Is Alcohol Getting Under Your Skin?

Alcohol affects your skin just like it does the rest of your body; it steals the good (hydration) and leaves the bad (bloating and dryness).

TLL talks to skin expert Amanda Von Hagen to reveal the top five effects that alcohol has on the skin and what you can do to reverse the damage.

The Government advises we should consume no more than 14 units a week, which is the equivalent to seven glasses of wine, 14 single measures of spirits, or seven pints of beer. But with the party season fast approaching, our alcohol intake is likely to increase, so it’s important to be aware of the damage it is doing to your skin.


As alcoholic drinks tend to be relatively high in sugar, especially wine and cocktails, it causes reactions in your skin which lead to spots. The sugar in alcohol can crystallise each one of your skin cells (glycation) which leads to fewer plump, supple cells and a duller complexion if you’re overindulging too often.


Alcohol has an inflammatory effect on our bodies which, over time, can cause our insides to become inflamed, presenting on the skin as redness and puffiness.


It’s no surprise that alcohol is incredibly dehydrating, not only is it a diuretic forcing the water out of our bodies, it also makes it far more difficult to rehydrate. This results in dry and flaky skin on top of fine lines and wrinkles, which are more visible due to the lack of fluid in your skin.

Microbiome disturbance

Alcohol can deplete the healthy levels of the important bacteria that live in our guts (microbiome). The microbiome helps to regulate the immune system, which is very important in managing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.

Hormone disruption

The sugar in alcohol can initiate an insulin response; elevated insulin can have a negative effect on thyroid and sex hormones, which then causes hormonal imbalance and can have an adverse effect on your skin.

How quickly does alcohol affect the skin and how long does it take to reverse its effects?

According to Amanda, “Unfortunately, the short-term effects are almost immediately visible; 24 hours after one night of excessive drinking (three drinks or more) your skin will appear dull, slack, lined, and sufferers of acne and rosacea will see flare-ups.

“After three days of abstaining from alcohol you might see a difference in your skin health. This is due to the liver having time to excrete alcohol, sugars and other ingredients, which means you don’t have to abstain completely if you take frequent breaks and refrain from over-consuming. It is also a good idea to drink water in intervals between drinking alcohol, to help to keep the skin hydrated.”

Amanda is international educator at Glo Skin Beauty UK,


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