Here’s Why Your Face Is Turning Red When You Drink Alcohol

Have you ever noticed that after a few glasses of wine, your face turns a ruby red? Has your partner ever remarked that you’re looking a little bit flushed following a couple of gin and tonics in the sun? This may have something to do with your genetic makeup or an underlying condition. It may be nothing to worry about, but if you instantly look flushed following your favorite tipple, you may want to speak to your doctor. Here’s why your face is turning red when you drink alcohol.

Evergreen Life explains that rosy cheeks following alcohol consumption is commonly known as alcohol flush and is linked to how your body processes the toxins from metabolizing alcohol or acetaldehyde into acids. “If you drink two glasses of wine really fast, like more than two in one hour, your body can’t get rid of acetaldehyde fast enough, so your face may turn red,” Professor Amitava Dasgupta, Ph.D. told The Healthy. “Drink slowly and in moderation to avoid the flush.”

Having to worry about whether you’re going to show up in pictures from special occasions with a glowing, red face isn’t ideal. However, Healthline notes that there are things you can do about alcohol flush. Also, it’s worth keeping an eye on it. If you start to experience other unpleasant symptoms like headaches and nausea, it could be indicative of something more serious.

Why does your face flush red after drinking alcohol?

Alcohol flush is linked to how sensitive you are to alcohol. If you experience a red glow after a few beers, it may suggest you have a lower tolerance to the alcohol inside your drinks. Medical News Today explains that once you’ve drunk an alcoholic beverage, your body starts metabolizing the ethanol to process the alcohol and flush it out. If you drink at a moderate pace and don’t drink too much, then your body will normally be able to keep up with you. However, if you drink lots over a short period of time or if you’re especially sensitive to alcohol, the process won’t happen fast enough. The blood vessels in your face may dilate, and that’s what causes redness.

Healthline explains that, while alcohol flush can happen to anyone, some people are more susceptible. Around 8% of the world’s population experience redness, with Japanese, Chinese, and Korean people most likely to. This means that your genetics may have some bearing on whether you get alcohol flush.

A red face could signal other problems

Experiencing negative side effects while drinking is never pleasant, and redness can be embarrassing. However, some studies have also highlighted that redness when drinking could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. The Cleveland Clinic outlines that if alcohol flush isn’t caused by enzyme deficiency, then it may be rosacea. “This very common skin condition is marked by vasomotor instability or hyperactivity,” explained dermatologist Dr. Ajok Vij to the publication. “That means lots of things can dilate your blood vessels: alcohol, chocolate, hot beverages, and spicy foods — basically, all the good things in life.”

Similarly, a study published on Wiley Online Library explored the links between blood pressure and drinking. Researchers found that those who drank more and experienced alcohol flush were at higher risk of high blood pressure. Evergreen Life notes that alcohol flush may also have links to weight gain. If you’re ingesting a large quantity of sugary, alcoholic drinks over a short period of time and your body is struggling to metabolize it, then you’ll likely be storing fat due to an increase in blood sugar levels.

If alcohol flush really bothers you, the best way to combat it is to moderate the amount that you drink and pace yourself when you do choose to drink alcohol. Sunset explains that you could also speak to your doctor about vitamins and supplements which may help combat redness.

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