Does Alcohol Cause Acne? The Truth You May Not Want to Hear
April 04, 20225 min read
It’s been a long week (or perhaps just a long Monday) and you’re ready to pour yourself a glass of red after work. But wait, is imbibing going to undo all the effort you’ve put into your skincare routine?
Does alcohol cause acne?
The answer is: sort of. But maybe not in the ways you think. We’re explaining the connection between booze and those pesky pimples below.
What Is the Relationship Between Alcohol and Acne?
Alcohol doesn’t directly cause acne. However, just like stress, caffeine, and other things that aren’t great for you in excess, alcohol can disrupt your body’s balance in ways that promote breakouts.
For one thing, too much alcohol can compromise your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off viruses, bacteria and infections. This may look like coming down with a cold more often than you’d like, or it may look like an unfortunate outbreak of zits.
Alcohol in excess can also lead to inflammation. Or it can lead you to consume more foods that cause inflammation (late night pizza, we’re looking at you). It can cause oxidative stress, and it can overload your liver with toxins. All of these problems can show up as pimples.
And as you likely know if you’ve woken up parched after a night of indulging, alcohol also leads to serious dehydration. When your skin gets thirsty, it tries to solve the problem by creating more oil, which in turn clogs your pores and causes breakouts.
And finally, having too much to drink can wreak havoc on your hormones, which also affect how much oil your skin produces and can lead to breakouts.
What About Alcohol in Skincare?
Different types of alcohol are found in many skincare products, and can lead to dry skin. In turn, you may see acne as a result. Check the ingredients on all of your skincare products to make sure you’re not using anything that contains alcohol. It’s especially common in toners, which is why we formulated a nourishing, alcohol-free option .
Make Sure It’s Not an Alcohol Allergy
Some folks are allergic to alcohol, which can lead to symptoms that look like acne (but aren’t). If you’re allergic to alcohol, you may experience red skin and hives. You’re also likely to have nausea or even trouble breathing. Consult with your doctor if you think you may have an alcohol allergy. Chances are you’ll need to eliminate alcohol from your diet altogether, rather than just reduce it.
How Do I Drink Without Getting Acne?
This is the question of the hour! The good news is that for most people, it’s totally possible to enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage without breaking out. Not only that, but we think you should indulge once in a while--if you want to, of course.
If having a glass of wine with friends brings you serious joy and helps you unwind, that’s hardly unhealthy. Feeling joyful is excellent for your physical health, and reduced stress hormones means your body can allocate more resources to repairing your skin and helping it glow.
Of course, it nearly goes without saying that if you prefer not to drink, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself, and we don’t advocate picking up a bottle if you prefer not to.
At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. You may opt for a fun mixed drink at one event and choose a gut-healing glass of kombucha at the next (which also has a bevy of skin-healthy benefits, we might add.)
Here are a few other ways to drink with your skin in mind:
Choose a Healthier Type of Alcohol
The words “alcohol” and “healthy” don’t typically cross paths, unless you’re talking about red wine. It turns out that in moderation, the antioxidants in red wine are excellent for your physical health, and that includes your skin.
You’ll see fewer positive effects (and more negative ones) if you choose a wine that’s full of sulfates, though. So opt for one that’s sulfate-free and preferably organic.
You may also be surprised to learn that college you was onto something when you spent one too many wild nights with a shot glass of tequila . Again--we can’t emphasize this enough--moderation is key here, but tequila is actually one of the “cleaner” alcohols that you can consume. Just be sure to opt for one that is made from 100% agave, and it’s always good to go organic when you can.
Finally, be mindful of your mixers! Nothing is going to provide maximum benefit to your skin if it’s mixed with sugary juices and sodas. If you don’t prefer your tequila straight up, experiment with adding coconut water or even aloe juice for some added hydration.
Add Rather Than Subtract
Here at Wild Ice, we’re all about abundant nourishment, which means we’d rather focus on what you can add to nourish your body, rather than fixating on what you need to subtract.
