Dermatologist Says Too Much Alcohol Can Exacerbate Many Conditions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The effects of the sun on the skin are always a concern during the summer months, but now there is new information that alcohol can also do major damage.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported Tuesday night, many people have reported severe and detrimental effects on their skin, all caused by alcohol.

“It gets red and really hot, and I get really flushed,” said Samantha Kucher. “When I put people’s hands on my skin they’re just surprised by how hot I am. It feels like I have a fever.”

But that is not all. Alcohol is now being blamed for a variety of serious skin conditions.

“Most people do not make the association that alcohol does have an effect on their skin condition,” said Dr. Ariel Ostad, a New York City dermatologist. “And when I bring it to their attention, they say to me, ‘Wow — you know, I’ve never thought about that.’”

Ostad said that alcohol can cause even the most minor skin problems to flare up into more serious conditions. And he said most people don’t even realize what’s at the root of the cause.

“When I drink alcohol, I tend to break out,” said Deanna Kugler, who suffers from inflammatory acne. “Everyone wants to indulge a little bit and luckily we have makeup.”

Other conditions are also affected, Ostad said.

“Patients with eczema, patients with dry skin — that gets exacerbated. Psoriasis — that gets exacerbated,” he said. “There are individuals who suffer with acne, and that can get worse.”

And all of this can be made even worse in the summertime, Ostad said.

“Conditions that are exacerbated by sweating – basically, pimples on the chest, back — people who are running; acne, that will get worse,” he said.

The good news is that lasers can help reverse more severe cases of broken blood vessels, and reduce scarring from acne.

But the best advice is also the most obvious — moderation is the key, and everyone should watch their alcohol intake.

“Once you really make that lifestyle change where you drink less — maybe a glass, like one glass of wine at night — the effects are absolutely reversible,” he said.

Drinking too much can also cause dehydration and make skin look more drawn, experts said.

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