Published on | by redblob


Alcohol and Psoriasis: Do a Few Beers Really Matter?

Do you like to come home after a hard days work and pick at your flakes as you cry in the corner of your living room nursing a bottle of Jack Daniels? Well, so do I. And apparently its not that good for you if what people say about alcohol and psoriasis is true.

Drinking problem? What drinking problem?

Drinking problem? What drinking problem?

Now everyone knows you go red after a few drinks, but with psoriasis, you REALLY GO RED! That became apparent to me during my first year of uni in the UK, when I glugged my way through more alcohol than I had ever done in my life before; it was wonderful, and terrible. For every ml, I paid with a bagful of silvery flakes.

Now fast-forward 6 years, and I’ve learned to go easy when I go out – for the sake of my skin. I still get awesome drunk from time to time, but I know to expect payback from my skin when I wake up, and a flaky hungover is not what I want.

Alcohol sucks all the moisture out of your skin

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it dehydrates your body. So you can imagine what it does to skin that already has a predisposition to being dry and flaky! Yes, it dries it out like a slice of buffalo meat being smoked by a bunch of Red Indians.

Does that mean I can’t drink? Is life worth living? Since the body mainly eliminates alcohol through urination, it means that there’ll be less water available to keep the skin nice and moist. Not only that, but excessive use of alcohol (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous style) has been linked to deficiencies of vitamin A and E, which are vital if you want to have soft, peach-like skin.

So, if you want your skin to have a fighting chance against psoriasis, we suggest that you go easy on the liver-pounding! This means no more beer, no jägerbombs, no piña coladas, no vodka, no sambuca. ONLY TEQUILA. Just kidding, no tequila. Even something as small as 1 unit of alcohol can make your body explode into a flare up.

And if that’s not enough, there’s more. Some treatments for psoriasis, such as methotrexate, already put a lot of strain on the liver, and the combined pressure of alcohol can lead to serious long-term damage in the poor organ.

The good news about alcohol and psoriasis… *hic*

Some alcohol types are tolerated by psoriasis sufferers

Game on!

The good news is that when you do manage to take control of your psoriasis, you are allowed a glass or two of red wine – it seems to be well-tolerated by most people with psoriasis.

Just remember to not go overboard, and drink plenty of water – 2 litres MINIMUM. We’re not kidding, guzzle it like you’re a 4×4 at the fuel pump. Trust me, when I haven’t, I’ve woken up the morning after a big night with psoriasis so sore that I want to scratch my skin off completely.

After that, just experiment with what different alcohol does to you; for example, I’ve found out that drinking vodka straight is tolerable for my skin (in certain quantities of course), but even 2 beers of Budweiser will seriously inflame it. What do you think about alcohol and psoriasis? Does it affect you? Please share your story below.

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About the Author

I'm just an average 28 year old living with psoriasis. Over the last decade, I've tried everything, from real snake poison to rubbing banana peels over my body. I've finally found an approach that's working for me, and I'm sharing it with all the flakers out there. But Psoriasis Blob is not about one man, it's a growing community of great, red people.

50 Responses to Alcohol and Psoriasis: Do a Few Beers Really Matter?

  1. Matt says:

    I agree, for me it’s red wine and hoppy real ales, my two favourite drinks, and the negative affects are very noticeable the next day. I wonder if they share a common molecule which is responsible? I’ve been experimenting with clear drinks like white wine and gin, and they do seem to be less harsh, although I find them less satisfying. Of course total abstinence coupled with exposure to lots of sunshine seems to the most affective treatment.

  2. Colleen says:

    Hello everyone! I am so happy to have found this blog.. anyone suffer from scalp psoriasis?

  3. Ashley Noel says:

    Thank you so much for all of the helpful advice! I’ve managed to maintain my Psoriasis for over 16 years now until I went through a Divorce and started drinking and going out a lot more than normal. I’m honestly still doing “Trial and Error” on which Alcohols I can and cannot drink and so far it does have to do with how much I drink for sure no matter what type of Alcohol it is….I will definitely steer clear of Light Beer based on what I’ve reach….I read somewhere that IPA’s don’t cause as much of a flare up, but I cannot stand them and am debating on even trying to get used to them.

