The year is new, the weather is hot and you still have plenty of party in you. If you’re a student (or a teacher), people are probably still asking you to come drink.
But what does that do to your skin?
The way you drink alcohol makes a huge difference to skin and acne. You can have a painful week of breakouts, or a nice time with the clear skin you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Try not to mix drinks
I know, it’s tricky to pick one. When you’re having a good time with gin, your friend wants you to try a craft beer. When you’re sampling beers, suddenly you’re pulled into a round of shots. And that’s an easy way to get drunk, which is the aim for a lot of people.
Just one problem: Getting tanked inflames and dehydrates you, then it reverses the amazing inner skincare that your body is doing every minute.
If you drunkenly forget to cleanse and replace any makeup with something like SkinB5 Acne Control Moisturiser at night, you’re extra prone to breakouts. It’ll drain your Vitamin A too, which is an antioxidant that helps you make collagen. Basically, binge drinking can age your skin fast.
Stick to your favourite type of alcohol. Then have a moderate amount. Then hang out with people, do crazy things, make memories. That’s the fun part of going out.
But sometimes you need to let go and do whatever. That’s when it helps to know what different kinds of alcohol are doing. Here are the main types of booze, from best to worst:
Good news if you’re into vodka or gin. Clear liquors don’t have congeners, the chemicals that make your hangover nasty. Tequila and rum are handy since they’re so light on the other big hangover baddie: Sugar.
Shots or liquor on ice are the best option, but keep track of how many you’ve had. You can rack those drinks up fast without noticing. If you drink these liquors without getting drunk, your skin will likely be fine.
This one’s controversial.
One glass puts a nice flush of colour in their skin. It relaxes the muscles and has a few antioxidants, which will help you with aging.
But too much wine kills your glow — and your antioxidants. Alcohol relaxes your veins too, which can cause spider veins if you’re a regular binger. The histamines that cause a little colour after one glass will give you major breakouts after a binge. This is why some people say red wine is good and some say it’s bad.
But it’s easy to go slow with wine. Flex with a nice bottle. It’s an interesting drink, designed to be sipped.
Meanwhile, white wine’s sugar content will make you double hung over.
It may be everyone’s favourite, but beer can mess up your skincare journey. It’s the most fattening and bloating item on this list, at around 200 calories of simple carbs per bottle.
In moderation, beer can be pretty refreshing.
One glass has a powdered doughnut worth of sugar. It will inflame your acne. I’m so sorry.
Most premixes and cocktails will mess you up from the first drink. Milk and sugar are both inflammatory, but sugar has a special way of giving you acne and aging your skin with insulin spikes. Sugar makes your eyes extra bloodshot, too. Avoid sweet drinks if you want to rock those photos of your nights out. There are always photos.
Great skin-friendly drinks
To make up for losing white wine and cider, here are some special summer brews that aren’t too bad on the skin:
- Vodka, lime and soda
- Negroni (gin, vermouth, Campari and orange)
- Tequila sunrise (tequila, orange juice and cranberry juice)
- Martini (gin, vermouth and an olive)
- Gin and tonic (try with juice frozen in ice blocks, but be careful — tonic is surprisingly sugary)
- Mint julips (liquor, mint and xylitol)
- Vodka, lemon and lavender
- Harvey Wallbanger (Vodka, Galliano, orange juice and bitters)
- Pimm’s punch (Pimm’s, lemon, fruit, mint and cucumber)
- Espresso Martini (Vodka, espresso, egg white, cacao and xylitol — drink plenty of water!)
The changes from your new smart drinking plan will take about a month to see, but you’ll instantly look smoother in all those party photos. It’s all about feeling good and enjoying yourself.
Peter Matthews is a freelance writer living in Melbourne. He has just discovered a love of gin, which tastes like bedtime tea made by demons.