Does Alcohol Affect Your Skin? I Gave Up Wine for 2 Weeks to Find Out

by Jessica L. Yarbrough

This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.

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When I left behind the celebrity-fueled city of Los Angeles earlier this year in favor of the isolated desert town of Joshua Tree, California, I expected to find ~enlightenment~. But instead, I found wine. Lots of wine. So much wine. Sure, life in the high desert was charming and idyllic at times, but it was also kind of boring, leading me to spend most nights curled up on the couch, sipping on a glass (or two, or three) of cabernet sauvignon.

At first, I was fine with it; it was just a little indulgence, right? But after a few weeks of my nightly ritual, I noticed that my body wasn’t feeling particularly great anymore. In fact, after a month in my new living situation, it became clear that my sensitive and acne-prone skin was way drier, itchier, and more inflamed than usual. And as I poured my second-ish glass of wine one night, I had the sinking feeling that my "little indulgence" might just be ruining my skin.

I mean, sure, we all know a boozy-night out doesn’t exactly leave you with a plump and radiant face the next morning, but what about a nightly glass of wine? That's gotta be harmless, right? And that’s when I started reading Sober Curious, a new book by author Ruby Warrington about the concept of mindful drinking—i.e. living a life that doesn’t involve guzzling two glasses of wine out of habit, especially if they make you feel shitty. The benefits of a sober-curious life can include better sleep, greater focus, and yes, even happier, glowier skin—AKA all the things that my Netflix-and-chilled-rosé lifestyle was lacking.

So, in the spirit of better skin, I devised a little self-imposed challenge: I’d cut alcohol out of my routine for 14 days, document the whole thing in #selfies, and see if the sober-curious life was really the key to excellent skin. And if it worked…well, I guess I’d have to find a new hobby in Joshua Tree.

Obviously, refraining from drinking for two weeks isn’t some impressive feat for most people—but considering I had worked my way up to a few drinks every single night, I was slightly nervous that my challenge might reveal that I was, as Warrington puts it, “probably kind of just a little bit addicted to booze.” Or, more accurately, a little mentally dependent on it. Would I feel left out when my husband ordered a drink at our town’s single dive bar? Would I crave wine? Would I cave?

I shouldn’t have worried. As it turns out, I’m vain enough to give up just about anything if clear, glowing skin is waiting at the finish line.

Jessica DeFinoComment