Is Wine Face Making You Look Older

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Helen Foster
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You might know that alcohol isn’t great for your skin, but did you know it could actually make you look older in as little as a weekend? Here’s why – and tips on how to fix it from a skin doctor to the stars.

silhouette of a woman drinking wine

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The term wine face was created by naturopath Dr Nigma Talib, who works with celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Sophia Vergara and Sienna Miller – all of whom seem to be defying time! She discusses it at length in her book Reverse The Signs of Ageing which examines all the factors that can make you look older than you actually are.

It’s pretty comprehensive. However, my attention was drawn very quickly to Chapter Two, in which Dr. Talib discusses how she can spot whether someone is intolerant to or overconsuming substances like alcohol, gluten, dairy and sugar simply by looking for certain signs on their skin.

She says she can even spot people on the street who are consuming something that doesn’t agree with them through the patterns of spots, lines and colours on their faces. Alcohol is commonly linked with signs that make you look older, like ruddy skin and lines between your brows.

So, now I know what you’re asking: Could you have a wine face? Well, here’s a handy checklist of symptoms to take to the mirror….

The Seven Symptoms of Wine Face

Pronounced lines or spots between the brows

Droopy eyelids

Pronounced fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes

Dehydrated skin with feathery lines across the cheeks

Visibly enlarged pores

A reddish skin tone

Deep nasal labial folds

Erm, yes tick all of the above….. it’s enough to drive me to a Pinot Grigio to cheer myself up! I guess that’s not quite the plan.

Why Wine Face Happens

The fact is that alcohol really isn’t good for your skin.

In my book How to Quit Alcohol (For a Month, I investigated all the benefits of giving up drinking even just for a few weeks, and while most of them happen internally so don’t deliver any noticeable benefits, your face will show changes pretty fast. Changes like these…

Reduced Redness

Drinking causes the blood vessels of the body to dilate, and in areas of the face where the skin is thinner, like the cheeks and chin or in the whites of the eyes, you may notice a ruddy tone and flushing.

If this happens constantly, you might think it’s your normal skin tone, but once you quit, you’ll rapidly notice your skin looks less red, and your eyes are whiter and brighter.

Natural Contouring

You may also notice that your face starts to look slimmer when you stop drinking alcohol for a little while. This is also related to those enlarged blood vessels, which leak watery fluid into the surrounding tissues, creating a bloated, puffy look—especially when you wake up in the morning. As you stop drinking, this fluid drains away, and your face will start to look thinner.

Fewer Fine Lines

Alcohol also dehydrates the skin, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. As you stop drying out the skin (especially if you drink more water to replace the booze you were consuming), these fine lines will plump back up, and you’ll turn back the clock on how you look.

Less Noticeable Brow Lines

None of that, though, is the biggest change. That prize goes to the elimination of ‘eleven lines’. These are the lines between your eyebrows that people use Botox to eliminate, but Dr Talib says that when you give up drinking, these can fade or even disappear during your month off—and in some people, it can even look as if they have had Botox!

The reason is that the area between the brows is associated with liver health in Chinese medicine. If the liver is overworked, which can be if you drink too much, lines form in this area. Take a break and they become less noticeable. If you’re over 40, obviously, some of these lines will be actual wrinkles, but I do notice that mine do become worse after a weekend of fun.

Fewer Dark Circles

Dark circles might also be related to drinking. In Chinese medicine, they show that your kidneys are a little overworked. They can, too, disappear during your month off.

How to Combat Wine Face

The good news is you don’t have to become completely teetotal to see a change in your skin. Here’s Dr Talib’s advice

Take a Short Break

To reverse wine face fast, stop drinking for a while. The cycle of the skin cells is about 28 days, so a month off booze will make a huge difference. This will also give your liver and kidneys a long rest, resulting in positive changes in your skin.

If the very idea fills you with horror, click here for some suggestions that make that a bit easier to give up drinking without destroying your social life.

After your month off, it’s time to moderate your drinking a bit to protect your skin.

Don’t Drink Every Day

You don’t have to be abstinent for life. After your short cleanse, Dr Talib only suggests that you have more non-drinking days a week than drinking ones (these non-alcohol drink alternatives make this much easier) and that you never drink two days on the trot to give your body a chance to eliminate toxins.

Choose Wisely

She also suggests choosing drinks without skin pollutants. She doesn’t think gluten is good for the skin so that rules out beer and some gins, vodka and whiskeys. Stick to gluten-free spirits like rum, tequila or potato-based vodka – and read labels carefully on other drinks.

Wine does not contain gluten, but it can be quite sugary which also ages the skin, so choose drier varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Merlot or Pinot Noir. For the same reason, stick with sparkling or soda water, over sugary mixers if you are drinking spirits.

Try and choose sulphite-free wines. Sulphites are used in wine as a preservative and it can cause sensitivity that aggravates wine face – if you sneeze, cough, wheeze or find your nose running after drinking wine you might be sensitive to sulphites.

Consider Milk Thistle

When you are drinking, the herb milk thistle can help you detox alcohol faster, which can help reduce some of the strain on the liver. If you like tablets, have a look at Healthspan’s Milk Thistle.

If you don’t like tablets, then you can try A.Vogel Milk Thistle tincture – this is the product I use, but  remember you’ll always taste a tincture more than a pill. I still remember my sister-in-law’s face the morning after her hen night when I gave her some water with this in – it wasn’t a good look!

The Three Other Faces of Aging.

These tips are only the start of Dr. Talib’s inside-out approach to tackling aging in the body and the skin.

In addition, she has also identified what she calls Gluten Face, Dairy Face, and Sugar Face in the book—and again, she tells you what clues to look for on your face to explain if you might be overdoing any of those foods, too.

Thankfully, she also gives lots of tips on what to do if you DO suspect you have any of what she calls ‘The Four Faces of Ageing.’ Find Reverse The Signs of Ageing here.

So, there you have it, our quick guide to wine face and how to avoid it. I know I regularly suffer from it. When I gave up booze to test all the ideas while writing Quit Alcohol, my skin never looked better, I particularly noticed a change in the red tone it has and those brow lines -but, unfortunately, I like socialising slightly more than I like looking younger! I do still follow the ‘don’t drink on more days than you abstain’ advice though.

What to Read Next

If you’re contemplating Botox to handle the effects of wine face, you might want to have a look at some of our Botox advice posts…

In our guide to not making a Botox mistake you’ll find the essential questions you should always ask your injector to get a good result.

Did you know that you should avoid alcohol before and after your Botox injections – here’s why and how long you need to take a break for.

You also need to take a break from exercise after Botox – find out the experts advice about that here.


Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

5 thoughts on “Is Wine Face Making You Look Older”

  1. I have poured another rioja after reading that! I’m growing old with a ruddy face full of character and ugly enough to scare the grand children should we be blessed with any. Xxx

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