Is Hangover Skin a Thing? Get Your Glow Back With This Easy Hangover Skincare Routine

Your head and stomach feel terrible, but is your skin also regretting your choices?
BY Sarah Lim
| January, 2023
Easy Hangover Skincare Routine

Your holiday party is finally here. The tinsel is coiled around your frosted tree, the eggnog is flowing, and your guests are all singing along to Mariah Carey. You finally relax for approximately four minutes before your great-aunt starts criticizing all your decorations and hors-d’œuvre choices. The next thing you know, you’re up with a severe hangover. A hangover is never pleasant, but it can also have an adverse effect on your skin.

Hangover skin is a thing since alcohol has some pretty significant effects on the skin, particularly after a night of drinking. If you’ve overindulged and are now looking a little worse for the wear, don’t worry—the proper skincare routine can help get you back on track.

So, what does a hangover skincare routine look like? We’ve got all the details here to help you get your holiday glow back and minimize the effects of alcohol on your skin.

How Alcohol Can Affect Your Skin

How Alcohol Can Affect Your Skin

Before we dive into your hangover skincare routine, it’s essential to understand how alcohol can affect the skin.

Alcohol has a drying effect on the body, which can cause skin dryness. Although dry skin may not sound like a big deal, dry skin can look more wrinkled and stiff than usual, enhancing any fine lines you may already have. In addition, this dehydrating effect may cause the area around the eyes to appear more sunken

Drinking can also cause skin inflammation, affecting the skin’s underlying structure, including collagen, causing the skin to look more aged. It can also cause eye puffiness and sagging.

If you have an existing skin condition such as rosacea, psoriasis, dermatitis, or eczema, drinking alcohol, especially too much, can worsen the condition or cause flare symptoms

As you can see, the effects of alcohol on your skin aren’t sound—sorry if you thought those antioxidants in the wine were helping you out!

The Hangover Cure Skincare Routine

So, you’ve drank too much and are now seeing the effects of hangover skin (hey, we’ve all been there). Don’t panic—you can reset your skin even if you have a pounding headache or feel like you want to lie in bed all day with these few simple steps.

Step One: Cleanse

Cleanse

Your hangover skincare routine starts before you crash the night of. If you’re wearing makeup (and even if you’re not), wash your face and moisturize before bed. You may need to cleanse again in the morning if your makeup isn’t entirely removed (doing a double-cleanse with cleansing oil is your best bet to remove every bit of makeup).

Step Two: Exfoliate

Exfoliate

Exfoliating your hangover skin will create a smooth foundation for your glow and help you shed dead skin cells that can contribute to a tired, hungover look. Use an exfoliant based on your skin type. Gentle, chemical exfoliants are generally better than harsher, physical exfoliants this time of year, as they can help skin retain moisture better and prevent irritation.

Step Three: Decrease Inflammation

Decrease Inflammation

If your skin looks a bit puffy or you have puffy eyes, it’s time to help reduce that inflammation before you go all in with your moisturizer and eye cream. If you have a facial roller, pop it in the fridge (or freezer) to help get it cold, then give your face a massage, focusing on any areas that feel tight or sore and gently working them out.

As a bonus, this step will also increase circulation, which can carry away toxins and help skin look more awake and nourished.

Step Four: Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C will help brighten skin and may help reduce puffiness after a hangover. You can use a vitamin C serum, mask, or toner to help keep skin looking bright and fresh before you use a moisturizer. Expert tip: you can even take vitamin C in a supplement form to help revitalize skin and heal your body, starting the night of your drinking or the next day.

Step Five: Moisturize

Moisturize

Depending on how bad it is, you have a few options for moisturizing your hangover skin.

If your skin looks extra dehydrated with fine lines and a rough texture (or if you were not able to cleanse and moisturize the night before), go ahead and do a face mask. You can pop a sheet mask or a cream mask in the fridge and help use the coolness to reduce skin inflammation.

For skin that doesn’t look terrible (or you did your moisturizer the night before), you can skip the mask and go straight to a hydrating serum. A serum will sink into your skin, deliver nutrients that may help decrease inflammation and wrinkles and create a bouncy canvas for your moisturizer.

Whether you did a mask or serum (skip the serum if you do a mask), now it’s time for your moisturizing cream. For very dry or sensitive skin, a cream is generally better than a lotion, especially when dealing with a hangover. You can also use a face oil, whether in place of your cream or on top of it, to help accentuate your natural glow.

Don’t Forget…

Don’t Forget

Another important aspect of hangover skincare, even if it isn’t necessarily a phase in your skincare routine, is to take care of your body after a hangover.

Don’t forget to eat healthily and drink plenty of water after a hangover. Water will help restore hydration to your skin and reduce the effects of alcohol on your complexion.

Research also shows that eating healthy fats, namely linoleic acid, which includes nuts and seeds, and foods with vitamin C, such as citrus foods and peppers, can help improve the appearance of the skin. 

Find Out Your Skin Type Now

Not sure what YOUR skin type is? Take our free quiz to find out now—it’s fast and can help you take the best care of your hangover skin by choosing the right products following a night of drinking. What’s your go-to hangover skincare routine? Please let us know in the comments!

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