How to Spot an Alcoholic Face – With Pictures


Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Recognizing the signs of alcoholism can be vital in helping someone get the support and treatment they need. While many are aware of the behavioral and psychological signs, the physical manifestations on the face are often overlooked. This article delves into the physical signs of alcoholism, focusing on the face, and provides insights into understanding and recognizing this serious condition.

Understanding Alcoholism and Its Effects on the Face

Alcoholism is more than just a craving for alcohol; it’s a complex disease that can have profound effects on the body, including the face. Here’s how:

  • Skin Problems: Alcohol dehydrates the skin, leading to dryness, wrinkles, and a dull appearance.
  • Liver Damage: Chronic alcohol consumption can harm the liver, leading to conditions like jaundice, which manifests as a yellowish tone on the skin.
  • Facial Redness: Alcohol can cause blood vessels in the face to dilate, leading to redness.

Understanding these effects is the first step in recognizing the signs of alcoholism on the face.

7 Signs of an Alcoholic Face

Recognizing an alcoholic face involves looking for specific signs. Here are seven telltale facial signs of heavy drinking:


Redness of Face

  • Often referred to as ‘alcohol flush reaction.’
  • Caused by the accumulation of toxins like acetaldehyde.
  • Leads to a flushed or reddened appearance.

Spider Veins

  • Small, thread-like veins become visible around the nose and cheeks.
  • Known as telangiectasia, it can become permanent with heavy drinking.

Puffy Face

  • Alcohol causes water retention, leading to a swollen face.
  • Chronic puffiness becomes a constant characteristic of an alcoholic’s appearance.

Yellowish Tone

  • A sign of liver damage, known as jaundice.
  • Indicates the liver’s inability to function properly.

Poor Skin

  • Manifests as dry, flaky, and lackluster skin.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to skin sores and premature aging.

Bloodshot Eyes

  • Alcohol expands blood vessels, including those in the eyes.
  • Chronic drinkers may have persistently bloodshot eyes.

Dark Circles Under the Eyes

  • Alcohol disrupts sleep, leading to dark circles.
  • Lack of deep sleep makes the skin appear pale and dull.

These signs are not conclusive diagnoses but can provide clues to a person’s struggle with alcoholism.

How to Recognize Alcoholism: Beyond the Face

Recognizing alcoholism goes beyond facial signs. Here are three additional signs that may indicate alcoholism:

  • Behavioral Changes: Sudden changes in behavior, mood swings, and increased irritability.
  • Psychological Symptoms: Increased anxiety, depression, and stress.
  • Physical Symptoms: Tremors, nausea, and other withdrawal symptoms when not consuming alcohol.

It’s essential to consider the whole picture and not just focus on the face when identifying alcoholism.

Treatment and Recovery

Can alcoholism change the shape of your face? The answer is yes, but the good news is that some physical signs can be reversed with proper treatment. Here’s how:

  • Professional Help: We at Ocean State Recovery offer support and treatment for alcohol addiction.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Drinking water, proper nutrition, and skincare can rejuvenate the skin.
  • Medical Supervision: Managing withdrawal symptoms and underlying health issues with medical care.

Recovery is possible, and with the right support, an individual can regain their health and appearance.


Alcoholism is a complex and serious condition that manifests in various ways, including physical signs on the face. Recognizing these signs can be a crucial step in helping someone get the help they need. From redness and puffiness to more severe indicators like jaundice, the face can reveal much about a person’s relationship with alcohol. However, it’s essential to look beyond the face and consider other signs and symptoms. Treatment and recovery are possible, and understanding these signs is the first step towards helping someone overcome their addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcoholism, don’t hesitate to seek professional help by contacting us.