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Does Alcohol Cause Acne?

Acne breakouts are among the most severe issues affecting daily lifestyle factors. Going out on your date or preparing for a festive occasion, a pimple on the face might be the day spoiler for you.

There are multiple reasons why pimples occur and one of them can be alcohol consumption. But how?

Well, alcohol forms the direct link between disrupting skin conditions and producing excess oil.

Bacteria and clogged pores are the essential reasons behind ruined skin health. But the other truth is that alcohol consumption can trigger acne breakouts.

So, even though drinking alcohol does not directly affect skin health, it does influence your bodily systems, like hormone levels. In turn, this intensifies the problem of acne breakouts.

1. Connection between Alcohol Consumption and Acne Breakouts

There are several connections that one may draw between alcohol consumption and acne breakouts. The common ground in every connection between the two is alcohol affects the immune system in the worst way possible.

Your immune system is built of several protective cells. White blood cells are the most popularly known to fight against foreign invaders in your body, such as fungi and viruses. Cytokines are also essential protective proteins to control the activity and growth of blood cells and other immune system cells. But imagine, if you depend on alcohol intake, what can it lead to?

Alcohol shall decrease the amount of these protective cells in your immune system and make you vulnerable to several infections.

Dr. Murphy Rose from New York states that alcohol consumption greatly affects the gut, leading to P.acnes and the invasion of other acne-associated bacteria. These bacteria are famous for causing pimples and cysts.

Even though P.acnes may break out at any point in time, alcohol intake makes the immune system even more susceptible. So, it is good to keep an eye out for such factors. Other factors that add up to the connection between acne breakouts and alcohol consumption are listed below.

So, read ahead!

1.1. Hormones and Alcohol Consumption, A Must-Noted Reason

Hormones are the chemical messengers to the body’s tissues. So, when your system of hormones works well, an accurate amount is released at the right time. However, alcoholic drinks impair glandular functions and may lead to unwanted medical issues.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Hormones?

For instance, Alcohol can decrease testosterone levels in men; it has also been proven that alcohol leads to testosterone deficiencies in men. Other studies have proven that alcohol may also accelerate estradiol levels in women.

Just like alcohol affects testosterone levels in men and estradiol in women, it also stimulates one’s oil glands. Increased oil or sebum production leads to clogged pores and, consequently, acne-prone skin and bad skin health.

1.2. Inflammation in Skin and Alcoholic Drinks

The Surprising Ways Alcohol Affects Your Skin

Here’s another connection to be noted. Several reasons for inflammation include increased hormone levels, autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, and high-sugary alcoholic drinks.

The third reason is as significant as the others. One’s body processes alcohol in the form of sugar. This results in skin inflammation.

A certain study presented in the National Library of Medicine in 2014 stated an improvement in skin health and reduction of acne-prone skin conditions after consuming low Glycemic index food continually for 10 weeks.

Low-GI diet food includes green vegetables, carrots, lentils, and kidney beans. One may choose almond milk, green tea, and coconut water instead of sugary soft drinks like alcohol.

Even though putting control over consuming alcohol is the key to a low GI diet assisting healthy skin and reducing skin problems, one must also cut back in other spaces to extract the exact benefits.

1.3. Alcohol and Dehydration

Why Does Alcohol Dehydrate the Body?

If you are addicted to alcoholic beverages and are dealing with alcohol abuse, there’s a high chance of you being dehydrated. Alcohol is a diuretic beverage. Regular intake of alcohol leads to an increase in urine production in your system.

This flushes out the water present in your body unless you alternate between alcohol and water at regular intervals.

Frequent urine production may leave you dehydrated and cause acne. Even moderate drinking comes at a great cost.

So, when your skin lacks water, your oil glands try to compensate for the loss. However, it’s not helpful because it only increases the risk of acne development. So, do not simply wonder about “Does alcohol cause acne?” work on it!

Next time you reach for a sip of cocktail or wine, remember that you might pay for it with your appearance.

Pandemic Drinking: Why is Alcohol so Dehydrating?

