Q: Is alcohol affecting my complexion?


As life begins to return to some normality, I’m sure that many of you have been making the most of your weekends by spending time in the sunshine with friends and loved ones. And for some, I’m sure a drink or two was involved…  

It’s an unfortunate truth that many of us have learnt the hard way… Our favourite drinks can have a less than pleasant effect on our skin, from the regular glass of wine or G&T to a big night out. And even for those who choose not to drink, your alcohol-free favourites could be having an undesirable effect on your skin!   Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to minimise our skin hangovers! To bring some technical expertise to this topic, I’m joined by our Assistant Development Chemist Faye, who has some great recommendations.

Does my drink choice have an impact?

Indeed it does! Sugary drinks (sorry cocktails and mocktails) can be the worst offenders, leading to puffy and red skin, and causing what Faye describes as a ‘sugar hangover’. 

“Although avoiding alcohol completely is the best option, there are some alcoholic drinks that are more skin-friendly than others if you’re fond of a drink or two! Clear spirits are your best option as they contain fewer additives and considerably less sugar and salt than their fruitier counterparts.”

If you opt for a non-alcoholic drink, or mix a spirit with your favourite juice, you might still be getting a sugar overload despite turning down a piña colada! Mixers like fruit juices, lemonade and energy drinks are full of sugar. Choose juices with no added sugar, soda or sparkling water, or sugar-free fizzy drinks to keep your skin at its happiest. 

If you’re just having one drink, red wine does contain a type of antioxidant called polyphenol (as well as anthocyanins and flavonoids), that can help your skin in a more positive way! But like many things, this is a less-is-more situation, and alcohol and sugary drinks should always be consumed in moderation.


As our body processes alcohol, our skin barrier is weakened, increasing TEWL (Trans-epidermal water loss) and leaving our complexions looking pretty lacklustre. We’ve all likely been told to drink plenty of water alongside alcohol on a one-to-one ratio, and that advice continues to ring true.

“Dehydrated skin needs to be treated from within, and plain and simple H20 is your best option. So drink up before bed, and keep as hydrated as you can the next day. Try infusing your water with cucumber, citrus or mint for an antioxidant boost.”

Pair this with ingredients that are super hydrating to replenish lost moisture. Humectants, the ingredients that draw moisture from the atmosphere into your skin, are your best friends. You can find humectants in many Q+A products, like our serums and moisturisers, which are super easy to apply.

“Look for hyaluronic acid, glycerine and panthenol (Vitamin B5) on the ingredients list of your products. Our Peptide Facial Serum and Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum are two great candidates.”

And finally, before indulging in your favourite tipple, protect your skin from water loss with occlusive ingredients. They create a seal over your skin like a shield, and rebuild your skin barrier for results that last longer than just overnight!

“Reach for plant based facial oils like our Super Food Facial Oil or Squalane Facial Oil and or those rich moisturisers previously mentioned that contain natural moisturising factors to replenish the skin's natural defence system (and to give yourself a much-needed pamper!).”

We love using Squalane before heading out here at Q+A HQ, as it can also double as a natural highlighter for a gorgeous glow. Opt for our Collagen Face Cream to seal in lots of moisture and soften your skin.


Technically, this is a follow-on from dehydration, but I thought it was worth highlighting. A lack of moisture can accelerate signs of ageing (like fine lines and wrinkles), and you’re likely to feel the effect of more pesky free radicals harassing your skin. Alongside your hydrating ingredients, look for antioxidants like green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E to rejuvenate your skin and keep it healthy!

Clogged Skin

Tell me if I’m making assumptions, but I’m guessing most of us have come home after a late night and felt our bed calling to us. So much so, that we opted to skip our face cleanse, or used a quick makeup wipe, only to wake up the next morning with makeup still smeared across our faces. Although I absolutely understand the feeling, it’s not doing your skin any favours. So, if you do one thing before heading to bed, make sure to cleanse!

“Getting rid of pollutants that have built up on your skin during your trip to the pub, as well as makeup and impurities, helps to prevent blocked-pores and minimise the likelihood of breakouts. A cleansing balm is a great option for rapid removal, like our Grapefruit Cleansing Balm. It’s packed with antioxidants that will help to restore a healthy complexion, as well as Cocoa Butter and Squalane which can provide a boost of moisture. Double cleanse if you can, both before bed and when you wake up the following day. Our Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser is a great choice for your second cleanse to ensure your skin is as clean as possible before you head off to sleep.”

Both of these cleansers are also super hydrating, helping to do two steps in one! Or you could opt for our Peppermint Daily Cleanser, and harness the fresh minty scent to keep you feeling more awake so you can complete your routine before nodding off.

So as the summer approaches, and you start to book in more reunions, drinks out with friends, BBQs and general festivities, keep these tips in mind to keep your skin bright and healthy throughout!


Amy @ Team Q+A

Amy Robson
Online community coordinator at Q+A and definitely struggles to turn down a piña colada 🍹

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