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Drinkers often complain about waking up with a few extra pimples or their acne flaring up after a night out drinking. But does alcohol cause acne? The short answer is: no one knows for sure. I haven’t been able to find any studies that directly link alcohol and acne, but that hasn’t stopped individuals searching for an answer. So in an effort to get to the bottom of the alcohol - acne mystery, we can look into potential reasons as to why it may affect acne.
Dehydration: Arguably the easiest culprit in the mix for causing acne would be the fact that alcohol dehydrates your skin. Water is essential for healthy skin. By drinking alcohol you counteract hydration and thus, your body doesn’t get cleansed and your cells can be filled with toxins that may cause acne. As it is, many of us normally don’t get enough water on a daily basis so having alcohol in your system only makes it worse. Dehydration makes it harder to cleanse and detox your body, which flushes out toxins that could lead to breakouts.
Liver: The liver helps filter our blood. After consuming alcohol moderately over time, fat deposits can form on the liver and block the liver cells from their blood supply. This deprives the liver of nutrients and oxygen and can eventually cause liver damage. When the liver gets damaged, it shows up on your skin. With liver damage, toxins that were eliminated and excess blood sugar that could have been converted to glycogen run free through your bloodstream. That tainted blood now makes its way throughout your body, including to your face where acne can form.
Candida: Candida is a fungus that can be found in high yeast and sugary products, as well as in our bodies. Candida lives in harmony within our body, but stress, sugar, yeast, and alcohol can throw off the balance and cause candida to overgrow. Since symptoms can vary, someone who has a fungal infection might not know it and instead, pass it off as an acne outbreak. Candida itself may cause skin blemishes, but it may also feed the growth of acne.
Skipping Your Regimen: Your skin thrives on a regimen; it wants to be cleaned, nurtured, and moisturized on a schedule. After a night of drinking, if you’re borderline drunk, there’s a good chance you’ll forget about cleaning your face and pass out. This is especially bad if you’re at a club and dancing. Sweat, makeup, and dirt can make its way on to your face and can clog pores. Not washing that off means you’re just asking for a morning breakout.
Of course not all of these issues matter to everyone. Some people are more susceptible and a few drinks will cause them to break out and other people won't break out at all. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research about the acne alcohol link so we cannot say for certain. What we can say is that drinking plenty of water, avoiding high sugar/fat in your diet, and staying away from alcohol may all help deal with problematic breakouts. Have any of you dealt with waking up with acne after a night of drinking, let us know here.