News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Blogs  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter   



Doctors Lounge - Dermatology Answers

"The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician."

Back to Dermatology Answers List

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: red face caused by alcohol

 cgreenieuk - Sat Sep 27, 2003 3:18 pm


everytime i drink alcohol my face neck and sometimes my chest goes bright red and i get a burning sensation. obviously this causes a lot of embarrassment and i was wondering if theres anything i can do to prevent or limit the redness.
thank you
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:09 pm

User avatar As many as 50 percent of people of Asian descent experience a flushed complexion after drinking alcohol. Alcohol flush reaction, the more technical name, describes the body's inability to break down ingested alcohol completely. You and others like you have an inactive enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which is normally responsible for breaking down acetaldehyde, a byproduct of the metabolism of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a toxin and if your body can't break it down, it accumulates and causes flushing. Other symptoms you might experience include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and an increased pulse.

Scientists don't know why the enzyme is inactive primarily in people of Asian descent, but it is genetic and can be passed on by either or both parents. Some researchers find that the presence of the mutation can help account for the lower levels of alcoholism in Asian communities, since many of the symptoms of alcohol flush reaction discourage people from drinking. There is some evidence that ALDH2 is inactive in higher than average levels in people of Jewish descent as well.

Because it's genetic, there isn't much you can do to prevent your red face. Tolerance levels and the severity of flushing and other symptoms vary from individual to individual.


Check a doctor's response to similar questions


advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application


 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)



Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us

Copyright © 2001-2016
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME Articles

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.