    Light Beer and Whiskey seem to make it pretty bad…Red & White Wine do not cause flare up quite as fast, but when I get too cocky and drink more and more of it back to back nights, the P came up fully flared again. Vodka has been okay as well, but I haven’t stuck to only Vodka (I usually drink Beer along side of it) so not sure how just Vodka would work on my skin

    ***If I Tan (outside or in beds) for a few days and don’t drink for 4-5 days, It goes away almost completely. (I got rid of it 16 years ago by constant tanning beds and tanning lotion with Emu Oil in it…which is hard to find now- Xotic Xplosion- Yellow Bottle) Recently, I went 2 weeks without drinking and it was completely gone, but the second I started drinking heavily again it all came back full force…

    I’m going to try and only stick to Wine, Tequila, or Vodka and limit the amount I drink while drinking Water in between and see how that goes.

    Based on all that….Any opinion on Gin and IPAs?? My problem with the hard liquor is that I don’t want to get sick and would like a lighter alcohol option before or after so an IPA would be a little better I guess.

  4. Kim says:

    I have recently been diagnosed with psoriasis. I’m in my late 50s. My problem is not with scales of the skin or with flaking. I have all over body itch with no apparent patches. Over 3 glasses of Cabernet,which is all I drink, causes the itching to be worst and usually doesnt occur for 2 to 3 days later. Do any of you have this type of reaction?

  5. No More Psoriasis says:

    I wish I would’ve read this sooner.. I could honestly say I drank beer every night for all of 2017.. I was drinking to fall asleep because the Psoriasis would keep me awake at night with itching tantrums. This year I have held back on drinking so often and have since substituted the booze with a marijuana pen that contains CBD’s that is used specifically for sleep. I will say… if you can refrain from drinking.. do it. My skin definitely is much happier. Thank you for this blog.

    • redblob says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience Chris! Beer seems to be massive culprit for many people. Harder stuff though (i.e. vodka) appears to be better tolerated, ironically. Did you have that experience too?

      • Mike says:

        I had to figure this out also and it’s taken me years and I love beer same as everyone except one thing. The last 5 years I’ve had a bonus; hearing voices. Not imaginary but if I tell friends or family they’ll think I’m nuts or something. I tried. It’s some guys insulting me and mocking whatever I’m doing or saying whatever irritating fucking shit to remind yup, THEY’RE STILL WATCHING AND INTERRUPTING EVERY FUCKIN THING IN LIFE WHICH IS NOTHING BUT PILES OF SKIN. Yeah. It has sucked. At home and work and off and on out in the world but I don’t go many places. I freaked out ands lost everything. I moved multiple times thinking it was neighbors or something. They claim (sometimes) they “trying to help me”, like don’t do illegal drugs (meth) and get real personal about masturbation but they also used to be weird and intrusive (more then other times) when I would take a shit. Sometimes there’s a chick. She usually a bitch too but one time I couldn’t get my guitar processor to work with the 6 AA batteries. They kept falling out and she suggested since I had 3 of 2 different brands I use one of each brand for the 3 slots and it worked and once one told me he knew where I lost my keys and I ignored him at first because I didn’t know I lost them. He said it was there last place I took them out or something. I biked the day before and aired up my tire somewhere but there was no gauge and I put to much. I saw there tire/tube expanding on one side and tried get my keys out fast to push down the valve and it popped right as was reaching for it. It was a closed bike shop and I guess I dropped them. They had them the next day. But yeah, psoriasis and shit.
        There’s a million more weirdness and a variety of it but that’s a thing so you know. You have no idea how many hours, days, weeks I’ve spent alone in a room and ignoring them, talking shit back or even having an almost normal conversation. But WTF is normal? I can remember what ALONE feels like. Like when you walk into a house and expects someone of people whoever but realize you’re alone. It’s just a simple thing right? I can’t make myself remember what that’s like. I’m going to start a rock band again and call it “Tinfoil Hat” or something. Have a kick ass motherfucking dAY.

