Prevent Alcohol-Induced Breakouts With These Tips

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The morning after a party can often feel like playing Russian roulette: You either wake up with a headache, last night's lipstick bleeding onto your face, or surprise pimples littered in the most inconvenient places (or all three). The aftermath of a heavy night of drinking manifests in many different ways, including mini breakouts. While it's not the alcohol itself that causes acne, the effect it has on different parts of your body can lead to spots, according to Healthline.

As Dr. Whitney Bowe tells Shape, alcohol has a drying effect on your skin, which is ground zero for breakouts. "When the skin is dry, it can't exfoliate properly and pores get clogged, leading to breakouts," she explains. And while your first instinct might be to pile on the moisturizer to combat dry skin, it's important to note that if you don't use the right products, you could make the problem even worse. 

Not only that, but relying on skincare products to solve the issue fails to address the root cause of the breakouts in the first place — in this case, alcohol. While you don't need to skip happy hour with your colleagues or a night out with your friends, you should prepare your body and your skin in particular to minimize any possible aftereffects. 

Your first line of defense is picking the right drink

Not all drinks are created equal. The severity of your alcohol-induced breakout depends on your drink of choice. Red wine is more acne-friendly to an extent because it contains the inflammation-fighting antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol has been found to have a number of different health benefits, from lowering blood sugar and fighting cancer to being antiaging and, as mentioned above, anti-inflammatory, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Cocktails are a less healthy choice given their high sugar content. From margaritas and mojitos to mimosas and piña coladas, mixed drinks taste nice but can pack a sugary punch — up to 25 grams, per Spoon University. Excessive sugar consumption should be avoided for a number of reasons. Not only can it throw your hormones out of whack and boost your body's insulin levels, but it can also lead to inflammation that can irritate your skin and lead to breakouts, per Florida Dermatology and Skin Care Centers.

Decrease the likelihood of a breakout with these steps

The cardinal rule has always been to avoid drinking on an empty stomach. This will keep you from getting drunk too quickly by preventing the alcohol from entering your bloodstream too quickly. However, there are other non-negotiables you need to follow to avoid an alcohol-induced breakout. Alcohol functions as a diuretic and increases how much water your body releases, which explains your unquenchable thirst (and why you might find yourself hitting the bathroom more than once).

When you're drinking, it's a good idea to keep a bottle of water close by. Not only will it stop you from becoming dehydrated, but it will also lessen the effects of alcohol. Per Healthline, it's a good idea to drink around 16 ounces of water for every 12 ounces of beer or 4 to 6 ounces of alcohol you imbibe. That sounds like a pretty lofty goal for many, but it's one your skin will thank you for striving towards.

When you get home, you should continue your preventative measures. Eating bananas will help replace the potassium that gets lost after a night out, per CNN. As an added bonus, potassium helps your body fight acne-causing bacteria. So, there are wins all around. If you're in a dips-and-chips mood, hummus is packed with vitamin E and fiber, both of which promote clear skin, per Cosmopolitan Middle East. While you're at it, your skin will also thank you for stocking up on omega-3 power foods such as fish, nuts, and wild rice.

Implement this skincare routine after a night out

Never has your skincare routine mattered more than the morning after a night of partying. Like the sacred "eat before you drink" rule, taking off your makeup should be your natural first step before your head hits your pillow. Be kind to your pores. Your leftover makeup look can be harsh on your skin and cause more problems than you'd expect in just a few short hours of sleep.

For the signature hangover puffiness, an ice roller is the holy grail you never knew you needed. When you use an ice roller the right way, it can kick redness to the curb, suppress inflammation and increase blood flow. Another miracle product that will fit in seamlessly with your nighttime routine is a hydrating face serum. A good serum will help fight redness and give your skin much-needed moisture. Cerave's Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a popular choice, especially since it's safe for sensitive skin. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is also a good option, as is COSRX's cult favorite Snail Mucin 96% Power Repairing Essence.

Once the sun is up, head straight to your fridge and grab plain yogurt to cool down your skin. StyleCraze stresses that a yogurt mask is just what the doctor ordered, considering it's packed with anti-inflammatory properties like zinc. If you don't have the ingredients in to make your own or simply don't like the feeling, a hydrating sheet mask can work just as well. Follow that up with a layer or two of your favorite moisturizer for good measure.