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Skin hangovers are that visual reminder of, wait – you drunk how much? Discover the best and worst drinks for your skin and how to counteract the alcohol fallout


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Ah, the literal beauty of drinking. The kind of person who orders a Picante de la Casa at the bar might well be the kind of person who knows the cult-like kudos of a savoury cocktail, where to get the perfect manicure to compliment her drink-holding hand, and who laughs in the face of frizz. Tomorrow, however, might be a different story for her hungover skin. While your liver processes the night before, have you ever considered how your skin might be processing your drink du jour? Or how that generous whisky pour might be clogging your pores?


Your tequila is trying to kill you(r glowing complexion)

Tequila isn’t the worst skin disruptor in the world. Until you lick salt off the back of your hand (bloating), or add a sugary syrup (glycation), or drink so many you forget to take your make-up off before you go to bed (how could you? And blocked pores).


Now this is crazy, but tequila is also good for your skin when applied topically with a cotton pad as a natural cleansing astringent. It can detoxify and tighten your pores after the Picante de la Casas opened them. True story. Do not try this with a tequila cocktail-soaked cotton pad, just the pure stuff (or a topical astringent like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner).


Drink it neat, because you’ll (hopefully) drink it more slowly. Sip it like you’re Don Draper and savour the sophistication.



Your red wine is, I’m sorry, your worst enemy (skin-wise)

Even though it is swimming with anti-ageing resveratrol antioxidants (also found in chocolate – you’re welcome), and even though it has less sugar than white wine, red wine is a vasodilator, which means it opens the blood vessels. On top of this, the sugar in it leads to cell damage, and it inflames the heck out of your skin. Sorry.


Drink as much water as possible. Your body is trying to retain moisture, which enlarges blood vessels and causes bloating. Try a calming eye cream (you’ll see puffiness most here) like StriVectin-AR Advanced Retinol Eye Treatment.


There’s no good news here. Just enjoy your Malbec, then put a green-toned concealer in your bag to counteract the redness tomorrow morning.


Your Manhattan is ageing your skin

As a general rule, clear alcohol will leave your system the quickest. Whisky is definitely not clear, and the darker the spirit, the higher the concentration of congeners (the fermentation by-product that boosts the severity of your hangovers). But it gets even worse for your skin when you mix it with sweet vermouth and a maraschino cherry. You’ll probably drink those more easily, dehydrating your skin and introducing it to impurities galore. Your poor skin.


Rehydrate. A super-nourishing sheet mask like Oh K! Super Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogel Face Mask, £6, before bed will probably help bring you back down to earth while it gives your skin a metaphorical litre of water.


Drink it neat, because you’ll (hopefully) drink it more slowly. Sip it like you’re Don Draper and savour the sophistication.


Your white wine is damaging your skin cells

The sulfites in wine allow it to age elegantly, but the pay-off is the opposite for your skin. Saying that, white wine is clearer, so less congeners, aka less severe hangovers. Saying that, it has a high sugar content so it’s a bad glycation and dehydration culprit, meaning bad cell damage. Meh. You decide.


Hyaluronic acid is the best glycation antidote. And a serum will deliver it to the deeper layers of your skin. Slap some Paula's Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster, £33, on before you accidentally brush your teeth with hand cream, and wake up fresh-faced and fuzzy mouthed.


On a scale of least to most sugar, go for bone-dry Chablis rather than rich Sauternes. (Sauvy B falls nearer the low end – you’re OK).


Your Aperol spritz is trying to give you acne

The universal truth of spritzes is they are usually supplemented with loads of low-quality prosecco, and we all know that low-quality prosecco equals high-quantity sugar. In this instance it’s probably trying to trigger the IGF-1 hormone (because that’s what sugar does), which makes you overproduce pore-clogging oil and then, lo, spots.


Do a glycolic sweep before bed. Pour some The Ordinary Glycolic Toning Solution £6.80 onto a cotton pad and go over any high-risk areas, then stay still till the room stops spinning and go to bed.


It’s a bold move, but you could always swap the prosecco part for champagne. Or at least extra brut prosecco (it’s the driest option).


Your champagne is tricking you into drinking more of it

Because it’s so fizzy and fun, and comes in suspiciously elegant glasses that make you think you’re consuming a thimbleful, so it’s totally fine to have another four before you even think about the fact you’re drinking sugary bubbles in excess, so your skin will not be coping. But by then you’re having too much fun to care. Hic.


Extreme skin dehydration alert. If your skin can take it, use a rich night cream like Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Night Infusion Cream, £39 and sleep in it. Plus, an eye cream. Plus, a humidifier if you’ve got one – great help.


Supplement every second glass for H20. Put it in an elegant flute if it helps, but you’ll be pre-emptively hydrating and pacing at the same time.


Your espresso martini is a double whammy of doom

Whoever thought it was a good idea to combine alcohol with coffee was a taste-making genius dermatologist’s worst nightmare. It spikes your blood sugar levels and your cortisol, it keeps you awake so it keeps you drinking, it’s so delicious you could have six in a row, but don’t do that. You won’t sleep, your antioxidant defences will be down, your complexion will be grey and dull and you might succumb to a heart attack.


At least coffee restricts your blood vessels so you shouldn’t be too red, but to fix the greyness? You need some glow-boosting vitamin C. Try Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules.


Honestly, you never need more than one coffee cocktail. The good news is a martini is (clear) vodka based, so downgrade to a cucumber one maybe?


Your gin/vodka and tonic is skin-friendly(ish). Hold the tonic

The clearer and purer the better, gin and vodka have less additives and aren’t loaded with salt or sugar so they go in and out of your system the fastest. That is till you mix them with anything tasty, including carbonated tonic water. In that case, you may as well be drinking wine, skin-wise.


There’s not too much to fix here, just don’t drink so many that you fall asleep face down in your foundation.


Avoid the mixers. Gin shots may not have caught on yet, but you could always try and make that a thing? Otherwise, choosing fresh lime instead of lime cordial is going to win some skin brownie points.

How to make a Picante
de la Casa


2 oz tequila

1 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz agave nectar

12 coriander leaves, and a sprig for garnish

1 or one quarter inch piece of a fresno or Jalapeeño chilli pepper, plus 2 slices for garnish


Muddle tequila, lime juice, agave, coriander leaves, and chile in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour over ice rocks and garnish with coriander sprig and chilli slices.

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