Experiencing adult acne? Ugh, it’s the worst. We feel yah. While alcohol hasn’t been shown to cause acne, we’re here to tell you, drinking alcohol most likely is making your acne worse and is probably getting in the way of your skin clearing up… sorry. Even a glass of wine here and there could be preventing you from having the flawless skin you deserve. We all know that excessive drinking is bad for our health – liver disease, stroke, high blood pressure – yada, yada. But we think, “hey, I’m a social drinker. 1-3 cocktails max,” and shrug it off. After all, that’s well within the recommended “low-risk” drinking levels recommended by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). But even if you’re in that range, research has shown that moderate intake of alcohol weakens the immune system, a vital component to combating acne. 

All acne lesions begin with microscopic plugs, called “micro-comedones,” made up of dead skin cells. People predisposed to acne tend to shed more skin cells inside their pores than their acne-free friends (#notfair). The dead skin cells form blockages as they get pushed towards the surface of the skin (University of Michigan Health Services).

Oil is secreted into the pore, mixing with the dead skin cells, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to fester. Many times these blockages will grow too large for the pore, burst the walls of the pore and release the oil, dead skin and bacteria into surrounding tissue. The immune system responds by sending white blood cells to fight the infection and you get a pustule or “pimple” (The Acne Treatment Center of Washington).

Consistent alcohol consumption can get in the way of this healing process. As reported by the NIAAA in 2010, “alcohol reduces the ability of white blood cells to effectively engulf and swallow harmful bacteria. Excessive drinking also disrupts the production of cytokines (white blood cell “messengers” that travel to the infected site and call on more white blood cells to swarm the infected area). A lack of cytokines leaves you open to infection.”

So while you’re knocking back wine with your girlfriends, or enjoying happy hour after work with the guys, you could be thwarting your body’s efforts to heal your acne. 

BOND EN AVANT founder, Amy Chang, went alcohol free for 90-days. Read about her experience and how it cleared up her skin – here.

-by Amy Chang
Photographed by Amy Chang


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