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Is Alcohol Bad For Your Skin?

An Expert Ranked Which Alcoholic Drinks Are Worse For Your Skin — Sorry in Advance

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Photographer: Diggy LloydRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only.Product Credits: Model on left: Joie dress, YaYa Republic ring and earrings, Target sunglasses, Rebecca Minkoff bag. Model on right: Kate Spade dress, Current/Elliot denim jacket, Jennifer Fisher earrings.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we need to talk about what alcohol drinks can do to your skin. While alcohol may feed your soul, it definitely doesn't feed your skin. We called in the help of naturopathic doctor Dr Isabel Sharkar to explain how alcohol affects the skin and which beverages are slightly "better" than others. Dr Sharkar says that alcohol in general can cause blotchy redness and puffiness while also increasing free radical damage and dehydrating the skin. Read on to find out how alcohol drinks rank from least harmful to most harmful.

Clear Distilled Spirits (Vodka, Gin, and Tequila)

Dr Sharkar says that clear alcohol contains the fewest additives and also moves through your body quickest, therefore leaving it quicker. "Potato vodka that contains no grains will move through your body the fastest."

Whiskey and Rum

Clear liquors, straight rum, and whiskey have no additives. However, these drinks contain congeners — a substance added to alcohol as a result of the fermentation process — which can worsen your hangover and contribute to early signs of ageing.


Dr Sharkar says beer contains salt, which definitely doesn't benefit the skin, but she did make a good point when she noted that you're (probably) less likely to drink as much beer as you might cocktails. And less drinking means less damage for your skin.

White Wine

White wine contains both salt and sugar, which can lead to swollen skin and bloating. White wine also doesn't contain the antioxidants that red wine does.


Cocktails contain sugar, sugar, and more sugar, leading to inflammation, which increases cell damage and can lead to acne. Dr Sharkar also notes that these drinks can also cause a "sugar hangover," which can result in dull, sallow skin and bloodshot eyes. The worst cocktail of all is a good old margarita as it contains both sugar and salt, which can contribute to puffy skin.

Red Wine

This leaves red wine as the most harmful drink! We were admittedly shocked to find out that our wine (and cheese) nights might be doing more harm than our 2-4-1 cocktails. Although red wine can supposedly have some health benefits thanks to its antioxidants, it can be the most harmful if you have a skin condition such as rosacea. The antioxidants make it least harmful to drink for general health, but as it's unfiltered, your liver and kidneys have to work harder to process it. Red wine is most likely to cause flushing, redness, and blotchy skin.

If you've had one too many cocktails, Dr Sharkar suggests 10 glasses of water, vitamin C, and two Silica supplements to restore hydration. We'd also recommend making sure you double cleanse and moisturise after a heavy night out.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
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