If you know you’re going to be consuming alcohol in the evening, be mindful of what you’re going to eat during the day. First and foremost, eat an adequate amount of food--this is not the time to skimp on calories. Additionally, see if you can make that food extra nutrient dense. Focus on fruit and veggies with every meal.
If you’re hosting at your home, try serving your cocktails with water-rich vegetables and fruits like watermelon and cucumber. And as always, have a big pitcher of ice water on hand so guests can stay hydrated between drinks.
And while we’re on the subject, being mindful of what you pair with your alcohol is important for another reason: it may be contributing to or causing your acne! If you’re only having one drink, but pairing it with a big plate of cheesy nachos, you may see some breakouts.
Develop an Excellent Self Care Routine
Nourishing and caring for your body before and after drinking is essential if you want to maintain good skin health. Get plenty of rest, hydration and exercise. But word to the wise: sweating out a hangover isn’t actually a thing. At least according to science. If you feel better hitting the gym after you drink, that’s likely due to the uplifting power of endorphins. But working out too hard can actually dehydrate you further, potentially worsening the effects of alcohol. So stick with a low-key yoga practice instead.
This is also the time to head-off any potential acne with a toxin-free, nutrient dense skincare routine. You’ll want to load up on the Vitamin C to stop inflammation before it starts, and a deeply-hydrating moisturizer to help skin that’s a little parched.
We’ve made it easy to care for your skin post-drink (and every day) with our entirely cold-kept, preservative-free skincare line, which feels especially luxurious and indulgent going on after you’ve had a drink or two. (Not that we would know!) You can grab our four core products at a discounted rate with our four-step facial set . Give it a try today and see your skin glow, even after a night out on the town.
Mila (pronounced 'mee-luh') is mother of three, wife, and founder of Wild Ice, an all-natural cold-preserved skincare line dedicated to bringing the best of care to women everywhere.
I can’t say enough about all the Wild Ice products! The toner is light and refreshing and is the perfect addition to my skin routine. I highly recommend all her products if you are craving beautiful skin!
Started this 4 step set 2 weeks ago and was hooked after the 1st day. Can't wait to post my 6 week progress photo. With each use I keep changing my mind to which one is my favorite. I look forward every morning and evening to the fresh feel of washing and moisturizing my face. Thank you Mila for this beautiful product.
I have used several cleansers over the years and since trying the B-Meltee, I always come back to this product. It is a clean fragrance as well as a clean feeling without drying out my skin. I would recommend this product to all ages and all skin types. It will not disappoint, I promise.
I began using the cryo- C about six weeks ago and my skin has never looked better!
I began using the cryo- C about six weeks ago and my skin has never looked better! The first thing you notice is how wonderful it smells, the second thing you notice is how it glides on and gives you an instant glow, and the next thing you notice overtime is that it provides a permanent dewy glow with diminished discoloration‘s and lines! I love love love this product! I’m 58❤️
Best products ever - and that’s from a very picky user!
This is truly the best system I’ve ever used. My skin is healthier - I’ve always had dry skin and finally it feels hydrated and the difference is visible. It even stayed hydrated feeling and looking on a 5 day ski trip, which always especially drys out my face. I’ve also had redness on my cheeks and that is slowly but noticeably decreasing. I gave wild ice to my daughters and best friend for Christmas as well and they are so happy with it and agree it’s a game changer for our skin. Thank you!
This class was such a great experience. Mila explains how the muscles in your face work and how to use her products to enhance your face and glow. I had so much fun as this class and I would definitely go to another one!
This cleanser is light and refreshing, but does the heavy lifting of cleaning my face daily! I love how refreshed my face feels afterward- not dry or tight; just soft and clean! I have used Mila’s 4 step program for a year now and my skin has never looked better! I’m absolutely obsessed with each step and the benefits my skin has gotten from them. Clear, glowing, soft skin!
The entire Wild Ice line of products are what my skin responds to over any other product I've ever used. I do not hesitate to put any new Wild Ice product on my skin knowing I can trust the ingredients to do the job well. Just smelling the freshness of the products is a daily pleasure. And look no further than Mila's gorgeous skin for inspiration :)