        There’s MUCH worse but don’t really wanna talk or think about that.

  6. Harshith says:

    What do you think about marijuana on Psoriasis? Thank you

    • Aussie Spots says:

      No problem with weed in my experience. I smoked for at least 2 years with no problems. It wasn’t until I was 18 and started drinking often that my P started to show up. In my 20’s I gave up the beer and still smoked often and it completely cleared up apart from one spot on my knee.

  7. Lilly says:

    Incredible how much I’ve learned in less than 10 min. of reading your blogs. So many factors in treating it and/or combing it with certain foods & alcohol. I have felt so alone in dealing with p. I realize now I need to talk about it more, with someone that has it as well. So embarrassing to explain to those that do not have p. At the end of the day, I’m grateful it’s only a skin, well “only” used very delicately, issues & nothing life threatening.

    • Brent says:

      Same here. I don’t have any friends with it so I’m pretty much figuring it out over time, but glad there is the internet to at least make some sense of what to expect.

  8. Kershavin says:

    I just have to say that you are really skilled writer. Your columns are very pleasant to read. You should write for living, bro. Hope everything is good!

    • redblob says:

      Cheers for the nice comment Kershavin, I can feel my head getting bigger already! 😀 I’m involved in comms/PR for a living, but write very formal stuff so this is a nice outlet to be more creative. Hope you’re good too bro.

    • clive nass says:

      I could not agree more i not only find that Jack has a wealth of knowledge to share in so far as P is concerned but also a good writer !!

  9. Andrew says:

    Hey guys love the blog. I wanted to post because no one on here has mentioned nail P. I see everyone talking about how their P flares after a night of drinking. I wish that was the same with nail P. The damn nails take so long to grow out that you literally need to quit something for 6 months to see if anything has happened as i too love beer. Does anyone have the same issue?

  10. C.D.Carney says:

    Yes, alcohol habits matter. I quit drinking everything for a month and my psoriasis spots became almost unnoticeable. You can still see where they were but they don’t flare, they don’t flake, and my liver enzymes went down so much I can get a prescription for the drugs the dermatologist offers because they make your liver functions go up. Just give it a try, one month, it’s not so hard, is it? This is your life. Your skin didn’t get so messed up in one day or even a week, you have to see what works for you and one month is enough to know alcoholic binge drinking only hurts your skin.

  11. Robert Harrell says:

    I am over 70 and have had mild psoriasis starting sometime in my 50s. Over the years I have discovered that dark red wines like cabernet causes a flair up. Also, very spicy foods such as hot mexican or indian which contain any derivative of hot red pepper causes a more immediate flair up. And lastly, certain varieties of hops that are used intensely, like the amount you have in IPAs cause me problems. The response to these three foods is noticeable the next morning. I suppose as a genetically acquired condition, from what I have read and heard, there is no real cure but with proper food consumption and straight out avoidance of those known to cause a problem appear to be the proper regimen for relief. I have acquired some topical cream from the dermatologist that has some saving graces, but, not near what one would expect . I would like to hear from others who have similar experiences, as, I suppose there will be some remarkable commonalities. I may have missed some food choice that causes me a problem that someone could bring to my attention to look into.

  12. I didn’t get psoriasis until I was in my late 50’s. This doesn’t match the typical profile of psoriasis. It started after we had spent a weekend hiking in a very remote area of Tennessee. I came home one night with 63 ticks! I have always wondered if the trauma of so many tick bites is what triggered the psoriasis. I have tried the steroid creams – they thinned my skin so much, a slight bump would cause a bruise. I tried the UV treatment and got “sun”burned as a result. I have avoided taking any internal medications. Anything that requires you to test your liver regularly to make sure you’re not destroying it scares me! So now, I’m trying turmeric capsules and oregon grape cream. I do like my white wine at night, and I cringe at the thought of giving that up. It’s one of my small pleasures in life. Someone please tell me that I don’t have to give that up!
    Thanks for the blog!

