You might be wondering if your nights of boozing are causing your acne breakouts. The answer is - maybe! While there’s not a direct link between alcohol and acne, drinking alcohol could set you on a path of inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and dehydration; all of which can cause or inflame your acne.
In this article, we’ll break down the connection between alcohol and acne.
Currently, this is no research that supports a direct correlation between alcohol and acne. Meaning, one does not clearly cause the other. However, (surprise!) alcohol is simply not good for our bodies and could adversely affect the skin.
Alcohol is an oxidative stress-inducing toxin that provokes an inflammatory response. Despite the fact that we might enjoy a sense of stress relief after a few drinks -- in actuality, our bodies are stressing out when we drink! Anything that throws our bodies out of whack, and out of homeostasis, has a hormonal and metabolic consequence.
While alcohol and acne might not have a direct correlation, drinking is damaging to the body and this damage can put you on a speed train toward acne breakouts. Here are 3 boozing-related side effects that might indirectly cause or exacerbate your acne.
Alcohol is a diuretic that causes the body to flush out water and salt. When drinking in excess, if you don’t rehydrate with water, you (and your skin) will be left dehydrated. This alcohol-induced dehydration can cause your facial oil glands to overcompensate and produce excess sebum -- which can lead to acne breakouts. If you’re drinking often, this can cause a perpetual issue. Side note: having chronically dehydrated skin is also the best way to prematurely age your pretty face.
After a night out drinking, the toxin filtering liver is busy at work. When we enjoy an alcoholic drink, we’re consuming ethanol. Ethanol is then metabolized into the even more toxic chemical, acetaldehyde. If the liver isn’t able to properly remove toxins, the toxins might leave the body through other pathways such as the skin. The liver, and the hormones it regulates, have been shown to have a direct effect on skin health. Overtaxing the liver via excessive drinking may cause acne if the liver is not able to eliminate excess hormones or toxins.
Studies have shown that alcohol consumption can cause an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone. For both men and women, having higher than normal testosterone levels can cause hormonal acne. Alcohol has been shown to have an impairing effect on important glands that release hormones. This can disturb proper hormone release and balance. A hormonal disturbance or imbalance can cause acne. The sugar that is in most alcoholic drinks can also have an effect on hormone balance and skin health.
If you want to enjoy your drinkies and keep your skin looking beautiful, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Drink responsibly. A cocktail or two is not likely to throw your body into a state of inflammatory or hormonal disruption. However, excessive, chronic, or binge drinking can. So make sure to keep moderation top of mind.
To combat the effects of dehydration, drink an 8 oz glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. This will help keep your body (and skin) hydrated and may help reduce the risk of a hangover.
As the liver rids the alcoholic toxins from your body, use anti-inflammatory skin products like azelaic acid or vitamin C to help keep any inflammatory skin response under control.
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