The Dangers of Alcohol for the Skin
29 September 2021

The Dangers of Alcohol for the Skin

Many people enjoy a tipple from time to time, but our love of drinking can hinder our quest for eternally youthful skin as people do not appreciate the dangers of alcohol for the skin.


Oxidative stress is a well-known contributor to ageing skin; alcohol promotes the production of skin deteriorating free radicals and interferes with the body’s defence mechanisms against them. When alcohol is broken down in the liver it results in the formation of molecules which metabolise and create free radicals. The dangers of Alcohol for the skin is that it lowers antioxidant levels, which are known to prevent free radical damage.

The effects of pollution and sun exposure on free radical generation in skin cells are usually the most talked about, but it’s also important to consider how our diet and lifestyle choices influence our systematic free radical load.


Metabolism of alcohol directly assists in the creation of reactive oxygen species, which activate key inflammation transcription factors. Pro-inflammatory mediators expand the permeability of capillaries which contributes to activation and infiltration of neutrophils and other phagocytic cells into the skin. This leads to skin ageing, as proteases released from neutrophils break down protein structures in the skin, including elastin and collagen.


The danger of Alcohol for the skin is that it can deplete nutrient absorption, utilisation and metabolism; when consumed in excess nutrient deficiencies can occur. Excess alcohol lowers levels of Vitamin A6, crucial for healthy skin cell production.

Routine alcohol consumption can heavily reduce Vitamin C levels. Within normal skin it’s prevalent in high concentrations, which helps stimulate collagen synthesis and facilitates antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage.

Vitamins A and C are particularly important to skin health and ageing.


Sugar is a main component within many alcohol drinks, glycation is where intake of dietary glucose affects how the body ages. Excess sugars from food and drink eventually cause healthy collagen fibres to become rigid and prone to breakage as they lose their elasticity, due to the cross-linking of AGE molecules. An AGE molecule (Advanced Glycation End product) is created when sugars enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to the amino group of a tissue protein; such as collagen, rearranging their structure.


There is a well-known link between dehydration and alcohol consumption. Alcohol acts as a diuretic and increases urine production, which increases the risk of dehydration.

For skin to function, water is essential, especially for its outermost layer, the stratum corneum. As skin ages, trans-epidermal water loss is increased, leaving the stratum corneum more inclined to become dry in low humidity environments. Pair this with dehydration due to drinking and your skin is at greater risk of deterioration from other sources, which leads to inflammation and cycles of cell damage which perpetuate cellular ageing.


Excessive drinking is often associated with other behaviours that can affect skin health, including: lack of sleep, consumption of unhealthy foods and smoking. All of these things can be detrimental to our skin if carried out regularly.

It’s recommended you stay within the parameters of the recommended weekly alcohol intake, to maintain the integrity of your skin. Saving up your weekly units and binge drinking at the weekend provides no benefits to your skin or body. When out for a drink, try and choose a more naturally produced wine or spirit, that hasn’t had sugar added during production and try and avoid drinking sugary beers and cocktails too often.

If you’ve been drinking a little too much lately and your skin is starting to look lacklustre BeauSynergy’s vast array of laser and specific skin and chemical peels remove the epidermis (top layer of skin) to leave your skin looking instantly brighter, smoother and with a more even in texture.

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