Does Alcohol Make Your Sweat Smell?


If you are regularly dealing with night sweats, alcohol body odour or bad breath, this is the article for you. Here we’ll take a look at exactly why consuming alcohol causes these issues and why dealing with them regularly could be a sign that you need some support. 

Alcohol Odour and Alcoholism

Wondering how consuming alcohol can cause issues such as night sweats, bad breath and body odour? Read on…

What Are Night Sweats From Alcohol Use?

One serious cause of night sweats is alcohol consumption. It can happen to anyone who has consumed alcoholic beverages but is more commonly experienced by those dealing with alcohol addiction. If you find yourself dealing with night sweats on a regular basis when you’ve been drinking alcohol, you might have developed an alcohol addiction and could benefit from alcohol detox. 

Alcohol consumption can lead to night sweats in three ways. Firstly, consuming alcoholic beverages, particularly in excess, can cause the body to sweat a lot. This is because alcohol affects your body’s central nervous system; it can widen your blood vessels and make your heart rate go faster, which can all lead to perspiration in general, along with night sweats. 

The second way in which drinking alcohol leads to night sweats is when your body experiences alcohol withdrawal. If drinking alcohol is something you do regularly, but you experience night sweats on nights when you haven’t been drinking alcohol you may be experiencing alcohol withdrawal. If you have night sweats along with any of these symptoms, you could be dealing with alcohol withdrawal and may benefit from an alcohol detox

  • Sickness
  • Vomiting 
  • Sleep issues 
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle ache
  • Fever
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Tremors
  • Confusion

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The third way drinking alcohol can lead to night sweats is due to alcohol intolerance. This is caused by a genetic mutation in which your body doesn’t have the right enzymes required to metabolise the toxins in alcohol. Alcohol intolerance comes with other symptoms, which could include: 

  • Stuffy nose
  • Skin flushing 
  • Hives
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 

You can develop alcohol intolerance at any point in your life. If you suspect you have alcohol intolerance, the best way to avoid the symptoms is to avoid alcoholic beverages. As alcohol intolerance is genetic, there is no cure for it so avoidance is the best route. 

Are Beer Sweats a Thing?

Yes – beer sweats are definitely a thing. All alcoholic beverages are capable of causing night sweats, including beer. If you have been drinking an excessive amount of beer, or you regularly consume beer, you may end up experiencing night sweats due to alcohol consumption or alcohol withdrawal. 

Other Causes of Night Sweats

Alcohol abuse and alcohol withdrawal aren’t the only causes of night sweats. You might also experience night sweats if you are on certain medications such as steroids or antidepressants. Likewise, those who experience low blood sugar or fever may get night sweats. And if you’re a woman going through perimenopause or menopause, you might experience night sweats too. While a hot bedroom can cause you to sweat, this is a reaction to the environment, so it is not considered night sweats. 

Is It Good to Sweat After Drinking Alcohol?

It might be a nice idea, but sweating or having night sweats won’t actually remove much of the alcohol from your system any faster. According to research, more than 90% of alcohol is eliminated by the liver, while just 2-5% is excreted unchanged in urine, sweat or breath.

How Can I Get Rid of Alcohol From My Skin?

Alcohol consumption can lead to all manner of unpleasant side effects, from night sweats and alcohol sweat smell to the risk of developing alcohol addiction and all the health complications associated with that. 

However, alcohol abuse can also cause issues with your skin. Alcohol is dehydrating, it takes fluid out of the skin and over the long term this can result in more damage, including wrinkles. 

Alcohol also inflames the tissue and can create a histamine reaction. This is what causes the redness or flushing of the skin. Over time, this ruddiness can become a permanent feature of your skin.

The good news is, the skin – like all organs – can regenerate under the right circumstances. If you cut out alcohol your skin will be able to repair. Of course, you need to have reasonable expectations, skin that has been affected by decades of alcohol abuse will never look as fresh as skin that hasn’t. 

How Can You Avoid Getting Alcohol Breathlessness?

