Does alcohol cause acne?


While alcohol rarely causes acne directly it can indirectly affect your skin in many ways.

Should you become a teetotaler to avoid acne or can you drink yourself to oblivion on Saturday night and wake up with clear skin on Sunday afternoon?

Like anything related to acne how alcohol affects your skin varies between different people. Some people breakout after every drink, while others can drink as much as they want without any effect on their skin.

Even if you don’t notice any direct and immediate effect on your acne keeping drinks to the minimum can help you to get that permanently clear skin you dream of.

While there is little direct evidence that alcohol is linked to acne no one denies that alcohol is bad for your health. In the big picture what’s bad for your health is bad for your skin also.

Here are few examples of how drinking alcohol can cause acne.

  • Regular drinking depresses the immune system. Your immune system keeps the acne causing bacteria at bay. However weakened immune system makes it easier for p. acnes bacteria to colonize your skin pores.
  • Alcohol messes up your hormones. Acne is linked to imbalances in testosterone and estrogen balance (these hormones affect the rate at which your skin pores produce sebum, among other things).
  • Alcohol harms the liver. When it comes to getting clear the liver is perhaps the most important organ. It regulates many hormones, plays a role in maintaining steady blood sugar levels and removes toxins from your body. Anything that depresses the liver function is potentially bad for your skin.
  • Alcohol may aggravate Candida. This is especially true for drinks that contain yeast (beer) and sugars (cocktails and most mixed drinks). Candida overgrowth often leads to acne.
  • Alcohol causes dehydration. The body uses water to remove inflammatory toxins. Hydration slows down the detox process, which means these inflammatory toxins are pushed through the skin and potentially aggravate your acne.
  • Alcohol is an astringent that shrinks the skin pores and makes the more prone to clogging.
  • Alcohol inhibits sleep. A drink or two in the evening may help you to fall asleep easier but it worsens the quality of your sleep. Alcohol makes it harder for you to enter the deep sleep phases that are critical to health and clear skin.

Simply because alcohol may aggravate your acne doesn’t mean you have to become a teetotaler. It’s ok to have a life and go out with your friends. Total abstinence may cause social isolation, and the stress it causes is more damaging to your skin than downing few drinks occasionally.

In case of alcohol and acne moderation is the best policy.

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Comments on Does alcohol cause acne? Leave a Comment

lula @ 5:52 am #

drinking alcohol seems to make my acne clear up

lula @ 5:53 am #

drinking alcohol seems to clear up my acne

Taylor @ 1:48 pm #

@lula: Same? I was actually searching the web trying to look THAT up. It’s probably the “Alcohol is an astringent that shrinks the skin pores and makes the more prone to clogging.” point. But you know, doesn’t do that. ;)

Martin @ 5:58 am #

Every time I drink beer I break out within the next few days. It’s weird but this only happens with beer. No change in my skin after drinking vodka for example.

Barbara @ 5:59 am #

Victim To Vodka, lol

I used to go out to clubs and drink frequently (usually rum & cokes) ,with NO skin problems to speak of,… Since I’ve become a mother and choose to stay at home now if I decide to have a drink, my drink of choice usually is vodka mixed with either soda or OJ…. Since starting to drink the vodka.. my skin has started to break out.. When I stopped for awhile,and starting drinking more started to clear up. I am a firm believer that vodka and a lack of water does cause acne.

Robert @ 6:00 am #

alcohol affects your skin

I can’t say I have acne. My skin is great,but when I drink I seem to have what looks like acne. I almost have a small rash and a couple of small pimples. When I stop or slow down drinking my face is clear. I never have it, but when my girlfriend buys proactive (used it once) it helped. There must be something in it that stops allergies. I wish I knew of something that would let me drink and not have this.

Adriana @ 6:02 am #

Booze breaks me out too!

I’m having slot of trouble with the booze when I wake up the next morning. Within few days my face becomes a pimple plantation because I’m a heavy drinker. I drink too much for my body weight cuz I can take in a lot. Now the question I have is, are there any medications I could try to stop this acne alcohol related problems? Recommend me something! SOS!

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