The Worst Types Of Alcohol To Drink If You Want To Avoid Breaking Out

Dry January? Sober October? Abstaining from alcohol simply because you want to? All valid reasons to lay off the booze. But what if we told you that aside from suffering fewer hangovers and enjoying higher levels of energy, drinking less could also make your skin better than ever? Eureka!


"Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin," nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez told Vogue in December 2022. "I always joke with my patients, 'If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!'" 

Still, expecting one who has a healthy relationship with alcohol to refrain from imbibing at happy hour or enjoying a mimosa at brunch 365 days a year, all in the name of better skin, is quite a tall order. Perhaps, however, there are ways around it — like avoiding alcohols that are proven to be the worst for your skin. Here's a rundown of the top alcohols one should steer clear of if a healthy, blemish-free glow is what they're after!

Sweet mixed drinks aren't great

If you like piña coladas... you might have a skin situation on your hands.

"Sugar anywhere in the diet, along with other excessive carbs, leads to systemic inflammation, which can lead to increased skin aging," Dr. Sam Bunting told Cosmopolitan in December 2021. "The less sugar you take in with your alcohol, the better for your long-term wrinkle risk," she warned. So which sugary cocktails should skin-conscious imbibers avoid? As it turns out, mojitos are big NO-jito! "Mojitos are loaded with sugar/sugar syrup, as are drinks mixed with Red Bull, fruit juices, or Coca-Cola," Dr. Bunting added. Perhaps, even rapper Snoop Dogg should consider swapping his beloved gin and juice cocktail for gin and coconut water instead. "One of the easiest and healthiest hacks to quickly hydrate is to have coconut water," Dr. Siddhant Bhargava told Vogue in 2018. Hey, it's all about balance, right?!


Beer is no bueno

Beer: it's what's for dinner bad skin.

In short: beer is loaded down with carbs which makes it a recipe for disaster when it comes to a person's skin. Per Good Glow, one beer contains roughly 12 carbs and, once consumed, can result in a flurry of acne-causing hormones. But that's not all. According to Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, beer contains high levels of congeners — a fancy word for chemicals that contribute to inflammation and dehydration. "All types of alcohol increase inflammation in the body. Some types may be more likely to increase inflammation," she explained to the Sunday Edit in October 2022 about the pick-your-poison predicament when it comes to alcohol.


Still, one expert is adamant that not all hope is lost when it comes to ale. Aside from the number of carbs and salt it contains, Dr. Sam Bunting argued to Cosmopolitan that beer also contains antioxidants and other anti-aging benefits. "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," she said.

Red Wine is a problem

Red, red wine goes to your head and your skin.

Sorry, not sorry red wine lovers. The maroon-tinted vino doesn't actually love you back — at least not your skin, anyway. "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 it's also a histamine releaser which again promotes redness and flushing," Dr. Sam Bunting told Cosmopolitan. "This makes it the worst drink, particularly if you're prone to redness or with rosacea."


But if you're thinking of swapping your red wine for a paler shade, think again. As it turns out, white wine isn't that much better. According to Dr. Bunting, white wine is loaded down with tons of sugar and... not much else. Womp, womp, womppp. "White wine has zero redeeming qualities, as there is nothing in it to offer the skin in terms of health benefits," she revealed.

Tequila is a better option for those prone to breakouts

So what's the best alcohol to consume when it comes to avoiding a breakout?

According to Dr. Sam Bunting, tequila is a safe bet for those who are more prone to acne. "Tequila has less sugar than most other alcoholic counterparts, so it's less likely to trigger inflammation and breakouts," she explained to Cosmopolitan. Meanwhile, celebrity aesthetician Angela Caglia told Refinery29 that tequila even comes with a few health benefits, including the potential to lower blood pressure and aid digestion. It's also important to note that clear tequila is better as it contains fewer chemicals from the fermentation process. And as always, moderation is key. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate alcohol consumption is two drinks or less per day for men and one drink or less for women. As the old saying goes, one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR.


Alexa, play "Tequila" by country pop duo Dan + Shay.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).