If you have Asian Flush (or Asian Glow) you know how embarrassing and uncomfortable it can be. But how long does Asian Flush last?
Unfortunately, Asian Flush symptoms and duration are unique to each person.
Most people find that symptoms will last depending on how much they’ve been drinking. If you have numerous alcoholic drinks all night, your symptoms are likely to last all night. If you have a drink and symptoms start, but you stop drinking, your reaction should subside in a few hours.
Some Asian Flush sufferers also note that drinking on an empty stomach versus a full stomach can play a big role in how long their symptoms last. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause a flare-up in symptoms, which can last longer than symptoms felt on a full stomach. Again, the true duration of Asian Flush symptoms depend on the individual.
The term “Asian Flush” typically includes all symptoms, but we know that some don’t last as long as others. For instance, your facial flushing might reduce an hour after you stop drinking, but your bloodshot eyes or headache might not stop until hours later.
Like we said, everyone is different and Asian Flush is different for everyone. It can depend on how much you’ve eaten that day, the type of alcohol you choose to drink, how much you drink and how fast you consume it. However, there are usually a few symptoms that should reduce first, and others that will last longer.
Asian Flush symptoms that typically stop first:
- Red facial flushing (whether that’s your whole face, cheeks, neck, etc)
- Overall feeling of being hot, your skin giving off heat or having a hot face
Asian Flush symptoms that will usually last longer:
- Bloodshot eyes
How can I stop Asian Flush?
Currently, there is no cure for Asian Flush symptoms. At least not 100%. However, Asian Flush prevention products (like patches, pills and drinks) can definitely reduce your symptoms and their duration.
We also have some DIY Asian Flush Cures you can check out. They won't reduce or eliminate all of your symptoms, but they can help you to have a more enjoyable night out with friends.
Who gets Asian Flush the worst?
Although more testing needs to be done on Asain Flush and the enzyme deficiency that causes it, we do know that a high proportion of people of East Asian descent experience it. One study reports that one-third of East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) have Asian Flush.
However, this doesn’t mean that this condition doesn’t impact people of other ethnicities. We know that many Caucasians also get red in the face from alcohol, even if they don’t realize that it’s Asain Flush. A better name to use is “Alcohol Flush Reaction” because it’s more inclusive of those who are not Asian but still experience this condition.
It will also vary between person-to-person how much alcohol is needed to start a reaction. Usually, simply drinking alcohol will start symptoms. If the individual has a higher tolerance, they may get symptoms after a few drinks. In any case, you’ll probably know the amount of alcohol needed to start a reaction for yourself.
If your symptoms are very severe, it’s important to get medical advice before drinking alcoholic beverages again. It’s especially important to avoid binge drinking with this condition.
Variables that impact how long Asian Flush lasts:
- How much you’ve eaten
- How quickly you’re drinking
- What type of alcohol you’re drinking
- How much you’re drinking in a single session
- Whether you are using any Asian Flush prevention products (ex. Asian Flush pills or patches)
Why does Asian Flush happen in the first place?
It all comes down to alcohol metabolism and an enzyme called ALDH2. If an individual has an ineffective ALDH2, or an ALDH2 deficiency, then they will experience Asian Flush Syndrome.
As you consume alcohol, the body breaks it down into acetaldehyde. In a body without Asian Flush, toxic acetaldehyde will be broken down further until nothing remains. In someone with Asian Flush, this whole process gets interrupted. The body is unable to properly break down this harmful chemical, which leads to acetaldehyde accumulating in the body and causing negative symptoms. It’s acetaldehyde that causes you to turn red, get a stuffy nose or any of the other uncomfortable side effects.
If you want to learn more about acetaldehyde, make sure to check out our article: Expert's Guide to Break Down Acetaldehyde.