I looked into this as much as I could, but I couldn’t find a single clinical study or trial on the effects of alcohol on acne.


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  • Zim

    i’d actually say that the neurological depression (literal, not emotional) of the brain would be a contributing cause, if anything.

    on the other hand, that can relieve stress… soooo catch 22 -or just someone pulling something else outta their ass for people to mingle over?

    i guarantee a woman brought that up. a man wouldn’t give a shit if the two were related, and so long as he was drunk enough, it would never have crossed his mind in the first place.

    severe loss of man-points, dan -for even mentioning that female inspired thought. even if it was the case… it’s like choosing between having acne & getting laid, or not having acne and not getting laid. typically it wouldn’t work out that way, but if it did, i think we all know what we’d choose. ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Eddie

    A reason, if any, that alcohol contributes to acne could just be that most forms of alcohol are high glycemic. Beers, wines and mixed drinks are all high in carbohydrates. As most of us well know, many studies suggest that diets high in carbs contribute to acne. This is just my best guess of course.

  • Eddie

    I need to correct my earlier post. Alcohol is in fact low glycemic, but high in carbohydrates. Non-alcoholic drinks are high glycemic.

  • Kristen

    I watch the tv show Intervention all the time, and I see alcoholics on there all the time and their skin is HORRIBLE. Looks like if your your an alcoholic and your liver is getting bad and working overload it does something to your skin and acne and such. This is just an observation and guess. Also I knew an alcoholic and he had bad acne as well. So it looks like a high amount of alcohol does cause acne and skin problems.

  • Mischa

    To Zim: I’d have to say your post makes absolutely no sense. Loss of man-points to you for being a tool bag.

  • Mandy

    Well alcohol is basically pure sugar and I find there is a big link between my sugar consumption and breakouts- I’m sure this is true for many people, diet plays a massive part in acne and I think that this is often underestimated. Alcohol also weakens the immune system and is generally bad stuff so steer clear and eat more salad!

  • haseeb

    Hey dan thanks for answering my question on the video. This is totally out of the blue. Your regimen has cleared me up. However, my skin is oily throughout the day, and in the summer it gets really bad. What do you reccomend to combat this oiliness?????? please help

  • Dave

    “To Zim: Iโ€™d have to say your post makes absolutely no sense. Loss of man-points to you for being a tool bag.”

    Agreed. Double loss of “man-points.”

  • Adam

    Hey, I read a paper (I think it was in nature) a few months ago and which looked into the effects of alcohol on testosterone levels. Alcohol is thought to cause an increased breakdown of testosterone which in the short term is good as this reduces hormonal effects on sebum secretion. However, the reduction in testosterone then triggers a negative feedback loop which causes a sudden surge in testosterone and so a hormonal imbalance. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but in the morning after a night of drinking your skin looks like its getting better, then it takes a sudden turn for the worst and then your left with loadsa pimples and pustules! ๐Ÿ˜› xxx PS testosterone levels effects females as well as males. The effects of testosterone changes are far worse in women due to the fine hormonal balance. Vice versa oestrogen levels in males.

  • Adam

    Btw for people that are unaware increased testosterone activity is known to cause increase sweat gland activity and increased sebum release (oiliness to you and me!). This can then get trapped in pores, not only congesting the skin but also providing a food source for bacteria (mainly P. acnes – hence the name acne!).

  • Claire

    After a drinking binge, the body is extremely dehydrated. This might affect the health of the skin.

    Also, for women, alcohol throws the hormones out of balance (one reason that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer among women.) My gynecologist told me that… She said women are recommended to drink no more than a 5-ounce glass of wine. Try measuring that out, it’s a very small glass!

    She also suggested drinking no more than twice a week.

