It is well known that alcohol consumption – especially frequent alcohol consumption – significantly impacts your health in negative ways. While most everyone drinks to some extent, whether out with friends or with dinner once in a while, alcohol consumption is a very common part of American culture. 

But this common element, unfortunately, not only impacts your internal organs, it actually impacts your external organs, i.e. your skin, as well. For this reason, it is crucial to not only monitor your alcohol consumption, but work to implement healthy lifestyle trends that can help slow down aging due to alcohol consumption. 

The long term effects of alcohol abuse

One of the most common – if not the most common – negative impacts of alcohol abuse is liver damage. Alcohol is filtered directly through the liver, and the more alcohol is consumed, the harder the liver has to work. But liver disease is not the only possible side effect frequent alcohol consumption is prone to causing. 

According to the CDC, the list is extensive: 

  • “High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems
  • “Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum
  • “Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick
  • “Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance
  • “Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • “Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment
  • “Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence”

Not everyone who drinks alcohol will experience all of these effects, but research shows that those who consume alcohol frequently are more likely to suffer from some of these symptoms than those who do not. 

Not mentioned on this list by the CDC is alcohol and its impact on aging – not because it is not a concern, but because not a lot of research about this exists. But the limited research that does exist cannot be ignored. 

Alcohol speeds up the aging process and takes away from skin health. The effect of alcohol on skin health is more commonly seen among those who frequently drink alcohol than among those who drink a limited amount. 

Effects of alcohol on skin and aging 

So what are the effects of alcohol on skin? And how do they affect your skin health? 

We’re glad you asked. 

Sleep disruption 

Sleeping gives your body the time it needs to regenerate and fight inflammation, but this cannot happen if your body is struggling to sleep. But alcohol consumption, despite what some may believe, actually hinders your body’s ability to gain a solid night of sleep. This means your body will have a more difficult time recovering and regenerating, which may lead to faster aging. 


The proper amount of water consumption is not one many people achieve on a daily basis, which can often lead to dehydration. Alcohol increases dehydration by causing more frequent urination, which pulls needed water from your body’s cells. This leads to increased oxidative stress, which is one of the key factors in rapid aging. 

Poor gut health 

Alcohol has known negative effects on the GI tract. And while gut health and aging are not two things we necessarily automatically relate to each other, the gut actually plays a huge role in overall physical health, including the health of your skin. The more fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins you provide your gut, the greater the positive impacts you’ll see on the surface of your skin.

The impacts of sugar 

Sugar, especially processed sugar, does little for your skin, and alcohol contains a lot of processed sugar. Sugar is known to cause inflammation, acne and other skin problems, and combined with the negative effects of alcohol, can lead to very poor skin health. 

What can I do to prevent the effects of alcohol? 

To prevent the effects of alcohol from negatively impacting your health and wellbeing, the best course of action is to either eliminate alcohol from your diet entirely, or significantly reduce consumption. This is the most fool-proof method for avoiding the effects of alcohol. 

Additionally, you can implement some of these strategies into your lifestyle to slow down aging, including: 

  • Managing stress – Consider incorporating breathing exercises, meditation and/or yoga into your day to help mitigate stress’s negative effects 
  • Eating a balanced diet – Fruit, vegetables, protein and whole grains can help provide valuable vitamins and minerals your body needs to regenerate cells and maintain overall health and wellness
  • Getting plenty of sleep – Experts recommend at minimum 7 hours of sleep each night to promote proper energy levels and time to recuperate
  • Exercising – Daily exercising can help your body regenerate, boost energy levels and keep your body feeling younger for longer 
  • Seeking help – Asking for support from friends or family to help in a journey towards sobriety is a great way to keep you accountable as you implement healthy habits

If you know of any other healthy habits which are likely to benefit your sober journey, be sure to implement them to promote overall wellness, mental stability and decreased signs of aging. 

Seeking additional support?

If you or a loved one need additional support to talk about recovering from alcohol use disorder, help is available. Reach out to Silver Ridge Recovery anytime by calling 855-945-7788 or by contacting us online to get in touch with a mental health counselor today.