Wine vs. Weed: Which One's Actually Good for Your Skin?

women drinking and smoking weed

It's not just your head that pounds and your mouth that feels like a desert the day after you indulge. It's your skin, too. Whether you had too many glasses of pinot gris or toked it up, your epidermis takes a hit.


Curious as to which is worse? We were.

So to break it down for us, we asked Joel Schlessinger, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in Omaha, Nebraska, and contributor to RealSelf, the world's largest online community for info about cosmetic surgery, dermatology, and other elective treatments.

Here's what we learned:

Wine dries you out and messes with your complexion.

Ever notice that tossing back too much red (or white) causes your skin to look red, blotchy, and kinda bloated?

"Drinking alcohol prevents the production of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone that the body uses to absorb water," explains Dr. Schlessinger. "This causes your kidneys to work twice as hard to remove excess water from your system, leaving all your organs, including your skin, dehydrated."

Even more of a bummer: Fine lines and wrinkles form easily on dry, dehydrated skin. And if you keep hitting happy hours, you might see your complexion start to pale, take on a gray-ish cast, or become dull, which adds years to your appearance, points out Dr. Schlessinger.

"It's harder for your body to naturally rejuvenate dull skin because alcohol depletes your body's natural sources of vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps promote cell turnover and keeps skin looking youthful," he explains.

Now on to weed ...

More from The Stir: Photographic Evidence that Drinking Wine Can Make Any Woman Breathtakingly Beautiful

Smoking speeds up the aging process.

"Any form of smoking leads to premature signs of aging, deep wrinkles, bags under the eyes, and dull, dehydrated skin," explains Dr. Schelssinger. "This bad habit starves your skin of oxygen and constricts blood flow, which affects circulation and breaks down collagen and elastin."

Additionally, "smoking depletes your body of vitamin C, a necessary nutrient for collagen production," he notes. And because smoke is a form of pollution, you're also coming into contact with harmful free radicals.

True, you might have heard that cannabis has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of that, ganja-based ingredients are popping up in plenty of topical skin-care products. But that's different than rolling -- and smoking -- a fatty.

So if you're serious about protecting your skin and would prefer not to look like a leather handbag by the time you're 40, which do you partake in? Wine or weed?

"Both smoking and drinking can be hard on your skin," reiterates Dr. Schlessinger, "but in moderation, red wine can actually have some positive effects."

The polyphenols, flavonoids, and resveratrol -- i.e., the natural goodness -- in red wine "provides excellent antioxidant protection against free radicals that harm skin cells," Dr. Schlessinger says. "Resveratrol also helps strengthen collagen and elastin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles."

That said, don't go overboard. Women should have no more than one 5-ounce glass of wine per day, Dr. Schlessinger says. (Men should have no more than two.)


Image via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

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