Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could drinking alcohol be causing my acne?"
I just turned 21 and started drinking regularly for the first time. It seems like I break out with pimples a lot more now. Is it because of the drinking? The acne is on my neck and my back mainly.
Acne is caused when pores become clogged by dead skin debris, bacteria, and the skin's own natural secretions. Acne develops primarily for two reasons. The first is due to an increase in dead skin debris. The second is due to changes in the body's hormone levels that affect the production of skin oils and the growth of bacteria. If alcohol were to affect acne, it would have to be through changing the body's hormone levels as it clearly cannot change the amount of skin debris (which is on the other hand affected by skin hygiene, sweating, etc). To date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that alcohol can do this to any significant degree. Therefore, I think it is much more likely that the problem is with your skin cleansing regimen. You may need to begin using a regular, daily anti acne regimen to protect your skin. Start with a daily antibacterial soap wash. You may also want to consider an exfoliating regimen or an anti acne cream containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If these approaches do not work, then consider going to see your primary care doctor, who can recommend stronger treatments for your acne.
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