Skin cancer: white wine increases risk

Alcohol consumption is responsible for 2 to 3% of skin cancers. More specifically, alcohol plays a role in the risk of occurrence of basal cell carcinomas: skin cancers, certainly less aggressive than melanoma, but much more frequent.

White wine is particularly associated with increasing this risk of cancer.

As a publication in the British Journal of Dermatology showed, there is a link between alcohol consumption and the development of melanoma. A systematic review of the literature published in July of this year made it possible to select 307 articles, relating to the link between alcohol consumption and the development of skin cancers (melanoma and non-melanoma). This meta-analysis suggests that alcohol consumption is directly associated with an increased risk of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) in a dose-dependent manner.

White wine linked to increased risk of skin cancer

One such study, published in June 2016, involved three cohorts of women and men who regularly consumed alcohol. With a follow-up of more than 4 million people/year, it has made it possible to highlight nearly 3,000 squamous cell carcinomas. Alcohol consumption has been identified as being associated with an increased risk of developing this type of skin cancer.

The study also showed that every 12.8g increase in daily alcohol consumption increased the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 22%. White wine was one of the alcoholic beverages consumed linked to this type of skin cancer.

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Alcohol, along with other factors, weakens the skin

The alcohol ingested is absorbed by the body in the form of ethanol and transformed into acetaldehyde, a substance not only identified as promoting cancer, but as also weakening the skin under the effect of UV rays.

A phenomenon that is added to the effects of other skin risk factors, such as:

  • the natural defenses linked to the type of skin,
  • genetic and family predispositions to the development of cancers,
  • the lack of effective protection of the skin during sun exposure, etc.

It is therefore important to keep in mind that moderation in alcohol consumption is not only beneficial to the body in general, but also promotes the health of the skin.


Yen H. et al.: Alcohol intake and risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis.Br J Dermatol., DOI: 10.1111/bjd.15647

Siiskonen S. et al.: Alcohol Intake is Associated with Increased Risk of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin: Three US Prospective Cohort Studies. Nutri Cancer. DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2016.1158296.


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