Sunset Alcohol Flush Support

Asian Flush Syndrome: An Explanation for Asian Glow

Person with Asian flush reading guide while drinking alcohol

We are going to cover everything you need to know about Asian flush today and help you understand why your face gets red when you drink and prevent it from ever happening again.

You may also hear this condition referred to as an alcohol flush reaction. Whatever you call it, it often gets in the way of living a full and fun social life.

This article will help you learn more about Asian flush, its symptoms, causes, and various remedies. We'll also discuss the benefits of taking Asian glow pills to prevent flushing.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

What is Alcohol Flush Reaction? 

the alcohol flushing response

While you may hear it referred to as Asian flush or glow, the more scientific term is alcohol flush reaction.

This refers to when a person becomes red in the face, neck, and upper body after consuming alcohol.  This happens because of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a toxin that is produced when the body metabolizes alcohol.

Regular consumers of alcohol have an enzyme that breaks down these toxins into a harmless substance that is easily processed by the body. 

However, some people are deficient in this important enzyme and much less able to break down these toxins. When these people drink alcohol, the toxins accumulate and end up causing the reaction known as Asian flush.

alcohol metabolism with aldh2 deficiency

Whilst the red face is the most notable sign of this condition, there are several other unpleasant symptoms that go along with it.

According to Amitava Dasgupta, PhD and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center, the effects are often so uncomfortable that people with this condition may stop drinking altogether. 

Signs and Symptoms of Asian Flush

Asian flush symptoms infographic

As mentioned earlier, this condition carries a myriad of symptoms other than flushing. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

  • Redness of the upper body and other areas of the body (such as neck, chest and shoulders)
  • Swelling of the cheeks
  • Sensation of warmth and itchiness
  • Red eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing and/or restricted breathing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • A general sense of upper body pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Nasal congestion

The results of a 2019 survey of people with Asian Flush showed that red facial flushing is the most common symptom, with headaches coming in a clear second.

Nearly 100% of people who were surveyed reported that they experience flushing after alcohol (in addition to other, lesser symptoms).

Survey results of prevalence of Asian flush symptoms

While these symptoms sound similar to a hangover, this condition arises between 20 to 40 minutes after consuming alcohol. Those with severe alcohol flush syndrome may even experience symptoms after just a few sips of alcohol.

Sufferers also report that these symptoms can last up to a day or two, making drinking alcohol an uncomfortable and drawn-out activity.

What causes the Asian flush?

The cause of this condition is genetic and, as the name suggests, most prevalent among those of East Asian descent.  It has also been referred to as an 'alcohol flush reaction'.

Does Asian Glow Only Affect Asians?

The cause of this condition is genetic and, as the name suggests, most prevalent among those of East Asian descent.  It has also been referred to as an 'alcohol flush reaction'.

According to a literature review by scientists at the University of California, this condition is experienced by:

  • 34% of Korean Americans
  • 50% of Chinese Americans
  • 29% of Koreans
  • 37% of Korean Chinese
  • 46% of Japanese
  • 34% of Han Chinese and Taiwanese

The review highlights two main genetic factors that cause Asian flush:

  1. 80% of East Asian populations convert ethanol to acetaldehyde faster than normal.
  2. 30% to 50% of East Asians can't break down that acetaldehyde normally. 

These factors combined explain the prevalence of Asian flush among the Asian population.

To get a bit scientific, this condition is the result of a lack of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) enzymes - responsible for helping break down ethanol in the liver.

Other Asian Flush Causes Aside From Alcohol

From medications, dietary choices, and even unrelated medical conditions, there are lots of other causes of red face - so let's take a look at a few.

Certain Medication May Cause Similar Symptoms To Asian Flush

Red flushes can be caused by various medications, which doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s due to an allergic reaction. 

Opioids, like oxycodone, as well as doxorubicin and Viagra, are reported to induce the Asian flush-like redness in a fraction of patients who medicate themselves with these drugs. 

The cause for this skin reaction is uncertain, so if you experience red flushes after using some of the previously-mentioned medication, make sure to consult with your doctor to see if there is a suitable alternative.

Cushing Syndrome

The steroid hormone cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, serves us by keeping our immune system in check, regulating our blood sugar, managing our blood pressure, turning food into energy, and reducing inflammation.

When this hormone’s levels are too high, many negative consequences can occur, red flushing being one of them. This results in the condition known as the Cushing syndrome, which can also occur due to excessive use of cortisol-like drugs, also known as steroids.

Spicy Foods

Certain spicy foods can be a trigger enough for the appearance of the glow-like redness on your face and neck, especially if you don’t consume these kinds of foods that often and/or if you have fair skin.

This occurs due to increased blood flow, which causes dilation of the facial blood vessels, hence more blood flow rises to the surface of the skin, making it flush.

Emotional Triggers

Emotions can be very tricky and quite often are the cause of some involuntary reactions, excessive blushing being one of them.

Anxiety is a very common trigger of turning one’s face red while speeding up the heart rate and breathing. 

Anxiety attacks are not something to be taken lightly, so if this is the cause of your red flushes, talk to your doctor about some strategies which can help you overcome this frequent mood disorder.

How do you know if you have Asian flush?

We asked a member of the SRQ Labs team, what it felt like when he experienced this condition:

“I remember the first time my face went red from alcohol.  It was about 15 years ago and I was at a house party trying to get the interest of a girl. 

The night was progressing pretty well.  We were chatting and all signs were pointing in a positive direction.  That was until she offered me a beer.  A simple, innocent, cold, refreshing beer.

I downed it with manly gusto, trying to hide the fact that I’d never drunk a full bottle of beer before.  Little did I know, this would start a 20-minute count down to me becoming the focus of the room for all the wrong reasons.

It didn’t take long before I began to feel the skin on my face heating up and beginning to tingle.  Not long after that, it became harder to breathe and I could feel my eyes becoming bloodshot.

I could tell something was wrong by the concerned look on the girl's face.  Then I heard a voice from across the room yell out “Look how smashed he is!”.

At this point everyone’s eyes were on me, my face was pulsating and quickly becoming the center of everyone’s attention. “Are you on drugs?” she asked as she distanced herself from the laughing stock of the room.”

What are some DIY alcohol flush reaction cures?

The first thing to keep in mind is that this condition doesn't necessarily does not have a cure. However, there are few things you can try at home to help minimize your reaction to drinking. These can include:

  • Strategic drink selection - Do you flush worse with red wine, but less with beer? Make sure to pick alcoholic drinks that work best for you and your symptoms
  • Colour-correcting makeup - Green is a fantastic color to offset the redness caused by this condition. Pick makeup products like foundation or concealer with a green tint to minimize your redness
  • Sunset Alcohol Flush Support - This supplement is specifically designed to reduce Asian Flush symptoms

Still looking for the best DIY cure?

Visit: DIY Asian flush cures - simple Asian flush remedies you can try today!

How can I prevent Asian Flush?

Sunset Alcohol Flush Support is the most effective option on the market for Asian Glow relief. This supplement was specifically designed for this condition and to support the body when dealing with this condition.

To fully stop this condition though, you'll have to stop drinking alcohol completely - or at the very least choose drinks that have lower alcohol content.

Want more details on how to prevent this condition?

Visit: How To Prevent Asian Flush & Stop Your Face From Turning Red!