How alcohol can damage your skin

Alcohol damage on the skin
Photo by Serge Esteve

Alcohol has far reaching effects on the skin, just as it has on the rest of the organs of the body. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of people aged 18 or older in the U.S. reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime, while 56 percent reported that they had consumed alcohol in the past month. According to other national surveys, one in six U.S. adults were reported to indulge in binge drinking four times a month, consuming around 8 drinks or more in a session.

However, is it drinking heavy alcohol on a regular basis that has an impact on the skin or will be drinking alcohol moderately have the same impact on the skin? Let’s look at some of the facts related to the impact of alcohol on our skin.

Alcohol Depletes Your Skin Of Moisture

Alcohol interferes with the production of Vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone. The kidneys remove water from the rest of the system and send fluid to the bladder. This leaves your skin dehydrated which causes the wrinkling of the skin.

Robs The Body Of Vitamin A

Alcohol depletes the body of Vitamin A, which is essential for cell renewal. As a result, the skin is robbed of its bright and fresh appearance and takes on a dull look.

Leaves The Skin Flushed

Alcohol increases the blood flow, causing dilation of the blood vessels in the face. It may also cause the bursting of these vessels, leaving the skin flushed and with red spots that are difficult to heal. Alcohol also causes inflammation of the tissue, and systemic inflammation to the skin. This results in a histamine reaction, which causes flushing of the skin.

It’s Time You Change Your Relationship With Alcohol

The pertinent question is – can one regain youthful skin if one gives up on alcohol or starts drinking moderately? The good news is yes, skin, like other organs of the body, has the ability to regenerate. However, the regeneration depends on the extent of damage already done to the collagen.

If you wish to continue drinking to some extent, then you can limit the damage by drinking clearer alcohols, such as vodka, gin or tequila as they are flushed out of the system more quickly than other alcoholic beverages.

Limit your drinking to once or twice in a week. As you get older, it takes longer for the drink to be flushed out of your body. Once you are in your 40’s, limit your drinking to once a week to lower the damage to your skin.

Drink more water to increase the diuretic effect. Hydrating yourself from within is the only way to combat the drying effects of alcohol.


Alcohol wreaks havoc on your appearance, but also seriously affects your overall health. Limiting your alcohol intake will not only help you retain your youthful looks but also keep you in better health for a long time.