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Is Alcohol Bad for Your Skin? We Asked the Experts

Soap and water are preferred for hand hygiene throughout the day, but in the absence of convenient access to this method, using a hand sanitizer is the next best thing. The exposure to alcohol isn’t ideal, but unlike alcohol in facial skin care, alcohol-based hand sanitizers serve a necessary health-protecting purpose. In short, you may experience breakouts, dry skin, and accelerated aging because of inflammation, dehydration, and oxidative stress from drinking.

This allergy-like reaction usually happens within an hour of drinking. It’s common in people who also have asthma, sinus disease, or problems with aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Your doctor can help by slowly getting you used to aspirin, which should ease your symptoms. If your face flushes when you drink, you may have some degree of rosacea. This common skin condition causes your face -- especially your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead -- to turn red.

The worst alcoholic drinks for your skin

Your skin may wound easily, itch, and turn red when you’re in the sun. Heavy drinking can make you more likely to get cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection that usually affects your lower legs. It makes the skin there red, swollen, painful, and warm to the touch.

what does alcohol do to your skin

Also, older women are more sensitive than men to the effects of alcohol. Six months to 1 year after quitting drinking, your skin will have fully recovered. The exception is in cases of liver damage; skin conditions caused by a damaged liver may be permanent. Without the chronic inflammation caused by alcohol in your system, your skin will have a better immune response. Inflammatory conditions such as plaque psoriasis and acne may become less severe or resolve altogether.

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