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Magazine

Watching Your Alcohol Intake to Prevent Skin Problems

May 26, 2020 · 6 min read

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How much alcohol is too much? The answer is different for everyone based on factors like age, sex, height, and weight. But general guidelines in the UK advise limiting alcohol consumption to 14 units per week for the general population, to help prevent various health conditions. 

The link between alcohol and psoriasis

Alcohol can be a trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, particularly in the case of excessive or chronic alcohol consumption. This may be due to the effects of alcohol on the following… 

Alcohol and the immune system

Psoriasis symptoms are largely caused by faults with the immune system that lead to inflammation and a hyperproliferation of skin cells. Chronic alcohol use impairs and inhibits the immune system, which could trigger the inflammatory response in psoriasis patients.

 Alcohol and inflammation

Alcohol is related to the body’s inflammatory response in a number of ways. Partly, it disrupts the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, resulting in inflammation in the intestines, which can impact other areas of the body like the skin.

Alcohol and t-cells

T-cells are responsible for recognising threats in the body and “attacking” them with an inflammatory response. Alcohol consumption disrupts regular T-cell function, contributing to the abnormal inflammatory response associated with psoriasis.  

 Alcohol and cytokines

Alcohol also interferes with cytokines, which play another role in controlling the immune system’s inflammatory response. An excess of cytokines can lead to an autoimmune response.

 Should psoriasis patients give up alcohol?

Given that alcohol may be connected with psoriasis and the flare-up of symptoms, cutting out drinking may be the safer option. In the long-term, avoiding alcohol could result in a significant improvement in your symptoms and a reduced frequency of flare-ups.

Speak to your GP for more advice about psoriasis and drinking alcohol. 

Did you like this article? Check out our blog for more tips on how to prevent skin conditions.

 

  • 8 UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines (2016) 
  • Sureshchandra, S., Raus, A., Jankeel, A. et al. Dose-dependent effects of chronic alcohol
  • drinking on peripheral immune responses. Sci Rep 9, 7847 (2019)
  • Svanström C, Lonne-Rahm SB, Nordlind K. Psoriasis and alcohol. Psoriasis (Auckl). (2019)
  • Barr, T., Helms, C., Grant, K., & Messaoudi, I. Opposing effects of alcohol on the immune system. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry.  (2016).