  13. Kelly X says:

    i didnt have skin problems of any type until I started drinking. EVERYDAY. Sometimes I’ll even have 4 full pints at a go. One fine day I had an itch on my knee, another day another on the back of my legs. Before I could stop it, I now have large palm size patches all over both of my knees and calves.

    I stop drinking THAT MUCH now. But the damage is done and its too late to do anything. #FML

  14. jamie says:

    I drink everyday, and lots. (Beer) and strong Canadian beer, not Coors or Bud light. I’m talking 10.1 and 14 a day. Psoriasis is the only outcome from this disgusting habit. It ruined everything in my life: money, jobs, health, body, spirit, face, everything, friendships, relationships, family, on and on and on!

    Warning: DO NOT TAKE METHOTREXATE WITH TOO MUCH ALCOHOL. I almost died and was hospitalized two weeks!


  15. Zarjo Manuel says:

    I woke up today being not able to walk because my soles are actually painfully cracked and my skin is all red. I have psoriasis for the last 28 years. I had methotrexate therapy 2x already. I was relieved for several months on both occasions. But it wasn’t entirely gone. My doctor gave me neotigason for 6 months. I was relived for one year. That was 2012. This year I started to have it I’m soles. I’m on this page now because last night I downed 3 bottles of my favorite beer. The thought of giving it up is killing me! Thanks redblob.

    • Shruti says:

      You only have it on your soles. I had it over my whole body. I understand how it feels to have your skin covered with flakes all over. Please trust me when I say this ‘ Nothing in this world can control this except for your self control’. Diet is the major factor. Be sure to eat light and mild homemade food (unprocessed and no packaged food). Be sure to walk for at least 20-30 mins everyday. Do not have spicy/oily food or alcohol in any form. Just try these three things for 30 days and you’d see the difference. Psoriasis is something very easy and very difficult to control.
      I tried all sorts of medicine but they had more side effects and it came back whenever I stopped them. The only medicine which helped was ayurvedic medicine (Panchkarma). I was initially given oral medicines but my condition was getting worse (as I couldn’t control my tongue) So, I was given the panchkarma treatment. 40% of it was gone after 10 days. I again continued on the oral medicines and took the treatment again after months. This time it was 95% gone.
      What the panchkarma treatment did was help me get rid of the damage already done. Now what I had to do was keep my situation under control with a healthier lifestyle. This is the only thing that works. Even now when I break the rules (alcohol, red meat, spicy food, aerated drinks etc) it starts happening again. But its okay now that I understand the situation. Whenever they start coming again I follow my rules (diet and other habits i mentioned above) religiously and drink lots of water. And it becomes okay. Hope it helps.

      • Kedar says:

        Hi Shruti, thank you for sharing your story. My son who is a teenager has just had it for last 6 months. He has severe to moderate P. We are very concerned as it is hurting his confidence and wellbeing. I want to know more about panchakarma and what kind of diet u follow. My email [email protected]. Would greatly appreciate your help.

  16. Justin says:

    It really kills me to accept I may have to give up beer. There is little I find as pleasurable as a good brew. I like to have 2 or so beers a night, and I’ve actually been home brewing for about a year. Sadly, in that year I have developed psoriasis. I didn’t think too much of it for a long time as it stayed isolated to my elbows and knees for about 10 months, but about a month and a half ago it started spreading, and it’s really taking off now. It seems strange that I could drinks as normal for so long with no flareups, but suddenly see an explosion of spots, and there are plenty who say that drinking does not have an effect on their skin, but at this point I am desperate, and I have to give it a try. It’s gotten so bad on my feet that I have to soak my feet in hot water twice a day just to relieve that pain from having my dry skin crack open. It sucks that many of the things I enjoy (beer, spicy food) are things that seem to be linked with psoriasis. that said, it also seems like the condition responds quite differently in different people. hopefully I find that I can continue pursuing my passion for brewing.

  17. Jim says:

    I can drink hard apple cider(the quality ones) without problems for my psoriasis.

