What’s a celebration without a bit of alcohol, right?
The other day, I caught myself staring into the half-empty wine glass, thinking… ”does alcohol make you break out?”
It’s common knowledge that food does but what about alcohol? I put down my glass of wine and began doing my rabbit-hole research that leads to all these great blog posts that you’re reading! 🙂
Here’s what I found.
Drinking alcohol doesn’t cause acne (breakouts) directly. But your glass of beer, wine, champagne, and other spirits can affect acne in another way. Alcohol disrupts blood sugars, hormone levels, and the immune system. And when disrupted, all these can have detrimental effects on your skin health
Let’s elaborate on all these and how alcohol influences acne. Pour yourself a glass of water for now, and read on, lovely!
Alcohol and acne: What's the deal?
Reading Google headlines will tell that drinking alcohol causes acne. Or what about this common one “Alcohol is causing you acne”.
But is that really true?
You hear it from friends, family, and the concerned lovely old lady who sat beside you on the bus.
I’m sorry to burst their bubble, but there is no direct link between alcohol consumption and acne. As I’m writing this, there are no research directly linking alcohol consumption and acne.
There is nothing in the alcoholic itself that clogs and infect pores.
So myth busted!
But it doesn’t end there. While drinking alcohol doesn’t cause acne, it can sure make it worse.
As I was researching this topic, I found an interesting study on acne.
The 2011 study points out that alcohol consumption is one of the factors worsening acne.
This study was done to assess acne sufferers in Korea. The researchers studied what factors were significant among the 1236 patients. Among the factors they listed was – you guessed it – alcohol consumption!
But, the study did not elaborate how alcohol aggravated acne… But don't worry, I sure won’t leave you hanging!
How Alcohol Dries Up Your Skin
A well-hydrated skin is a happy skin!
And what better way to hydrate your skin than with a glass of wine?
…No, that doesn’t sound right. The “w” word you want here is not wine but water.
Water is, without a doubt, the best beverageto keep you hydrated, including your skin. Alcohol is the direct opposite because it is a diuretic, meaning, every gulp of your favorite alcoholic drink increases your need to urinate.
The kidneys expel excess water instead of routing them to your organs like the skin. Less hydration for your skin means dry, cracked, and flaky skin.
To combat the dryness, your skin can be prompted to produce more oils. More oil means a higher chance of getting clogged pores and breaking out. So excessive alcohol drinking is a surefire way of dehydrating your skin!
How alcohol, sugars, and breakouts are linked
A sure way of triggering your acne is binging on food and drinks loaded with
But our topic is alcohol and not sugars.
So why am I mentioning this?
Well, alcoholic drinks are loaded with sugars! Downing glass after glass of cocktails and beer is a no-no. Doing that will only infuse your blood sugar.
How alcohol affects your body's ability to detoxify the skin
Detoxifying products are quite the trend in the beauty community.
Check out one of my fav DIY detox mask.
It’s nice to get a detox bump, but on its own, your body is already capable of detoxifying. The liver is the star player here. It frees your body, including
the skin, from harmful toxins.
But, what happens when alcohol drinking gets carried away? Your liver’s health is directly disrupted. Less detox means more harmful toxins are left to exist in your skin. More harmful toxins in the skin can lead to frequent bouts of acne.
And at a certain point?
No number of detoxifying skin care products can replace your liver’s function.
How alcohol and breakouts are related due to stress on your immune system
Your immune system is tasked with a noble job. It protects your body from harmful bacteria and viruses. White blood cells never sleep! These warriors are
always on the lookout. Foreign contaminants posing a threat on your body have no chance.
But, alcohol has a way of messing with your protective warriors. Researchers found alcohol can decrease white blood cells in the body. In some cases, alcohol can even destroy them!
Now, remember the acne-causing bacteria I mentioned? C. acnes causes the painful pus-filled bumps acne-sufferers are all too familiar with. While C.
acnes can attack anytime it wants, a less than capable immune system can make you more vulnerable.
How Alcohol "Plays" with your hormones
Hormones and acne are linked like chains. Research tells us imbalance in
hormone levels could lead to acne breakouts.
How does this happen exactly?
Sex hormones called androgens makes your oil glands increase in size. Also, these glands are made to produce more oil or sebum. Overproduction of sebum contributes to the formation of acne.
Us women are often more vulnerable to hormone imbalance. With alcohol, not only are testosterone and estrogen levels in women increased. Men are also affected. Alcohol can both increase and decrease men's testosterone levels.
This is how hormone levels imbalance affect your skin. Now, you wouldn’t like alcohol playing with your hormones, would you?
So, is alcohol ALL that bad?
There are no definitive bulks of studies backing up alcohol benefits for the body. Though there are several that tackles heart health benefits and lessened diabetic risk. For the skin, wine indirectly helps by inducing a good night’s
sleep. An Italian study tells us that grape skins included in red wine brewing are rich in melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
But don’t go chugging on red wine! One glass of red wine before sleeping is enough. Too much of a good thing never does end well. With alcohol, moderation is key.
Final Beauty Thoughts
Drink responsibly. Drink in moderation.
You’ll often see those sentences at the end of an ad for wine, beer, whiskey – all alcoholic beverages. And with good reason too. If you want the best of both worlds – better skin health and the benefits of alcohol, then you should be responsible and drink moderately.
Drinking alcohol only indirectly causes acne.
Then what about alcohol in skin care products? That, my lovely, is a discussion for another day.
Good job on reaching all the way to the end!
Stay tuned and take skin care!
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