The Absolute Worst Alcoholic Beverages... For Your Skin

August 6, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

The best thing we can do for our skin is drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, ditch sugar completely, eat foods laden with antioxidants, and never allow a drop of alcohol to touch our lips. But, seriously, how many of us are that disciplined? Assuming we’re going to go out on occasion and indulge in a little mischief which, for many of us, includes enjoying a few cocktails with friends, the next best thing we can do is arm ourselves with knowledge about which alcoholic drinks are the absolute worst for our skin–and which are, well, not great, but better.

First, the cold hard truth about what drinking does to your body: “Alcohol does hurt the body–there is no way around that fact,” says celebrity esthetician and nutritionist Geri G. “It makes the liver work harder to eliminate the alcohol. The liver has to stop doing its normal job of detoxification and work to absorb the alcohol effect and that hurts the body, as well. That’s why a lot of times you look and feel awful after drinking. It’s really because you are toxic, not only from the alcohol but because you still have yesterday’s junk hanging around making you look and feel toxic. Too much alcohol can create puffy, dark circles under the eyes, make skin oilier by stripping skin of moisture and forcing it to overcompensate for the loss, and exacerbate conditions like Rosacea.”

The Worst Offenders

Wine lovers rejoiced when they heard a glass of red wine contains Resveratrol and may actually have health benefits. But Geri says wine and beer won’t do your skin any favors. “Beer and wine have sugars and yeast,” Geri says. “Both wreak havoc on the skin and intestines and cause water retention. It’s harder for the liver to break down the yeast and bacteria in those alcohols as well. They can also break down absorption of nutrients and cause more free radical damage to cells. A sip or two is fine, but don’t make them your drink of choice if you want to look good the next day.”

Rosacea sufferers, she adds, should stay away from sugary mixed drinks and white wine and instead stick with distilled alcohols like tequila and vodka. “Some great brands like Patron and VDKA 6100 (which is lactose, sugar, and gluten-free) are a good choice,” Geri says. “These alcohols mix well with other flavors and are great on their own. Always include a lemon or lime with your drink to help balance more alkalinity to the alcohol, helping to balance the negative effects the alcohol content has on the liver.”

Now before you resolve yourself to a life of premature wrinkles, Geri does have a few tips for minimizing skin damage while consuming your favorite drink:

1. Always remember, less is more when it comes to alcohol. “The average person will need less of a stronger alcohol like vodka and tequila to feel satisfied,” Geri says. “It is easier to sip on a stronger drink and make it last longer than it is to gulp down a beer and a glass of wine. The key is not to consume too much at one time. Give the body–your liver, especially–a chance to catch up and not be overloaded by toxins and cell destroyers at one time.”

2. “Drink plenty of water at the same time you are consuming your adult beverage. You want to eliminate the chances of water retention that can cause headaches, puffy eyes and bloating from too much alcohol and not enough water in the body at the same time,” says Geri.

3. After you’ve returned from your fun night of frivolity, try taking a multi vitamin. “I’m not a fan of most multi-vitamins on the market, as they are made from synthetic sources, but I love Real Food Multi by Country Life. It is made from food, not synthetic vitamins or fillers. Your body will get back a lot of the nutrients it lost during the alcohol consumption and assist in restoring nutrient levels back to normal so you look and feel great the next day.”

For more beauty tips, check out how often should you really trim your hair and 9 secrets of women with great teeth.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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