A 2021 review also notes that alcohol increases skin inflammation in all people, making it possible that alcohol would worsen the existing inflammation in the skin affected by eczema.
Even though researchers are still learning about the role alcohol may play in the development of eczema. So far, Evidence from scientific studies has linked alcohol consumption to sometimes directly cause new cases of eczema. Applying alcohol to the skin can also cause irritation and dryness.
Whether alcohol triggers symptoms may depend on various factors, such as the type of eczema a person has, how much they drink, and whether they have any other health conditions.
Some data do suggest a link from a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis, which found a positive association between alcohol use during pregnancy and atopic dermatitis (AD) in children. AD is a type of eczema. In the review, babies whose birth parents drank alcohol during pregnancy were more likely to develop AD. This suggests but does not prove, that there may be a causal link between alcohol use in pregnancy and eczema in offspring.
Whether alcohol consumption causes eczema to develop in adolescents and adults is less clear. The same 2018 review found no consistent association between increased alcohol intake and eczema in older age groups. For people who already have eczema, alcohol consumption may trigger symptoms. People may find that they suddenly develop more itchiness or dry skin after they drink alcohol. Some refer to this as a “flare” or “flare-up”.
Sometimes, a flare-up after drinking alcohol is a coincidence or occurs due to multiple factors. However, a 2017 article says it is reasonable to suppose that drinking alcohol inflames the skin in people with eczema because there is already an established link between alcohol and psoriasis, which is another inflammatory skin condition.