If drinking alcohol causes breathlessness, you should see your doctor. It could be caused by an underlying health problem like COPD. You may find you are in the early stages of COPD, in which case there are often no symptoms or just a few mild ones including:

  • Wheezing 
  • Chest tightness
  • Long-term cough 
  • Shortness of breath

Even if you don’t have COPD, but you find yourself struggling with breathlessness, you should still see a healthcare provider because you may have developed an allergy or alcohol intolerance to some of the ingredients found in alcohol. 

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Why Do Heavy Drinkers Sweat So Much?

People who drink heavily or have an alcohol addiction often experience similar symptoms, including sweating and night sweats. 

This could be caused by the body’s nervous system’s reaction to excessive alcohol consumption. As we discussed earlier, alcohol affects your central nervous system and causes your blood vessels to widen and your heart rate to increase, which can lead to sweating. 

Long-term drinkers are also more likely to be battling an alcohol substance use disorder, which means they are more likely to deal with alcohol withdrawal. One of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is perspiration and night sweats. 

There is also a chance that anyone, including heavy drinkers, could at any time develop an alcohol intolerance, which can also lead to sweating. 

What Gets Rid of Body Odour From Alcohol?

Whether you’ve drank too much at happy hour or are battling an alcohol substance use disorder and going through alcohol withdrawal, it’s common to wake up smelling less than fresh with a distinct odour after you have drunk alcohol. 

But why is that alcohol odour so persistent? This smell of alcohol seems to permeate your whole body and even scrubbing yourself in the shower doesn’t seem to get rid of it. 

This is because unfortunately, you cannot get rid of the alcohol odour smell until all of the alcohol has been metabolised from your body. This is because while your liver breaks down most of the alcohol, some are left to be eliminated through your sweat (along with urine and breath). So no matter how much soap you use, the smell won’t go until all of the alcohol has gone. 

Various factors impact how quickly you can eliminate all of the alcohol, but you can expect your body to very generally process about one drink every hour. Until that time has passed, you can take a shower and attempt to use body spray. While these measures might help (and a shower will almost certainly make you feel better), they are just temporary masks. 

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How Long Does It Take for the Smell of Alcohol to Go Away?

Whether you’ve had a few too many or are experiencing alcohol withdrawal, you may be dealing with what is colloquially referred to as ‘booze breath. This so-called booze breath has a distinct odour, and getting rid of alcohol breath isn’t as simple as chewing on some gum. 

In order to prevent alcohol breath entirely, you would need to avoid alcohol entirely. This is because it is the alcohol which causes the alcohol breath in the first place. 

Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of alcohol breath until your body has metabolised and eliminated all of the alcohol from your system. This is because although it seems like your breath smells, the odour is actually coming from your lungs. 

When you consume alcohol, it travels into your bloodstream. Your enzymes work to break down the alcohol so that it can be removed via your liver. However, there is some alcohol which isn’t broken down in this way, and that gets removed through your urine, sweat and breath. And that is why after a heavy night your breath smells. 

When you understand the mechanisms that cause alcohol breath, you can understand why the only way to get rid of alcohol breath is to either avoid alcohol in the first place or simply wait it out until all the alcohol has been removed from your system. Unfortunately, until that happens, you will have alcoholic breath. 

In the meantime, you could try a few temporary measures such as gargling mouthwash, drinking coffee or taking mints. But it’s worth noting that these will not get rid of alcohol breath, but simply mask it. 

Wondering how long you’ll be stuck with alcohol breath? It depends on how long it takes your body to metabolise the alcohol, which depends on all sorts of variables including your sex, weight, whether you ate first, how much you drank and so on. You can roughly expect the body to process one standard measure drink per hour. 

Help and Treatment

If you feel your alcohol use has spiralled out of control or you’re dealing with complications such as alcohol withdrawal, night sweats or regularly waking up with a smell of alcohol on your body and breath, you might benefit from some support. 

Here at Castle Craig, our evidence-based treatment program for alcohol addiction has helped over 10,000 people beat their addiction and find control in their lives once again. 

If you are ready to make a change but don’t want to face the challenge alone, our residential rehab, complete with medically supervised detox, could be the best option to help you stop drinking for good. 

If you’d like to find out more, we’re happy to chat through any questions. Call us for a judgement-free, no-obligation chat with one of our specialists: 0808 271 7500

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