Is Alcohol Okay for Acne?

the pure life


Picturing yourself sipping an Aperol spritz on a sunny patio with the girls this Summer but wondering to yourself, is alcohol okay for acne? Proactive queen, I like the way you think! While alcohol can contribute to acne, there are ways to drink responsibly for your skin.

Here’s how to have a clear skin Summer and still enjoy a happy hour or two:

Is Alcohol okay for acne: My top tips

1. Never drink on an empty stomach

Let this be your clear skin mantra all Summer.

Blood sugar balance and acne are intrinsically linked: spikes in blood sugar lead to spikes in cortisol which leads to increased oil production in the skin. When you drink on an empty stomach, there are no macronutrients in your system to slow down the absorption of alcohol. Since alcohol is essentially sugar, your blood sugar spikes dramatically.

Keep it simple and eat any one of these blood sugar balancing options on their own, or combine them into a charcuterie board and share with friends! Or don’t share… your call.

Your drinking buddies:

  • Hummus and veggies
  • Mary’s crackers or Simple Mills crackers
  • Olives & goat cheese
  • Meat (like proscuitto)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Handful of nuts (like almonds or walnuts)

2. Have one glass of water per alcoholic beverage

This one is tried and true. Not only will your skin thank you, but your head will thank you in the morning. Dehydrated skin can make your pores overcompensate by producing more oil, making your skin more susceptible to acne. So nip this in the bud and drink up!

3. Choose cleaner liquors and mixes

By clean I essentially mean less sugar and additives. Alcohol is already a lot for the liver to process, so it’s best not to overload it. A build up of toxins can contribute to inflammation which can come out in the skin as acne.

The liquors that generally have the lowest sugar content are vodka, gin and tequila so these are good choices for acne prone skin. If you’re not a fan, just choose pure liquors rather than liquers and flavoured liquors.

Since alcohol already has a lot of sugar, choose low or no sugar mixes. Here are the best ones for acne:

  • At a bar or restaurant: choose soda or water (not tonic as tonic has sugar)
  • At home: La Croix, Spindrift, kombucha, Poppi and Olipop are all great low/no sugar mixes
  • Add flavour: citrus wedges are your bff! (lime, lemon, orange etc.)

4. Acne-safe wines

The best wines for acne are natural/organic wines because they don’t have pesticides, sulfates etc. that can bog down the liver. Good new is, there are SO many natural wine options these days. Search for natural wine bars in your city or check out the natural/organic wine section in any liquor store.

The best regions for wines are Italy, France and Germany! These wines have less pesticide exposure so they’re less risky for your skin.

Hot tip: “Brut natur” is a great Spanish “cava” that has very little sugar.

5. Alcohol-free options

Honestly, part of the fun of drinking is just feeling a little fancier or more special than usual. You can certainly achieve this with no alcohol at all! Of course, this is the best option for your skin. Give these non-alcoholic options a try next time you’re craving a drink, your skin will thank you.

  • Apoth├ękary Stop Your Wine-ing – this is a delicious alternative to wine that is packed with skin-loving antioxidants and herbs and help you feel calm AF.
  • More of a spirit gal? Sobrii is a non-alcoholic spirit! Margarita with clear skin and no hangover? Yes please.

Tip: You can also use these as an acne-safe mix with alcohol if you do choose to drink.

Save these tips and enjoy your summer responsibly, and with glowing skin!