Effects of Alcohol on Skin

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An occasional drink while out with friends may not affect you much, but continually abusing alcohol will show on your face the next morning and possibly in the long term. Alcohol can do a number on your skin, making it look dry, dull and patchy. If you are concerned with your appearance, drinking should be done on an occasional basis only and avoided when possible to preserve healthy, plump, young-looking skin.

Blotchy Redness

You can often tell a heavy drinker by the tone and color of his face. Alcohol can cause broken capillaries in the face, resulting in a flushed and blotchy appearance, says clinical psychologist Michaele P. Dunlap. Drinking also makes your skin more susceptible to flushing and blushing, especially in the warm conditions of an overcrowded bar. A red face often persists well into the morning as a sign of a serious hangover.


When you drink alcohol, the blood vessels in your face can become restricted and stop delivering the amount of oxygenated blood to your skin that is necessary to keep it feeling hydrated. If you drink frequently, you may notice that your skin is dryer than normal or more susceptible to wrinkles through expression lines. This is because your skin is undernourished and starving for hydration through water.


Drinking alcohol can cause you to gain weight and retain water, thanks to high-calorie, nonnutritional drinks that are full of sugary syrups. Drinking can also lower your resolve when it comes to dieting, meaning that even the most astute health enthusiast can indulge in unhealthy foods while under the influence of alcohol. The result is a puffy, unhealthy look with dry skin and a noticeable lack of facial glow, according to Radford University.


The American Academy of Family Physicians warns against excessive drinking when you are concerned about the clarity of your skin. Alcohol can cause you to break out and have to deal with acne, whiteheads and other skin lesions. Excessive drinking may cause excess hormones in the body. Those hormones activate the sebaceous glands that cause your skin to overproduce oil on your skin, resulting in a broken out and pimply face.


The Daily Mail points out that drinking alcohol depletes your body of vitamin C, which is necessary for quick healing. Because of the lack of vitamin C, you may be more prone to bruises than normal when consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. The dehydration of the skin also means that it is less likely to cushion against injuries.