This post looks at the best and worst alcoholic drinks for acne. Which alcoholic drinks are safe for acne and which ones should be avoided? If you haven’t caught up on my previous posts about alcohol and acne then head over to these posts to learn more about the affects alcohol can have on our skin AND some sneaky tricks to help you avoid any post-party breakouts!
Best and worst alcoholic drinks for acne
Remember, any kind of alcoholic drink will have some sort of negative effect on your body, and eventually your skin. But if you’re eating a healthy, wholefood diet AND taking all your essential vitamins and minerals (including probiotics as alcohol and your digestive system are NOT the best of friends) you should be able to enjoy an alcoholic drink without it affecting your acne in a big way.
If you read alcohol & acne: does alcohol cause acne? then you’ll be aware that even 1-2 alcoholic drinks can cause big problems for your digestive system. If your acne is at its peak and you’re just at the start of your healing journey, then you may need to totally eliminate all alcoholic drinks for 3 months and take a good quality probiotic and/or daily probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, goat kefir or kimchi to help get your digestive function back on track. I’ve read accounts from people who were following healthy, gut-healing vegan or paleo diets yet still enjoyed an alcoholic drink a few times a week and we’re not able to fully resolve their digestive issues until they had a 90 day break from alcohol and allowed their bodies to heal properly. After the 3 months were up, many found that they were able to enjoy alcohol again without any of the ill-effects.
That being said, even if your body can tolerate alcoholic drinks, there are some which are much safer for acne sufferers. Read on to find out which are the best and worst alcoholic drinks for acne. I’ve given them all a PBR (Potential Breakout Risk) so you can easily see which alcoholic drinks your skin will thank you (or hate you) the morning after the night before.
Which alcoholic drinks are safe for acne?
Straight up spirits are one of the best options for those who are prone to acne breakouts, unfortunately most people have to mix their spirits with something super sugary before they’re able to enjoy the taste. Amiright?!
Whether it’s clear spirits such as Vodka, Gin and Silver Tequila, or dark spirits such as Rum, Amaretto, Whisky and Golden Tequila, they all pretty much rank the same. Some sources say that darker spirits contain more antioxidants but then at the same time darker spirits contain more compounds called congeners – which can contribute to hellish hangovers. One of the reasons spirits are one of the better alcoholic drinks for acne, is because they contain pretty much zero sugar – meaning no sugar spikes, a common reason behind alcohol related acne breakouts.
PBR: 3/10 – enjoy in moderation
If you’re a sucker for adding tonic or lemonade to your drink – try adding some soda water, lots of fresh lemon juice and a dash of stevia to your clear spirits as an alternative to sugary mixers.
Mixers & Cocktails
Ok, so we’re going from one of the better alcoholic drinks for acne, to easily the worst groups of alcohol that you could be drinking on a night out. If you read my post Alcohol & acne: does alcohol cause acne, you’ll already have a pretty good idea of how bad too much sugar can be for your skin and your health in general. Unfortunately – mixers and cocktails are chock-full of sugar. A single serving of cola containing up to 11 teaspoons of sugar and a “healthier” cranberry juice contain 7.5 teaspoons of sugar! When you break it down like that, it’s pretty shocking how much sugar is hidden in drinks and makes it pretty easy to see how just a few drinks with friends can result in an epic breakout.
While mixers are the worst in terms of sugar content, cocktails aren’t much better with a Daiquiri containing 3 teaspoons of sugar, Cosmopolitans 4 teaspoons of sugar and Margaritas containing 5 teaspoons of sugar! Cocktails are also troublesome as they just taste SO good, so you end up drinking probably a few more than you should…
PBR: 10/10 – avoid unless it’s a one off treat
I love a good mojito so my favourite way to enjoy this cocktail without worrying about breakouts is to muddle fresh lime, mint leaves, a splash of ginger juice, a pinch of stevia and a shot of spiced rum before topping up with crushed ice and soda water – too delicious!
Wine, Prosecco & Champagne
Wine, Prosecco and Champagne are all second best options after straight up spirits and the drier the better with a wine/Prosecco or Champagne containing between 1-5g of sugar – or ¼-1 tsp! If you seem to suffer acne breakouts from the smallest consumption of wine, Prosecco or Champagne – then it may be worth investigating a potential sulphite or histamine intolerance/allergy.
PBR: 4/10 – enjoy up to twice a week
Mulled wine is a great option for this time of year, simply heat up some dry red wine in a saucepan with some clementine slices and anti-inflammatory spices such as cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, nutmeg and a dash of stevia (to sweeten if needed). The longer you stew it, the better!
Beer can be a major source of alcohol fuelled breakouts for many. Why? Because one serving of beer can contain up to 25g carbohydrates. Even though beer doesn’t contain much sugar, the high carb content means that any more than one beer at a time could send your blood sugar levels crazy. If you simply cannot resist a beer or two, then try to stick to ‘light’ beers as they contain about the same amount of carbs as wine.
PBR: 7/10 – avoid unless you’re sticking to light beer
You may have been led to believe that the gluten content in beer is what could be aggravating your skin but there’s actually very minimal amounts of gluten in beer so only those who have coeliac or are hyper-sensitive need to worry.
Unfortunately, cider and your skin don’t mix well. Even though studies have shown that cider contains a really good amount of health-boosting antioxidants, one glass can contain up to 20g of sugar – about 5 teaspoons!
PBR: 8/10 – avoid unless it’s a one off treat
Homemade kombucha, a fermented green tea drink, is a great alternative to cider and contains a beneficial probiotics, enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants!
I didn’t know there was such a thing as a non-alcohol spirit till my friend Liz from Well-Meaning Being mentioned it on her Instagram page the other week! Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit and contains zero calories, is sugar-free, sweetener-free and artificial flavour-free, making it the healthiest option for those looking for a credible alternative to alcohol. That’s right, no breakouts, no sugar spikes, not digestive disruption and no pressure on the liver!
PBR: 1/10 – enjoy to your hearts content (just skip the sugary mixers!)
To make the most delicious and healthiest cocktail that won’t cause a hangover OR a killer breakout, simply mix together fresh peach puree, lime juice and Seedlip Garden topped with crushed ice and soda finished off with a sprig of mint – divine!
Are you planning a night out this week? Check out this blog post to read my top tips for preventing alcohol related acne breakouts!
Do you find you breakout after drinking alcohol? What’s your favourite alcoholic drink for acne prevention? Let me know in the comments below.
Peace, Love & Clear Skin