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Why Do I Blush When Drinking?



Going out for a few drinks is not a big deal. But the glow that slowly creeps across my face as the alcohol is consumed, that’s a big deal. I quickly become the prime of a conversation after half a glass of wine. “Oh my gosh look you’re blushing!” What do I say? What can I say? It’s true, but it always happens.

What is really going on here? Is this just how I react? Is there something that I can do to prevent this “glow” as they say?

There are many pet names for this cause and effect relationship, the most known being “Asian Glow” “Asian Flush” or “Alcohol Flush Reaction”. Whatever you call it, it’s all the same effect.

The cause and effect relationship is as follows. You drink alcohol the effect is that you blush as a result of your body metabolizing the alcohol. Because of the physical signals that you have been drinking the drinker tends to consume less. If it’s apparent on your face that you’re already at a physical point to be having a good time the drinks won’t continue to pour your way. While someone that does not show a physical sign may be encouraged to drink more to catch up with the party. Therefore, those who exhibit an alcohol flush reaction are less likely to be alcoholics.

Why Is It a Symptom More Shown by Asians?

The loving term “Asian Glow” is created because around eighty percent of Asian people have an alteration in their genes which allows them to metabolize alcohol faster. Scientifically, because of this gene alteration Asians break down acetaldehyde at a faster rate.

Because of this gene, Asians will show the physical traits of being buzzed far before feeling the mental side effects of drinking.

Ways To Treat and Prevent

A physical signal, before your cognitive state can be a real game killer. Some people are extremely embarrassed by the flushing in their faces. It can also be a style killer because many people need a drink or two to calm the nerves before approaching a stranger and getting to know them. But, if you approach someone with a glow going on, then you could immediately be taken as drunk and completely ability impaired when in fact you are barely buzzed.

A few ways to avoid getting a glow would be to take a hear burn medication such as Zantac or Tums an hour before you start drinking to slow down your digestion. But, beware if you go this route that you may not show the glow but your blood alcohol content level will be increased. Anytime that you alter your metabolism to do with alcohol be aware of your capacity to avoid receiving a DUI or acting beyond your control.

No, there is not a permanent cure for an Asian glow because it is a genetic issue. Unfortunately, you are unable to work up your “drinking stamina” to push back the onset of a glow. So don’t start training like you have a hot dog eating contest in a month, you’ll only be glowing more at no added benefit.

Overall, if it is such an embarrassing issue for you that you are avoiding a happy hour with the co-workers or trying to not go out to social drinking events then learn to pace yourself. Drink slowly while the others are drinking, once enough drinks are in them they won’t be counting those around them to see who’s ahead in the race. If you choose to go the route of heartburn medication, then know your level before you go and make sure that you schedule a ride home. It is very common that you will over drink because you will not feel it as swiftly as normal, always be responsible.