A night of drinking can leave you feeling a little off, causing both you and your skin to suffer a minor setback. However, does alcohol cause acne breakouts? Do people who drink often become more susceptible to acne, or does it just depend on the person?

Just like everything else, there is the potential of great news, terrible news, or the possibility of an inconclusive find. Brace yourself.

Why Does Alcohol Cause Acne?

ice, beer, tea
Judy Holtz

According to Acne.org, there has not been enough research to clearly state whether or not drinking alcohol causes, worsens, or even clears up acne. However, there were two studies done on a group of people.

One study showed alcohol poses a stronger risk factor for acne in males, while the other study found those drinking alcohol under the age of 25 years old "were more likely than non-drinkers to have acne." Still, this could just be due to adolescence. 

In 2014, another study was published with the conclusion that "alcohol consumption was not linked with acne." Except the data discovered from the study was never reported, thus putting into question the ability "to evaluate the quality or significance of the results." 

Without definitive proof, there are claims that alcohol can change hormone levels, create bacteria in the skin, or cause inflammation. But even without evidence, these are not far fetched claims.

The hormones called androgens are found in both male and females, and high levels of the hormone can lead to an increase in acne. Four studies on men and women showed that their hormone levels were higher after alcohol consumption. While the changes hint toward the potential of an increase in acne, there is no real answer.

Additionally, with drinking, there is an increase in bacteria through sweat. It's been speculated that the alcohol secreted in sweat could act as a fuel for acne bacteria. Inflammation from drinking also causes the body to release more cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules. 

So, the question still remains, does alcohol cause acne? Would it be so surprising if it did? Most beverages contain a lot of sugar and carbs, which are already known causes in the pimple department. Whether you are drinking or not, be sure to take care of your skin—and, most importantly, your liver.