Hangover Face Is Real: Here’s How To Get Rid Of It

Written by Corina Cardenas, LA, Licensed Aesthetician on January 30, 2023 No Comments


Too much alcohol is bad for the health of your skin, and it truly shows. Drinking often results in puffiness, redness and dryness of the skin. Additionally, alcohol consumption can make numerus chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis worse.

While most are aware of the long-term effects of drinking, a single night of drinks can cause temporary facial appearance issues sometimes deemed “hangover face”. Hangover face manifests with the skin appearing oddly puffy, inflamed, and swollen following a night of throwing them back.

Here’s what to do if you wake up the day after with hangover face:

What Causes Hangover Face?

Hangovers show up in the face due to inflammation, blood vessel dilation and dehydration.

Inflammation: Alcohol is technically a poison, and as such, consumption leads to systemic inflammation. This makes the face appear swollen and puffy, especially under the eyes where skin is thinnest.

Vasodilation: Drinking alcohol causes the blood vessels to relax and dilate. As blood vessels get wider, skin appears redder. While most people associate redness or visible capillaries with long-term drinking, temporary redness can arise after a single night of heavy drinking.

Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic. By stimulating urination, it rids your body of water. Lack of water not only leads to nausea and headaches, but dries out your skin. Dry skin is more likely to show wrinkles and other imperfections. Dehydration also triggers water retention. Fluid retention leads to general puffiness and bags under the eyes.

Can Hangover Face Be Prevented?

The only way to truly prevent hangover face is to drink in moderation. But there are ways to minimize the effects of inflammation and dehydration.

Hydrate before and during your night out:

Dehydrated skin is not the same as dry skin. Even those with an oily complexion can experience skin dehydration. To prevent dehydration, hydrate well before going out and keep hydrating all through your night. Drink at least one full glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.

Choose lower alcohol by volume:

The percent alcohol by volume (ABV) in your drink is directly related to how dehydrating it is. For example, a pint of beer at 5% ABV is less dehydrating than a glass of wine at 12% ABV. Distilled spirits rank as the most dehydrating at nearly 40% ABV.

Avoid sugary drinks:

Drinks high in sugar contribute more to inflammation. To avoid skin swelling, stay away from fruity mixed drinks and sweet wines. Red wine has less sugar than white, while vodka and gin rank lowest in sugar, especially when mixed with just soda or tonic.

Cleanse and moisturize at the end of the night:

At the end of the night, you can skip the thorough skin care routine, but no matter what, clean your face and remove all your makeup. Allowing makeup and dirt to stay on your face overnight clogs pores and increases inflammation. After cleansing, layer on a thick, cream moisturizer or better yet, sleep with a hydrating face mask.

How to Minimize Hangover Face the Morning After

If, despite your best efforts to stay hydrated, you wake up with a red or puffy face, try the following tips to look and feel better.

Cool your skin:

Splash icy cold water on your face or massage your face with ice cubes. Cooling the skin helps constrict blood vessels to reduce redness and swelling. Treat the area around your eyes with cold teaspoons.

Massage your face:

A facial massage improves circulation and lymphatic drainage. Clearing away retained fluid reduces puffiness. Use a jade roller, or just use your hands. Start at the center of your face and gently swipe outwards toward your temples, ears and jawline. You can even keep your roller in the fridge for an added cooling effect.

Use a hydrating mask:

Moisturizing masks rehydrate the skin and help reduce inflammation. Choose a sheet mask that’s labeled as hydrating or soothing. Ingredients such as ceramides and niacinamide are anti-inflammatories while glycerin will help with rehydration.

Soak in Epsom salts:

An Epsom salt bath is not only relaxing, but will improve whole-body circulation for less inflammation. Keep the water lukewarm and not too hot to prevent skin from drying.

Keep makeup simple:

The morning after drinking, keep your makeup routine simple. Just a touch of cream blush, tinted lip gloss and eyebrow pencil is all you need to brighten the face and draw attention up and away from the eyes. Avoid heavy foundation and powders, which can make dry skin appear dull and puffier.

Corina Cardenas, LA

Corina Cardenas is a Licensed Aesthetician and Laser Technician who focuses on ethical and results-driven aesthetics. She specializes in Laser Hair Removal, Extractions, Hydrafacial MD, Microneedling, Dermaplaning, Thermage, Chemical Peels, Acne Facials, CoolTone, and CoolSculpting.

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