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These Are the Best Alcoholic Drinks If You Want to Look after Your Skin

Women's Health UK logo Women's Health UK 14/03/2019 Victoria Jowett

Woman having glass of wine © Getty Woman having glass of wine You do not need to be a dermatologist to know that alcohol and your skin are not the happiest of bedfellows. One look at your dry, dull face in the mirror after a night on the tequila sodas tells you all that you need to know.

'There's no doubt alcohol takes its toll on your skin,' says Dr. Sam Bunting, one of London's leading cosmetic dermatologists. 'Over the long term, heavy drinking can lead to persistent inflammation, fixed redness and broken capillaries appearing.'

The fun doesn't stop there. 'Alcohol also dehydrates, leaving skin dry, tight and lacklustre. It's also frequently ingested alongside salty nibbles, and this can lead to facial puffiness, especially in areas of the face that are naturally prone to retaining fluid and swelling, for example the under-eye area.'

'Finally, alcoholic drinks frequently represent a sugar load, which causes insulin levels to spike, and this creates an environment that promotes skin inflammation - so common conditions like acne can flare up.'

With all that in mind, we asked Dr. Bunting to rank seven of our favourite drinks in order of 'bad to worst' for your skin. Here's what she thought.

The best – and worst – alcoholic drinks for your skin

7. Tequila

Tasty alcohol drink cocktail tequila with lime and salt on vibrant dark background. Closeup. Horizontal. © Getty Tasty alcohol drink cocktail tequila with lime and salt on vibrant dark background. Closeup. Horizontal. 'Tequila has less sugar than most other alcoholic counterparts, so it's less likely to trigger inflammation and breakouts,' says Dr Bunting.

'Skip the salt, and there's less chance of a major hangover. This is because tequila is a high-purity spirit that doesn't contain the congeners of darker spirits like whiskey or rum.'

That being said, if you drink particularly high quantities of the stuff (aka slamming tequila shots all night long), your skin and head will suffer. Take it from someone who knows.

6. Beer

'Beer has less alcohol in it than spirits and people tend to drink it slower so it will have a less dehydrating effect than other more potent forms,' says Dr Bunting.

Cheers to that.

Gallery: 40 Nutrition Experts Told Us The Foods You Should Be Eating Every Day [Eat This, Not That!]

5. Gin and tonic or vodka soda

'Gin and vodka are both free of congeners (so less likely to leave you looking for a hangover recovery). They are also relatively low in sugar and salt, provided you go for a diet tonic, so all in all the spirits are less unkind to the skin than their cocktail counterparts,' explains Dr. Bunting.

Gin festival, anyone?

fresh gin tonic © Getty fresh gin tonic

4. White wine

Most of us are all too familiar with the pounding headache brought on by a night on the white wine, and surprise surprise, it won't do any favours for your skin, either.

'White wine is high in sugar, which leads to systemic inflammation. This means that it ultimately contributes to cell damage and increased skin ageing,' says Dr. Bunting.

'White wine has zero redeeming qualities, as there is nothing in it to offer the skin in terms of health benefits.'

3. Mojito

'As we just covered, sugar anywhere in the diet, along with other excessive carbs, leads to systemic inflammation, which can lead to increased skin ageing. The less sugar you take in with your alcohol, the better your long-term wrinkle risk. Unfortunately, mojitos are loaded with sugar/sugar syrup, as are drinks mixed with Red Bull, Fruit Juices or Coca-Cola', explains Dr. Sam.

a cup of coffee on a table: Close-Up Of Drink On Table © Alexey Dulin / EyeEm - Getty Images Close-Up Of Drink On Table

And it's not just wrinkles you have to worry about. 'Sugar also causes acne by spiking your insulin levels, causing inflammation throughout the body.'

2. Margherita

"A margarita serves up a double whammy due to the dangerous duo of sugar and salt", says Dr. Sam. "This leads to the puffy-faced look we associate with a hangover, not to mention the other potentially ageing effects of sugar long term."

There you have it. If life gives you limes, maybe don't make margarita.

1. Red wine

Yup, we hate to break it to you, but red wine is pretty much the worst drink for your face.

'Alcohol is a vasodilator, meaning it promotes the opening of blood vessels in the skin, which is how it leads to increased redness. Red wine is one of the worst culprits, as its also a histamine releaser which again promotes redness and flushing', says Dr. Sam.

'This makes it the worst drink, particularly if you're prone to redness or live with rosacea.'

Gallery: 13 Popular Bar Orders Ranked by Sugar Content [Women's Health]

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