1.4. Alcohol and Liver Function

The function of the liver cells is to remove harmful toxins from the body. Alcohol is one of those substances that the liver filters.

However, continual filtering of alcohol leads to the death of liver cells. Binge drinking overwhelms the liver to the extent that it may not be able to remove harmful toxins from the body. This leads to acne development and excess oil production.

The Stages of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

2. Types of Alcohol that Lead to Acne Breakout

Not all types of alcohol have the same effect on the acne. Drinking alcohol causes acne, but certain types of alcohol trigger inflammation stronger than others.

A report presented by the National Rosacea Society stated that specific types of alcoholic drinks trigger rosacea and worsen acne. Seventy-six percent of the participants reported that red wine made the condition worse. Some specific types of alcohol and their effects are mentioned below for your ease:

  • Dark liquors are popular for large quantities of congeners. The more the amount of congener, the more the risk of dehydration. Hence, it increases blood sugar and, consequently, inflammation.
  • Clear liquors like vodka and tequila are often mixed with drinks. In this case, congeners are low in amount. However, too much clear liquor leads to similar symptoms as dark liquors. Hence, this leads to dead skin cells, triggering existing acne vulgaris. So, clear liquors are a big no-no, too.
  • Beer has got a congener called furfural. This yeast inhibitor contributes to dehydration and premature aging as well.
  • When consumed in excess, white wine also contributes as a direct link to dry skin and hormone imbalances. This occurs due to the congeners known as tannins present in white wine.
  • Red wine has the most retarding effect on the skin. Not only does it have a high amount of tannins, but It also leads to inflammation of blood vessels and adversely affects the skin.

3. The Solution to Opt to Reduce Alcohol’s Effects on Skin Inflammation

Giving up on drinking entirely may not be entirely commendable to you. Well, you do not need to do that. Moderation is the solution.

Alcohol and acne are closely related. But you can moderate the relation with lifestyle changes. So, you can maintain your insulin levels with a glass of red wine in your hand!

3.1. Some Normal Lifestyle Changes to Follow

Does alcohol cause acne? Yes. But you can work on it with some lifestyle changes. According to the Mayo Clinic moderation for women is up to one drink daily. For men, two drinks every day is the best for men under sixty-five while one drink is for the ages above that.

The amount of drinking alcohol is not the same for all alcohol types. You need to drink alcohol considering the choice of alcohol to maintain a clear skin condition.

The classification of different drinking alcohol is to be noted:

  • wine’s one drink is 5 ounces
  • Beer’s one drink is 12 ounces
  • liquor’s one shot is 1.5 ounces

Hydrating masks may also be considered to control the issue of alcohol and acne. Too Faced brand’s replenishing primer is great for achieving a hydrating effect on the skin. This keeps the skin properly hydrated and reduces the chances of acne vulgaris and hangover symptoms.

pexels fernanda latronico 1560546
By Fernanda Latronico/ Pexels Copyright 2018

Consuming alcohol causes acne. But more than that it leads to other associated problems such as hormonal imbalances and disruption of menstrual cycle function. However, the effects of alcohol may be controlled if alcohol is consumed in moderation.

Causing dehydration is one of the main functions of any alcohol. Thus, leading to acne production. Mixed drinks tend to worsen acne conditions. So, it’s wise to avoid punches and cocktails, no matter how well one likes it.

One should also focus on hydration to effectively remove toxins and maintain liver function. Depending excessively on any alcoholic drink raises blood sugar and will adversely affect your lifestyle. So, keep a look out for what alcohol may cause and work on that.

If you benefit from this article, do not hesitate to check out other write-ups. I bet they won’t disappoint!


1) What skin disease is caused by Alcohol?

Discoid Eczema occurs in cases where one frequently depends on alcohol abuse.

2)What are the side effects of consuming alcohol?

Consuming alcohol not only leads to acne-prone skin issues. It also causes facial flushing and worsens the asthma issue.

3)How does alcohol affect premenopausal women?

Testosterone levels are affected in pre-menopausal women. If young women consume alcohol it causes inflammation as PubMed Central reports.

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Sunanda Basu