  • ross

    Adam, i’ve noticed exactly this without realising it ha, i always wake up fearing the worst then i look in the mirror and i’m lik shit maybe thats it gone then BOOM next morning or later that day it gets so much worse, usually after a shave

  • Chris

    Not suggesting that this is healthy, but I noticed that consistently my acne inflammation was significantly reduced the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Keep in mind that the acute effects of alcohol consumption and chronic consumption or very very different. I figure it has to do with the acute effects of alcohol on inflammatory responses. Dehydration and immune system inhibition might account for this but the effects would only be temporary. I wouldn’t recommend anyone getting really drunk to fight their acne but it’d be interesting to see how it effects other people.

  • Leon

    Beer is to good.

  • Kay

    I agree with Kristen. I don’t know if alcohol is like dairy, where you consume it and you can tell immediately whether it breaks you out. Alcohol in my opnion is more long term. My father grew up with flawless skin, just perfect! My mom hated him for it, lol. I got my mild acne from my mom, her acne was bad, my dad’s skin was flawless, I’m left in between. But my dad is an alcoholic, and now his skin couldn’t be worse. It is horrible! I’m telling you guys, seriously, just think about it. When I look at pics of my dad when he was 35, it doesn’t even look like the same person as he is now, 58. His skin was perfection. Now, he’s at the derm every other week treating his cysts, his rosacea, his face is all scarred, he’s constantly using topicals and antibiotics, it’s bascially too late for him & I feel so bad.

  • graham

    good guesses man, but alchohol is a dehydrant, meaning drinking it will make you lose water rather than keep it. Keeping yourself hydrates is key in keeping cear skin.

  • Dan

    Yes alchohol is very dangerous for skin even if disinfect the skin . (this is not Dan the Admin of Acne.org)

  • Dmitri

    Alchohol could cause acne if you drink to much of it with mix drinks which could contain high amounts of sugar and carbs which are a BIG no no for acne.
    It can almost contribute to acne by causing dehydration if not consuming a enough water which will then cause water retention in the skin because your face will fill the need to store more of the H2O in order to keep your skin hydrated. But if your skin stores to much water this can pinche off tallow canals, which can cause acne if your skin produces much sebum.

  • Garrett

    My graduation is in 6 days and at 7:30 PM. I am concerned with looking good for grad pictures and everything and was wondering if by getting drunk the night before(which I was planning on even before reading this blog), would the acne look less inflammed still at 7:30 PM? Anything I could do this weekend to make my face look a bit better for grad?

  • Michelle

    Hi guys,
    I always that I would have a terrible breakout after a night of partying, maybe because of the alcohol that dehydrates my body and also because of the junk food I usually eat the next day to get back to life again.

  • Anonymous

    i have noticed that the morning after a night of drinking, i have a few more pimples on my face. could just be a normal breakout, but i have a feeling beer increases acne for me personally

  • Mary

    I would say that dehydration can affect the skin. Also, alcohol supposedly reduces the quality of sleep and we all know that insufficient sleep can worsen acne.
    A couple more possibilities…
    Some people with acne-like conditions such as rosacea may find that alcohol (especially red wine & beer) may trigger a flare up, leading to increased irritation and breakouts. Excessive alcohol can cause flushing even for those without rosacea as well and anything like that can aggravate the skin. Some people sweat more when they drink a lot too.
    Also, some people’s skin reacts negatively to increased yeast and theoretically beer (and some wine) may not be ideal for this condition.

    I also agree with Dan’s observation that you might not take as good care of your skin when drinking. I know if I get good ‘n drunk I’m more liable to get lazy with my routine. Might be a little more aggressive with washing/application, etc or too impatient to wait between steps or may even fall asleep without bothering at all. And/or if not feeling well in the morning, may not feel like properly following the usual morning routine.

    You may be more apt to consume crappy food, like a greasy late night or morning meal. Or if drinking mixed drinks you may consume a large amount of caffeinated sugary soda, etc. along with your alcohol. You might even be more likely to eat greasy or salty snacks with your hands then touch your face without thinking about it.

    And pickers can be more likely to absent-mindedly pick when inhibitions are down. Being a picker myself, I know this can happen.

  • Lucy

    To stop breakouts… exfoliate your face 3 times a week to remove oils, dead skin cells that can clog your pores. Do not use any oil product on your face if you are oil skin or if you have acne.