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The #1 Worst Drink That Ages Your Skin Faster, Says Science

Be careful with how much you drink because there could be long-term consequences on your skin.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

We can try all the creams and moisturizers that we want, but there are certain physical effects of aging on our skin that can't be stopped. Thankfully, what we eat and drink plays a large role in how our skin ages with each passing year, which means that we do have some control over the rate of aging depending on the diet we choose to follow.

While things like fruit, fatty fish, natural juices, tea, and plenty of water can help slow the aging process, there are foods and drinks that can, unfortunately, speed up the process as well.

And according to research, one of the worst drinks that ages your skin faster is alcohol. In a report published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, it was concluded that consuming 8 or more drinks per week (which is considered heavy alcohol consumption) had the potential to impact the appearance of your skin. This included things like more under-eye puffiness, more defined upper face lines and wrinkles, and increased blood vessels.

Read on to learn more about what the research says regarding alcohol and skin aging, and for more healthy aging tips check out 6 Best Breakfast Habits To Slow Aging.

alcoholic drinks

Alcohol can dehydrate the skin

In a recent article about drinks that age you faster, expert Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook mentions that alcohol can negatively affect the natural hydration in your skin.

"Your skin gets thinner and drier as you age (intrinsic aging) and external factors can speed this up," says Goodson. "Due to alcohol's dehydration effect, it can contribute to more aged skin when consumed in large amounts over time."

It may impact your sleep, which can affect your skin

Drinking alcohol in large amounts on a regular basis can also age your skin faster by disrupting your sleeping patterns. In a study from Nature, it was found that men who regularly consumed heavy amounts of alcohol had more issues with sleep problems. And a study from Case Medical Center concluded that sleep issues over time may lead to accelerated aging.

This research also confirmed that along with physical signs of aging due to poor sleep, a lack of healthy sleep over time can also decrease someone's ability to recover what they refer to as "exogenous stressors." These exogenous stressors include things like sun exposure, certain makeup or skincare chemicals, air pollutants, and cigarette smoke.

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Alcohol may increase redness or "skin flushing"

You may have heard of the term "skin flushing," which essentially means someone's face turns red after drinking alcohol. According to Medical News Today, this red appearance can occur after drinking due to the alcohol-induced dilation of blood vessels beneath the skin's surface.

It can also worsen existing skin conditions

Heavier alcohol consumption has also been linked to exacerbating symptoms of common skin conditions. Medical News Today states that conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. In fact, The American Academy of Dermatology Association says that consuming alcohol on a regular basis may increase your chances of developing rosacea.

At the end of the day, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is normally safe and should not create many health problems as you age. But it's important to monitor how much you're consuming on a regular basis, because heavier alcohol consumption may lead to a more accelerated skin aging process.

A previous version of this article was published on November 22, 2021, and has since been updated to include more evidence.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha