Women who are concerned about the health of their skin may want to think twice the next time they reach for a Chardonnay or a Cosmo.
According to new research published online today in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, increased consumption of alcohol, particularly white wine and liquor, is associated with a higher risk of rosacea in women.
“Drinking alcohol has a number of effects on your body that can impact your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist and study author Abrar A. Qureshi, MD, chair of the department of dermatology at Brown University in Providence, R.I. “While alcohol has been linked to a variety of skin disorders, including psoriasis and acne, our research suggests that it’s also associated with the development of rosacea in women.”
The research found that women who drank alcohol had an elevated risk of developing rosacea, and that risk increased as their alcohol consumption increased. In examining the risk associated with specific types of alcohol, the researchers found that white wine and liquor were significantly associated with a higher rosacea risk.
Although more research is necessary to determine why alcohol consumption may increase the risk of rosacea, the authors believe that alcohol’s weakening of the immune system and widening of the blood vessels could contribute to the redness and flushing that occur when one develops the condition.
While red wine has been identified as a rosacea trigger for those who already have the disease, this study suggests it is not significantly associated with developing rosacea in the first place. The authors note that white wine and liquor contain high concentrations of alcohol without the flavonoids and other anti-inflammatory substances found in red wine. Despite its anti-inflammatory properties, however, red wine also contains other substances, like histamine and resveratrol, that may contribute to flushing in patients who already have rosacea.
“Women who wish to maintain the health of their skin—and their overall health—should limit their alcohol consumption,” Dr. Qureshi adds. “Those who believe they have rosacea should see a board-certified dermatologist for the proper diagnosis and treatment.”
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest dermatologic associations.