  18. maria says:

    I have noticed that beer and wine are the worst for my body… the only alcohol my skin reacts well to is tequila ( in reasonable amounts)

  19. Dave says:

    This is getting interesting. I have several itchy as hell flaky spots on my chest…drink a ton of beer and eat poorly. Also, I have a fast-paced stressful job. Looks like my search for what these itchy spots are is over. Also, I just realized…I have a sales guy who comes by the office…always smelling like vodka…and noticed the other day he has ugly flaky spots all over his face.

  20. Nat says:

    Ive had 3 pineapple cruiser type drinks tonight (not even enough to feel anything) and I’m flaring up. Could that small amount affect it????

    • redblob says:

      It can, unfortunately. It’s similar to having a strong allergic reaction to something. Even 1 peanut can set you off if your body can’t handle it. Same with alcohol and certain foods when it comes to psoriasis.

  21. Debbie Arnold says:

    I have lived with psoriasis for 39 years, since I was 4 years old. Diet does make a BIG difference… one of the reason beer will give you flare-ups is the yeast and sugars…they are big no-no’s in more than just beer… think donuts, danishes, etc. Another suggestion is give up the soda! Anything that is hard for your liver to process will affect your skin. Stress is my biggest trigger… so find a great stress reliever.

  22. jamie says:

    I used to wake up in the morning with a sand box of skin on my bedsheets and blood all over.

    I quit drinking for seven weeks… and my psoriasis almost disappeared. No itching no nothing!

    Fruits, vegetables,exercise and positive thinking, loving yourself and others, will take care of this garbage!


  23. scotka says:

    First time here – love everyone’s comments… Makes me feel I’m okay ( a bit ) !!!! My P started a couple years ago after some massive stress with Canada Revenue Agency…and since then, it feels comfortable recurring itself unless I get to Cancun for a few weeks when it goes away. I eat well, exercise almost daily, do not smoke but I enjoy my cocktails. Which is why I wonder why it never surfaced before given I am in my late 50’s… So, points taken that beer is not good, fast food is not good, over excessive alcohol is not good, smoking is not good… My good lord, can we at least have sex???? 😉 Just a little levity to a horrible skin condition for many of us sufferers out there!!!!

  24. christafari says:

    Thanks for the thoughts! My only problem is that I can’t sleep unless I’m half drunk due to the itching and burning. I guess I will try to quit for while to see if it helps. It’s 5:30 in the morning and I’ve been scratching all night. I was just on a blog that said diet has a lot to do with it… Of course its, no alcohol, no junk food, no red meat, no citrus, no gluten, and no condiments. And of course no smoking… W.t.f are we just supposed eat lettuce and drink water. Lol. Thanks again for your blog!

    • redblob says:

      What else does anyone need apart from lettuce and water! Rabbits would go nuts for that. Yeah, it can feel limited at the start, but it is possible. The biggest step forward would be to eliminate processed and junk food. And then you just cut it down from there. Once it starts healing, you’ll be motivated to continue. There’ll be cheat days, with burgers and ketchup and pizza, but everyone has those. Soldier on!

  25. Matt Noblitt says:

    Thanks for the Blog. I drink way too much (says the wife) so until I test your theory I ain’t saying shit. But I have got to try it. I’m tired of scratching until bleeding in my sleep. I have doctored the same spot for three years but recently it has spread badly below both calves. Thanks again

  26. Great article very entertaining… Alcohol is a factor only because of the calories…. when I do a total 800-1200 meat and vegetable- based regime … no problem, but of course I do loves me a bottle of wine…! So whenever it flares I cut out the alcohol for a few weeks to months depending and lo and behold it works!

    • redblob says:

      Cheers for the comment – I’ve never really thought of alcohol being bad for P from a calorie perspective. That’s interesting. I’m sure you must be having a dry January after the end of year holidays – I am! And my skin is looking pretty happy because of it. Had way too much rum over the last few weeks and you can’t run away from the flare-up no matter how hard you try, it will get you!

  27. RGL says:

    Hi there,

    If I drink red wine, the redness fades, especially when I wake up. Of course not more than 3/4 glasses. Vodka straight, I read on a book that is allowed, just because the level of sugar is minimum if not zero. Beer, even one sip could trigger immediately the problem, as it is made with plenty of sugar.

