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Understanding the Effects of Alcoholism on the Skin

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The effects of alcoholism can be very serious on the entire human body.  Addiction to alcohol can cause numerous internal health problems including liver disease, high blood pressure and cancer. But, it can also take a big toll on your physical appearance as well. In fact, alcoholism and alcohol abuse can impact your skin in some pretty significant ways.

The Effects of Alcoholism on Your Skin

Dry Skin

Drinking alcohol  dehydrates the skin, which can  make it look very dry. This is because alcohol draws water away from the body, lowering the body’s water level. Extremely dry skin can look unhealthy, rough and uneven.

Blotchy Skin

One of the most noticeable effects of alcoholism on the skin is an increase in blotchiness. Alcohol causes blood to flow closely to the skin’s surface, making it look red and blotchy. Many people who suffer from alcoholism have red skin that looks like rosacea.

Premature Aging

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can make a person’s skin look older. When you drink a lot of alcohol, collagen and elastin production slows down, which leads to thinning skin and wrinkles. A person suffering from the effects of alcoholism may have fine wrinkles and discoloration on his skin that makes him appear older than he really is.


Break outs aren’t just for teenagers! Alcohol can cause a person’s skin to break out.. If you suffer from alcohol abuse or alcoholism, you may suffer from acne, whiteheads and other skin lesions. This is because alcohol activates the sebaceous glands that cause your skin to produce too much oil.

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Another one of the effects of alcoholism is bruising of the skin. Alcohol depletes your body of vitamin C, which is needed for healing. If your body lacks vitamin C, you will be more prone to bruising. Dehydrated skin is also less likely to protect against injuries.


Alcohol can cause weight gain and water retention, which can lead to abnormally puffy skin. Instead of looking glowing and healthy, your skin will look very swollen.

As you can see, there are many negative effects of alcoholism on the skin. Like other body systems, the skin relies on good nutrition to stay healthy.  While redness and puffiness may not sound serious, imagine what premature aging and bruising will do to your self-esteem and appearance.

The good news is that the effects of alcoholism on the skin decrease and diminish rapidly after you enter treatment and stop using alcohol.  Your skin is a resilient organ and you can repair skin damage from alcoholism in just a few short weeks with proper nutrition and treatment.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcoholism, alcohol abuse, substance dependency or any type of addiction, please call us today.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  Substance abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

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