Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Acne Breakouts?

November 16, 2020
Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Acne Breakouts?

When it comes to acne prevention and treatment, a holistic approach is the best approach. Diet, stress-reduction, and topical skincare are a few of the foundational components that help heal acne-prone skin. Research supports that a diet high in sugar can lead to bodily inflammation. For this reason, drinking alcohol is often linked to acne breakouts. While research has not proven a direct correlation between drinking alcohol and causing breakouts, the side effects of drinking alcohol include causing or worsening existing acne. Knowing the effects of alcohol on the body is key to the healing and prevention of damaged skin.

Effects of Drinking Alcohol & Acne Breakouts

Drinking alcoholic beverages affects the body in a multitude of ways as it is processed as sugar and a toxin. Alcohol consumption affects our hormones, the immune system, bodily inflammation, and hydration levels negatively.


In women, drinking alcohol (whether we're talking about a glass of wine or a cocktail) can affect hormones such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and estradiol. An increase in the levels of these hormones may cause the skin’s natural oil production to rise beyond optimal levels. When the skin overproduces sebum, it is more susceptible to clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Immune System

Alcohol first passes through the GI tract, the center of gut microbes which keeps the immune system functioning properly. Drinking alcohol suppresses the immune system, leaving the skin more susceptible to bacterial infection- a major cause of acne and inflamed skin.


After drinking alcohol, blood and tissue concentration are higher resulting in inflammation. Inflammation’s short term effects include redness, discomfort, and dehydration along with longer-term effects such as premature aging.


Hydrated skin is healthy skin. When the skin is hydrated, the moisture barrier protects against bacteria and infections. Alcohol is a well-known diuretic and consumption is directly related to dehydration. Dehydrated skin overproduces oil which can result in saggy skin, highlighting the skin’s imperfections.

Skincare Recommendations

If breakouts occur after consuming alcoholic beverages, skincare treatments can help soothe inflammation and prevent future breakouts

Topicals containing active ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, and Retinol can increase cellular turnover and reduce bacteria and inflammation. Dr. Zenovia's Skincare’s Clear Complexion Collection includes 5 breakthrough products for a complete acne-fighting regimen. Infused with Dr. Zenovia’s proprietary, skin-balancing REG-ulate360 Complex™, this dermatologist-developed regimen is clinically proven to calm acne-prone skin, while eradicating blemishes, balancing sebum production, and helping to reduce the appearance of acne scarring and uneven texture.


Shop Dr. Zenovia's Clear Complexion Collection