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The Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption and Atopic Dermatitis


Test your knowledge and explore a recent study on the relationship between alcohol consumption and skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis.

Throughout history, alcohol consumption has played a significant role in human culture, influencing various aspects of health, including liver diseases, neurological disorders, and different types of cancer. The impact of alcohol on skin diseases has often been overlooked. In a recent review, investigators explored recent research progress on the effects and potential mechanisms of alcohol consumption on various skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer.

maew/Adobe Stock

maew/Adobe Stock

Alcohol, specifically ethanol, is a small molecule that can permeate lipids and water, affecting nearly every tissue in the body. Although the impact on the skin is relatively minor compared to other organs, given the skin's status as the largest organ, it should not be ignored. Ethanol undergoes metabolic processes, producing acetaldehyde and reactive oxygen species, potentially leading to oxidative stress, epigenetic effects, and damage to the immune system, even contributing to carcinogenesis.

5 Considerations With Alcohol

1. The skin-gut axis: Alcohol intake may alter the gut microbiota, impacting patients with skin diseases such as rosacea, often associated with gastrointestinal conditions like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and Helicobacter pylori infection.

2. Stimulation of skin inflammation: Alcohol stimulates the production of inflammatory cytokines and promotes lymphocyte proliferation, exacerbating inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis.

3. Promotion of vascular permeability: Alcohol increases microvascular permeability, potentially causing skin flushing and inducing tissue inflammation.

4. Damage caused by metabolites: Metabolism of alcohol produces acetaldehyde and reactive oxygen species, affecting DNA's biological function through oxidative stress and epigenetic effects, possibly leading to immune system damage or carcinogenesis.

A Closer Look at Atopic Dermatitis and Alcohol

Focusing on atopic dermatitis, current research divides the impact of alcohol consumption into two major categories: the risk in offspring of mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy and the risk in individuals who consume alcohol regularly. Studies show a significant association between maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and atopic dermatitis in offspring, with some indicating a dose-dependent relationship. Additionally, recent research highlights potential associations between moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and higher levels of alcohol consumption, emphasizing the need for investigating this relationship at various disease severity and alcohol consumption levels.

In conclusion, understanding the intricate relationship between alcohol consumption and skin diseases is crucial for comprehensive health management. Further research is needed to unravel the complexities and develop targeted interventions for individuals at risk.

Test Your Knowledge

What does current research suggest about the relationship between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the risk of atopic dermatitis in offspring?


Liu L, Chen J. Advances in Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption and Skin Diseases. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2023;16:3785-3791. Published 2023 Dec 29. doi:10.2147/CCID.S443128

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