How Your Skin Transforms When You Stop Drinking Alcohol

We live in a very alcohol-centric society. We drink when we celebrate, we drink when we've had a bad day, we drink with our coworkers at happy hour, we drink at brunch, we day-drink, night-drink, and who hasn't had a mimosa at 10 in the morning as a way to relax? Even those with a mindful approach to drinking sometimes get carried away and end up suffering because of it.


But while our culture revolves around alcohol in all its forms, it doesn't change the fact that it's a "toxic, psychoactive, and dependence-producing substance and has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen," according to the World Health Organization. So, no, alcohol doesn't only wreak havoc on the liver, but does a number every place else in and on the body too — including your skin. 

"Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin," New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez told Vogue. "I always joke with my patients, 'If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!'" Luckily, your skin can bounce back from regular alcohol consumption. It may not happen overnight, but in time the skin transformation will become more obvious.


Your patchy, red complexion will look more even

When some people drink, their face gets beat red. This is because of high levels of acetaldehyde that don't have a chance to be processed through the liver. Acetaldehydes are very toxic to the body, so when they build up due to not being flushed out, it causes the blood cells to dilate in the face, per Medical News Daily. Naturally, if you take someone who already suffers from facial redness like rosacea or similar inflammatory skin conditions, alcohol is going to exacerbate that red, blotchy complexion.


"Everyone knows the sun is the number-one ager for the skin, but most people don't realize that the second major cause of skin aging is inflammation — any way we can avoid inflammation will be better for our skin," celebrity aesthetician Joshua Ross told INSIDER. "What alcohol does is bring the blood up to the tissue causing inflammation, so that's why it's harmful to the skin. That can manifest in blotchiness, redness, ruddiness, and dehydration." In giving up alcohol, you'll find your facial redness will decrease more and more over time. Every week that passes that you're alcohol-free, you'll see enough of a difference that you might be inspired to never drink again.

Your dark circles will become less apparent

Similar to skin conditions like rosacea, some of us are genetically prone to dark circles under our eyes. For others, those circles are a sign that it's time for a very, very long nap or, ideally, several undisturbed nights of sleep. But cutting back on alcohol can help too. "A reduction in moderate alcohol intake could improve dark circles and blemishes," consultant dermatologist Dr. Emma Wedgeworth told Refinery 29. "Skin around the eye area is very thin, making it susceptible to changes in hydration status and sleep disturbance."


When you combine dehydration and sleep debt, you can't expect your complexion to be its very best, especially when these are both what happen when we drink too much and too often. Although a dermatologist could possibly suggest a topical cream for those dark circles, quitting alcohol instead might be worth considering.

You'll experience an acne purge

Let's be honest: there's nothing quite like a proper detox. When we flush ourselves of toxicity — including toxic people — our bodies, our health, and our lives are better for it. But before reaching that place of feeling good, expect your body to put you through the wringer first. This is also the case when you stop drinking.


According to Mountainside, an addiction treatment center in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, after you stop drinking your skin goes a bit nutso — in a fabulous way — in response to no longer processing alcohol. You may find that your skin is sensitive and is far more susceptible to acne breakouts, which is what you want! You want all those toxins pushed out of your skin. While this is happening, hydrating your skin by drinking lots of water and moisturizing regularly will help you get through this transitionary period.

Your skin will have a dewy glow

If you've ever had a facial, then you already know that when your skin is properly cared for, it can look amazing in no time. When you stop drinking, you can have the same results because you're no longer sucking the natural hydration out of your body. "Alcohol dehydrates the body and skin, which causes dullness and premature aging as well as redness and inflammation," skin health expert Dr. Ifeoma Ejikeme told Glamour. "And its effects are pretty instantaneous — they can be seen and felt the next day."


There's no denying that drinking can be a lot of fun, but it certainly doesn't come without several downsides — and this is even before we get into liver damage and addiction. If you've been less than thrilled with your skin as of late, then consider giving up drinking for a bit. Ultimately, it just won't be your skin and organs that benefit, but your mental health too.