Alcohol is a hepatotoxin – it is a toxin that targets the liver. The liver being the very organ that helps keep the body detoxified, such a toxin is capable of far-reaching harm. While the toxins in alcohol wash out of your system before long, the damage that they do to your liver can cause toxins from other sources to linger. Toxins in your system may be bad for you in significant ways. One, in particular, tends to stand out – they harm your skin and your looks.

Do Toxins in Your System Really Damage Your Skin and Make You Look Bad?

The connection between liver damage and the skin is usually clear to anyone who has seen a loved one affected by liver failure. A person dying of liver disease is easily identified by his skin – it tends to be cold, colorless, pasty and large-pored. If you’re healthy today, a few regular drinks each day may not cause liver failure. They will certainly slowly transform your skin, though. Each year that passes, your skin is likely to be a step closer to the unhealthy appearance that is characteristic of liver damage.

Alcohol can hurt your skin in two additional ways that aren’t liver-related. Alcohol dehydrates the body. The less water you have in your system, the less plump and fresh your skin is.

Alcohol has substances called congeners – chemicals that are a product of the fermentation process. Brewers and distillers pay special attention to the congener content in the products they brew because it adds to their taste and fragrance. Everyone who drinks is familiar with the effects of congeners – they are what cause hangovers. The higher the congener content in your alcohol, the worse your hangover is and the worse your skin looks.

Staying away from alcohol is the best way to protect your skin and to not age before your time. If you don’t see yourself quitting alcohol altogeth, the next best thing would be to know what alcoholic beverages cause the least harm to your skin.

Shots of Vodka

When you consider an alcoholic beverage and its effect on your skin, you need to think about the three basic components that make it up – the alcohol, the congeners and additives like sugar or salt. Whatever drink has the least of all three is the least harmful for your skin.

Clear vodka and tequila may contain much alcohol but they contain no congeners. When you drink them on their own as shots rather than in mixed form with other ingredients, you only end up imbibing a small amount of alcohol with no other harmful additives. As long as you don’t knock back more than one shot of tequila or vodka a day, you don’t need to worry about the effects on your skin. If you are one of those people who throw back multiple shots, though, you still do have a problem.

Shots of Dark, Congener-rich Drinks Like Whiskey

Congener-rich drinks tend to be dark. You need to be careful with these drinks because they cause hangovers and also damage to your skin. Many kinds of dark drinks – whisky, rum and tequila, for instance – tend to be problematic.

Sweet Mixed Drinks Like Mojitos

Many sweet mixed drinks only contain a small amount of alcohol. They do contain plenty of sugar, though – from syrup, Red Bull, soda or anything else. Not only does regular refined sugar intake cause systemic inflammation, it causes skin cell damage that can result in premature aging.

Beer is One of the Better Drinks For Your Skin

Many beer drinkers don’t realize how much salt the beverage contains. Excessive salt in the diet tells on the health of your skin. You get dehydrated skin and swollen eyes as a result. Beer has redeeming qualities, though – it contains less alcohol than other hard drinks and it contains plenty of antioxidants, substances that help fight skin aging.


Red wine is a problem for those who are prone to a skin condition called rosacea. If you have the condition, red wine is 2 to 3 times more likely to cause a flare-up than any other alcoholic beverage. For those who don’t have rosacea, red wine, of all alcoholic beverages, is the least harmful to the skin as long as you drink no more than one glass a day. Red wine is rich in antioxidants that protect your skin.

The Bottom Line

While alcohol isn’t good for your skin, you may not be able to completely quit. Among other things, it might wreck your social life. If you do need to drink socially, picking the right drink can go a great way towards minimizing the harmful effects that alcohol can have on your skin.

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