Consultant Psychiatrist




Some trigger factors for  acute atopic eczema flare-ups are easier to recognise than others. Those that are better known are stress, season, and allergies.

Others include air-conditioning, sleep-overs, and drinking alcohol, for example.

Alcoholic drinks like beer, spirits and wine can affect the skin in a variety of ways. Allergy or intolerance to alcohol itself is rare, compared with that to some other ingredient of a particular drink. This may reflect the source of the alcohol: grain, or grape for example. Otherwise it may be there to add flavour, or act as a preservative.

It is striking that skin reactions are more often reported to red wine than to white wine – once this is known, it is easy to avoid problems by sticking to white!

Even so, these skin reactions are also uncommon.

More often recognised is the common skin reaction to alcoholic drinks that occurs through an increase in blood supply to the skin, so-called skin “flushing”. When inflammation of active eczema is already present, it is easy to understand how any alcoholic drink may make matters worse.

Knowing this can also be helpful!





Dr Christopher Bridgett (DrB) is a specialist in Adult General Psychiatry who has also worked in Dermatology since being first introduced to Psychodermatology by Arthur Rook in 1971. Together with dermatologists Richard Staughton (London) and Peter Norén (Uppsala) he co-authored Atopic Skin Disease - A Manual for Practitioners, which sets out a behavioural approach for the successful management of atopic eczema. Now retired from both NHS and private practice, he continues to teach and advise at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London and runs an online community for both practitioners and patients interested in The Combined Approach to the treatment of atopic eczema:

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