Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does drinking alcohol make acne worse?"
Is it true that alcohol can cause acne or make it worse? I'm not a heavy drinker, but it seems like every time I do have a few drinks, my skin feels oily and gross the following day. And usually within 24 hours, I'll break out. Am I just imagining this connection?
Questions about skin or skin changes are often best answered by a dermatologist. Acne is a very common skin condition that causes many people a great deal of aggravation even though it is not a dangerous medical condition. There are many factors that can influence the health of someone's skin or make them more likely to develop an acne break-out. Many of these things--certain foods, certain types of makeup or sunscreen, certain life stressors--will be very individual from person to person. If you notice that your skin seems more likely to break out after drinking alcohol, this may be an acne trigger for you. Limiting or eliminating your alcohol use may lead to improvements in your skin. When it comes to research directly linking alcohol ingestion to causing acne, there is not a completely direct correlation. However, alcohol can have effects on liver function and sleep, both of which can lead to worsening acne. Alcohol can also impair the immune system, and acne starts with bacteria accumulating in the pores of the skin. Overall, alcohol effects enough body systems that it is possible for susceptible individuals to have an acne break-out or exacerbating from drinking. If you notice that your skin becomes more oily after a night of having a few drinks, it is very possible that abstaining from alcohol may lead to positive changes in your skin.
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