Ever feel like you aged a decade after a single night of heavy drinking? Every type of alcohol you reach for has a unique impact on your skin. Most are purely bad, sure. But some are good, believe it or not. So let's dive in and answer the question, "Does alcohol age your skin faster?"
Alcohol can dehydrate, inflame, and over time, even age & wrinkle your skin, while depriving it of its essential nutrients in the process. There’s no disputing it is toxic, especially when we overdo it. But if you drink, and you know you will, better know what to choose.
This article covers what alcohol does to your skin, and which types of alcohol are better for you than others. You may be surprised!
Does Alcohol Age Your Skin?
Check out our grading system, for these popular types of alcohol.
Dark alcohols in general tend to collect the most added chemicals. Whiskey, in particular, contains an exceedingly high amount of congeners, which give whiskey its flavor. But that’s not all they do. Congeners are chemicals that arise during the fermentation process, known to cause hangovers. But how does your skin factor into this equation, and how does this alcohol age your skin? Well, aside from the brutal dehydrating, the more additives, the more the drink is stripping the skin of nutrients like vitamins A, C, and B3, accelerating aging. Avoid whiskey and its sugary, warm-weather cousin, rum, at all costs.
Tequila, a clear, typically low in additives alcohol, can actually help regulate blood sugar and help you lose weight. High blood sugar is often associated with dry, itchy, inflamed skin. This means tequila is good news for the skincare conscious. For best results, just opt to mix it with some club soda instead of a sugary soda. if you’re feeling bold, just drink it straight!
Red Wine (C+)
Here comes the big surprise: Red wine can be one of the most problematic beverages you can drink, skin-wise. But wait, that nightly glass of pinot noir is supposed to be packed with antioxidants, right?! Definitely, but it also triggers inflammation and capillaries to burst. Think about how red your cheeks get after just one glass of cabernet. Over time, these inflammatory effects can contribute to collagen loss, and, in turn, premature aging. It’s a toss-up whether the positives are worth the risks. Enjoy in moderation.
White Wine (C-)
High in flavor profile, low low low in skincare benefits. Clocking in at one of the highest sugar counts of any offender behind the bar, white wine is a nightmare in the making for your skin. Excess sugar is directly linked to cell damage, which overtime is the perfect way to bring forth the fine lines. It’s also deprived of the free-radical-fighting antioxidants its tall, dark, and handsome cousin, red wine delivers. One long-term study linked five or more glasses of white wine per week to a 49% increased risk of developing rosacea. Probably not the glow you had in mind. Enjoy very rarely.
Clear, distilled spirits like vodka carry the fewest additives, and the fewest ingredients overall. Which means, when you aren’t lacing them with sweet and syrupy mixers, they ensure the most mild hangover. Plus,its sparse composition allows it to move through your body the quickest, giving it minimal damage to inflict harm. Vodka also has some serious destressing potential packed in. Big duh, right? It’s alcohol.
Actually, there’s science to support vodka’s anti-stress properties, outside of its alcoholic effects! And stress can mean a world of damage for your skin, causing everything from inflammation, acne, to early wrinkle formation. Bonus: Vodka drinkers typically report less intense hangovers after consuming the same amount of alcohol as their dark liquor-consuming counterparts.
Vodka can also act as a natural astringent or toner because it’s an antiseptic. It’s also antibacterial, which means it can work overtime to clear out your pores! If you are adventurous enough to apply it, dilute it with a bit of water the day after drinking to get a clean, even, day-after-drinking glow. Just make sure to moisturize afterwards, since it will almost certainly work to dry out your skin.
So while the above listed benefits probably don’t outweigh the risks of frequent alcohol consumption, vodka or other clear alcohols (not everclear) are certainly a skintellectual’s best bet when it comes time to grab a cocktail. Add a splash of freshly squeezed fruit juice or club soda, or just toss it back on ice, for your skin’s sake!
Want more ways to slow your skin's aging? Read this article!