... are all small inconveniences that, over time, leave visible traces on our face.

In addition, alcohol can also be a contributing factor to existing skin problems, such as :

  • Acne;
  • Rosacea;
  • Psoriasis;
  • The rhinophyma (large and bloody nose).

These skin problems are sometimes mistakenly associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol aggravates these problems, but is not the main cause.

3. Dehydration dries out the skin

Drinking alcohol tends to cause dehydration, as alcohol has a diuretic effect. This loss of water can also be the cause of the unpleasant sensation of "hangover".

The aesthetic consequences are then felt in the long term: the skin dries out, it becomes dull, wrinkles and fine lines are more pronounced.

To minimize the effects of these harmful elements on the aging of the skin, here are some tips:

  • The first thing to do is to drink in moderation, as much as possible;
  • When you drink a glass of alcohol, you should drink twice as much water! And after excessive consumption, it is necessary to hydrate a lot to compensate for dehydration (still water, broths, juices, etc.);
  • First of all, you must nourish your skin with appropriate care (water, creams, oils, masks, gels, etc.);
  • Take care of your liver, clean it regularly with phytotherapy (milk thistle, black radish, artichoke...).

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  • Study "Drinking Makes You Older at the Cellular Level", Research Society on Alcoholism, June 19, 2017.
  • Article "Alcohol and skin aging," Alcohol Help, July 2012. 
Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.