  28. rj says:

    I have found that the skin clears up faster if you drink apple cider vinegar mixed with fresh lime in water. Both these ingredients have properties for detoxing and cleaning the liver out. But the best is to control the alcohol consumption or stop it. Also if possible drink a lot of green tea.

  29. tom says:

    For me, drinking beer definitely makes P worse. However I love beer.

    I have found though that drinking slippery elm bark tea (consistency of mucus) beforehand helps a lot.

    As I understand it, P may be caused by a very thin stomach lining, so that all the bad things we eat can easily pass into the bloodstream. Slippery elm coats the stomach and thus helps.

    I have been using pine tar soap for a while now,and it definitely helps, and it is cheap. As for food, I sinned and ate a cheeseburger and fries, and noticed it soon after in the form of arthritis pain.

  30. I have found a huge difference in my psoriasis by cutting out gluten. When I drink tequila or gluten free cider or even vodka, my psoriasis is fine the next day as long as I stayed hydrated. But when it comes to beer and malt liquor, my body and my psoriasis takes a cruel beating.

    I have had plaque psoriasis on my knees/shins and elbows for about 6 years and 3 years ago (right in the middle of my college/party career) I formed guttate psoriasis that now covers my arms, thighs and stomach.

    I still go out… I’m in my twenties and recently graduated. I’m not missing out on that. But I take extra precautions so that I can go out and not be worried about what my body will look like when I wake up. I cut out gluten a year and a half ago and it has made a HUGE difference.

  31. james says:

    I always had doubts about the stupid answers of doctors saying it is due to “stress”, bull dung! For the past 4 months I have been drinking 10.1% Canadian beer, and my scalp is itchy and flaky and red and bloody… I always thought it was alcohol…………once again, I was right! I have to cut down on the 4 litres pers day of beer, at 10.1 percent % !!!


  32. JC says:

    Hi! I have psoriasis and have been undergoing treatment. I went to an allopathic doctor, went to another skin specialist (that used Methotrexate) and finally now a homoeopath. With all 3 I asked them if I should stop drinking alcohol – and all 3 said its your wish, but alcohol does not interfere with our treatment. I was surprised when not only 1 but all 3 said it!

    I may drink 3 drinks (60 ml each) or half a bottle of rum some times, and the effect of alcohol is the same – the psoriasis flares up badly the next morning. Maybe people who have P have developed an inherent allergy to alcohol, as not only does it dehydrate, but it also also tends to make your skin itch.

    But another comment which my recent homoeopath said is that “if you want to alcohol, do it for yourself not for the treatment I am giving you, as alcohol doesn’t interferes with it.” I was amazed.

    Secondly, he said that any restrictions such as drinking alcohol or quitting to smoke during a treatment may speed-up the recovery, but it would be temporary and not a “full, concrete” recovery, because once you think that you are free of P and start drinking alcohol again, it could come back.

    Well, my homoeopath is over 65, he’s an extremely wise doctor and is a specialist on chronic diseases involving the skin.

    His treatment is working on my P. Its been 2 months now, and the medicine may be expensive but it’s definitely working on me. He took 2 months to stop the flare up on my body, and the other patches may take up to 6 months or a year, because of the merciless cold weather of Dec/Jan in north India, which completely flaure up my body, especially my chest/back/head and face.

    I still drink alcohol but have reduced the amounts. I left alcohol for a few days and the P subsided, with no itching – but will quitting alcohol lead to a complete cure? I doubt this theory.

    To sum up “reducing alcohol gives you a better feel-good factor, and may also reduce itching of psoriasis, but will NOT eliminate psoriasis” in my experience.

    Best wishes to all my friends with adamant P, I hope you have a speedy recovery. My doctor has claimed that he shall remove my P in 6 months – 2 have passed and I am waiting for another 4 to pass. Kind Regards, JC.

    • saini says:

      JC please tell me where your homoeopathic doctor is located. I’m also taking medicine from a homoeopath. I’m from north India. Thank you

  33. Chris says:

    Thank you so much! This blog has been so helpful with handling my psoriasis!

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