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Skin Rashes From Alcoholism & Liver Disease

By Isobel Washington ; Updated July 27, 2017

Alcoholism causes liver abnormalities, and its progression causes liver disease, which affects other organs of the body, including the skin.

Alcohol & The Liver

The liver is crucial to total body health, performing over 400 functions per day, according to the University of Southern California's Department of Surgery. One of its main functions is detoxifying the body, and it responsible for metabolizing alcohol, hence its extreme vulnerability to alcohol abuse. A damaged liver cannot protect the body from other effects of alcohol.

Red Skin Inflammation

Because an abnormal liver cannot remove toxins and wastes properly, cannot properly retain or distribute vitamins and nutrients, and cannot properly metabolize fat or sugar for normal blood circulation, visible skin affects of redness and inflammation occur. These effects are common on the skin of the palms and soles.


Itchy skin, or pruritis, is a consequence of heavy drinking and liver disease. This occurs due to dehydration and dryness, poor blood circulation and the formation of lumps of fat in the skin due to the liver's inability to properly metabolize fat.


Alcoholism and liver malfunction affects the nervous system, overheating the body and affecting normal blood sugar levels, often resulting in hives. Hives are red, bumpy rashes that come and go for varying lengths of time and often appear on the most sensitive areas of the skin, such as the chest and forearms.

Flushed Facial Skin

A flushed facial appearance is common for heavy drinkers and especially those with liver disease, because the skin exhibits more broken capillaries and blood vessels. This is because the blood lacks nutrients and oxygen and "reaches out" at the surface of the skin.


Jaundice is another effect of alcoholism and liver disease and is characterized by yellow skin.

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