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Alcohol, caffeine and skin health

We all know only too well the effects that alcohol and caffeine can have on our bodies, but have you ever thought about how they affect your appearance? Here are some of the ways in which drinking alcohol and caffeine may impact the appearance of your skin, plus some top tips for how you can minimise these negative effects:


  • Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on your whole body and this can really show on your skin, the body’s largest organ, leading to the formation of wrinkles and faster skin ageing.

  • Alcohol is a nutrient-robber, as your liver needs to use essential nutrients to break it down, depriving your skin of the vitamins and essential oils it needs to stay glowing and healthy.

  • Regular, heavy drinking can lead to permanent changes in your skin and can exacerbate conditions such as rosacea, where the skin flushes easily.

  • Alcohol can cause bloating and puffiness in the face and stomach too, due to water retention.

  • Alcohol adds hidden calories to your diet, especially if you drink it with sugary mixers and in cocktails, leading to blood sugar imbalance, inflammation and weight gain.


  • Caffeine is a diuretic, so it makes your body expel more water than it needs to, leading to dehydration, and dry-looking skin

  • The tannins in coffee prevent nutrient uptake by cells and lead to further dehydration

  • Liver spots – dark spots can appear on your skin, due to an overload of toxins in the liver from caffeine and alcohol

  • Acne – with dehydrated skin, there is not enough water flushing toxins away, so they can build up on your skin, leading to outbreaks of acne.

  • Drinking coffee may also worsen the condition due to putting an extra burden on the liver’s detoxification systems.

But it’s not all bad news! If you want to have an occasional coffee or cocktail, here are some ways to help minimise the damage to your skin:

  • Give up alcohol or caffeine for a month or longer each year and the good news is that your skin has amazing powers of regeneration, so you should notice an improvement in this time.

  • Choose clear spirits (gin or vodka), which contain fewer additives and tend to be processed more quickly by the body.

  • Give yourself a break – have a few coffee- free and alcohol-free days per week, or drink every other day, to give your liver a chance to process it and recover.

  • Drink plenty of water or herbal teas, alternating these with your alcoholic or caffeinated drinks to help minimise the effects of dehydration.


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