As much as I love the holidays, I’m always a bit happy to be done with the indulgence. Don’t get me wrong – I love chocolates and wine as much as the next person but when January rolls around, I start to crave fresh, crispy salads, juicy berries and regular yoga classes. In addition to the few extra pounds that one is often left with during the season of excess, you may notice that your skin isn’t looking as fresh and dewy as normal. May I introduce “wine face”?

What is Wine Face?

A term coined by a London naturopath, wine face, along with gluten face, dairy face and sugar face, outlines the effects that different foods can have on your appearance. I’ve already written about gluten face, sugar face and dairy face.  A new year seems the perfect time to visit wine face.

‘Wine face’ typically happens to those who consume one or two glasses of wine most nights of the week. However it can be triggered by consuming any kind of alcohol.

Alcohol is dehydrating to skin, so it can make fine lines and wrinkles look worse. It’s also implicated with the inhibition of the enzyme that the body uses to fight inflammation leading to highly coloured cheeks and a red nose. This can be exacerbated by the fact alcohol can cause the delicate capillaries of the cheeks and nose to dilate, drawing blood to the surface of the skin. With frequent alcohol consumption, the face may attain a permanent ruddy appearance.

What Does Wine Do to Your Looks?

The main symptoms of wine face include:

  • Lines or redness between the eyes
  • Saggy eyelids
  • Enlarged pores
  • Facial redness
  • Deep laughter lines
  • Dehydrated skin with feathery lines across the cheeks

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Wine Face?

Fortunately, there is a cure and it really isn’t that bad. Take a short alcohol break (three weeks, to allow your gut to rebalance) then stick with an 80/20 rule. Abstain for 80 per cent of the time, but enjoy an odd glass in the other 20 per cent. For most of us, avoiding alcohol during the week and saving it for the weekends or special occasions makes perfect sense.

Beyond the impact on your skin, excessive alcohol consumption has many other negative health implications, including developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. It also increases your risk of developing cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.

Who’s in for dry January?

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the other three faces that the doctor describes:

  1. Gluten Face – Characterized by a range of symptoms including psoriasis, eczema, acne or dry skin.
  2. Sugar Face – Sugar consumption reacts with proteins, creating elements called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) leading to skin that appears wrinkles, saggy and gaunt.
  3. Dairy Face – Characterized by a range of symptoms including swollen eyelids, bags and under eye dark circles, small white spots and bumps on the chin.


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