The effects of too much alcohol on the face

Updated April 17, 2017

Drinking alcohol in moderation can be a relaxing activity, particularly enjoyable to those spending time with friends after a long day at work. Alcohol in excess, however, can wreak havoc on your body. Long-term effects of alcohol are cirrhosis, increased risk of cancer and an increased risk of high blood pressure. More immediate risks include beauty symptoms, many of which show up on the your face.


When drinking, some people's face turns red. This flushed effect is caused when excess alcohol dilates the blood vessels right under the skin. Some scientists also claim there is a condition known as alcohol flush reaction. This occurs in people who are missing or are deficient in the enzyme known as ALDH2. A person who believes she has alcohol flush reaction must be careful when ingesting alcohol, because this condition is connected to a person being unable to break down alcohol correctly.

Dry skin

Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, making it a dehydrating substance. One way that dehydration shows up on your skin is in the form of dry skin. Dry skin can look scaly and feel almost waxy to the touch. Additionally, too dry skin can lead to ageing markers like crow's feet and other fine lines.


Some people find the alcohol can lead to bloat in the face and in the body. Because alcohol is dehydrating, the body retains what water it has. This will make your cheeks look puffy and give the appearance of heavy bags under your eyes. Too much alcohol combined with a general lack of sleep can exacerbate these symptoms.


Alcohol's detrimental effect on your liver ultimately lends itself to your face taking on a "sickly" appearance. The liver's job is basically to remove toxins from your body, and if it is focused on breaking down alcohol, those toxins then just sit in your body. Those toxins show themselves as blemishes, blotches and a colourless complexion.

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About the Author

Nicole Devlin began her professional writing career in 2002 and currently serves as news editor for a daily newspaper, building on her previous experience as a features and government reporter. Devlin also has a background in public relations and marketing. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications in 2007, with a focus in broadcast journalism.