You went out and had a little too much to drink, and now you have to sober up your skin quickly. Every one of us has been there. It is not quite as amusing to wake up with a hangover head and hangover skin. If you have ever had itchy and dry skin after drinking, it is critical to minimize the effects of alcohol on your skin.
How alcohol affects the skin
When alcohol enters the stomach, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream through your small intestine and stomach lining. After alcohol enters your bloodstream, your liver breaks it down.
Heavy drinking results in more obvious side effects, like visible dehydration and inflammation. As alcohol is a diuretic, it actively draws water away from the body, which lowers the body’s water level and causes dehydration. This can increase the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and sagging skin.
Dehydration due to alcohol can also dilate your skin pores. The pores may then become clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, bacteria, and sebum which cause whiteheads and blackheads. If this is poorly treated, it can go on to cause acne. With continued use, a 2021 study showed that misusing alcohol can present with pruritus (itchy skin), urticaria (hives), and hair and nail changes. It also leads to skin cancer and infections.
From studies into the types of alcohol and their effect on your skin, it’s true to say that some drinks are definitely worse than others. The higher the alcohol content the worse the effects it’ll have on your skin.
Tips to manage hangover skin
Hangover dehydration is bad for your skin. After drinking alcohol, you may notice that your skin becomes dry. So, how can you hydrate your dehydrated hangover skin? Here are our top skin care tips for hangovers.
Hydration is always the key. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to lose fluids. This loss of water causes dry skin. While you’re out drinking, drink water between drinks. Also, drink some water before going to bed, and keep a glass of water by your bedside in case you wake up thirsty. It will benefit your skin greatly and will help reduce the puffiness associated with hangover skin.
Get a massage
A facial massage can help you recover from a hangover skin. It's a good technique to get your face to look a little more awake. For example, using a gua sha facial massage technique can boost circulation, encourage lymphatic flow, relieve tension in the muscles of your face, and reduce water retention. A massage allows blood flow to surface and increase which can make your complexion look radiant and brighter.
Have a skincare routine
Drinking water may take a while to make the skin feel better. In order to do this, you will also need to treat dry skin on the outside. Make sure you take care of your skin properly. Hyaluronic acid-based products can help keep your skin hydrated and smooth, and salicylic acid serums can help clear up acne. You can also use a face mask that hydrates to help your dry skin feel better.
Get enough sleep
One of the best ways to get sober is to get enough good sleep. You can pass the time while your body rests and heals from drinking by going to sleep. On top of that, it helps your body get alcohol out of your system again. So make sure you get enough sleep after drinking too much.
You may not want to exercise after a night out, but it can really help your skin. Just make sure you drink a lot of water first, or you will become even more dehydrated. Working out can help lower inflammation in the body and improve circulation, which helps the skin get the nutrients it needs. These nutrients help increase collagen production and repair damage. Besides that, sweating gets rid of toxins and is good for your skin.
Here are some strategies to keep your skin happy and healthy, even if you decide to indulge in a celebratory drink or two:
- Eating. It's always advisable to eat before, during, and even after drinking. This can help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
- Drink water. Drinking lots of water always helps with dehydration and flushing toxins from your body. Always ensure you alternate alcoholic drinks with water throughout the night.
- Drink moderately. Drinking moderately is a great way to avoid hangover skin. Experts recommend following the drinking guidelines. This means limiting intake to two alcoholic drinks or fewer in a day for men and no more than one drink in a day for women.
- Take breaks. Make sure you give your skin a break from alcohol by not drinking for a while. This will give your skin time to recover and repair.
Ultimately, the best way to avoid the effects of drinking excessively is to not drink too much in the first place. While occasional drinking might not have a huge effect, regular drinking can definitely affect your skin. So, always stay hydrated, drink alcohol moderately, and have a healthy lifestyle. This will keep your skin youthful and healthy.
Why is my face puffy after drinking?
Your face is puffy after drinking simply because alcohol dilates blood vessels and causes fluid retention. This can lead to temporary puffiness, especially around the eyes.
Does skin clear up after quitting drinking?
Absolutely! Reduced inflammation allows collagen and elastin to rebuild, which leads to brighter and firmer skin.
Does alcohol damage skin?
Yes, alcohol damages the skin through dehydration and inflammation. Excess consumption can lead to puffiness, premature aging, wrinkles, dry skin, and other skin problems.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it actively draws water away from your skin, which significantly lowers your body’s water level, causing dehydration.
Dehydration due to alcohol can increase the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, dryness, and sagging skin.
Hydration, getting a massage, a good skincare routine, and getting enough sleep are all good ways to avoid hangover skin.
It’s advisable to drink at least one glass of water between alcoholic drinks to help nourish the skin and keep it hydrated.
- Japanese Dental Science Review. Thirst sensation and oral dryness following alcohol intake.
- Alcohol Research & Health. Overview: How Is Alcohol Metabolized by the Body.
- Clinics in Dermatology. The effects of alcohol and illicit drug use on the skin.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol's Effects on Health.
- Central for Disease Control and Prevention. Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol.