Dealing With Dry Skin? Alcohol Could Be The Secret Issue

Life with dry skin is not easy. Dry skin looks and feels rough, itchy, and scaly. The dry patches of dead cells accumulating on your skin's surface also give your makeup a bumpy, uneven look.

Dry skin has various causes. It can be a symptom of a medical condition like eczema, diabetes, kidney disorders, or hypothyroidism. It can also be the result of sun damage, cold and dry weather, or air-conditioning. 


Your dietary habits can also cause your skin to go from normal or oily to dry. If you're noticing a change in your skin type toward the dry side, ask yourself if you've been drinking more wine lately. Although red wine contains antioxidants that benefit the skin, it's a double-edged sword. There's an art to drinking alcohol, and if you abuse it, it can suck the moisture out of your skin, causing it to look sun-baked and wrinkle more easily. 

Alcohol can dry out your skin

A high intake of alcohol can dehydrate the skin. "Because alcohol acts as a diuretic, it draws out liquid from the body," dietician Beth Warren tells Bustle. "Less fluid can lead to dehydration and take away moisture from the skin, contributing to dryness." Some common effects of alcohol-induced dehydration on the skin include dryness, reduced elasticity, scorched lips, and dark circles under the eyes. But that's not the end of it. The impact of excessive drinking can be more severe than dehydration. 


According to MedicalNewsToday, excessive alcohol use can impair your immune system, raising your risk of bacterial and fungal skin infections like cellulitis and psoriasis. It can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, worsening the effects of UV damage on the skin. If you have low alcohol tolerance, your body can even break out in hives when you drink. 

Alcohol abuse can also be deadly to the skin. In a 2017 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, researchers found that every 10-gram increase in daily alcohol use could lead to a higher risk of two types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. 

So, what is the right way to consume alcohol without jeopardizing the skin?


Alcohol is only beneficial in small amounts

If you want to drink your way to better skin, one glass of red wine or white wine per day is enough, per First Longevity. Red wine is rich in antioxidants that help neutralize the damage of free radicals on the skin, helping to preserve elasticity and slow down the development of aging lines. As Posh Lifestyle & Beauty Blog explains, moderate consumption of white wine also helps the skin stay firm and lessens the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines.


Alcohol is only beneficial for you if consumed in moderation. Excessive drinking, on the other hand, impairs your immune system and increases your risks of different diseases.

Before and between alcoholic drinks, you can take a glass of water to restore liquid to the body and help prevent dehydration. When choosing drinks, go with light-colored beverages or those with a lower overall alcohol concentration, such as beer, wine, and wine spritzer (via Thirsty Work). Consuming a carb-full meal before drinking will also help your body to slow down the amount of alcohol going into your system and keep you hydrated longer.  

If you have more severe skin conditions, it's wise to cut down on alcohol use or just stop drinking entirely. As far as healthy drinking goes, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.