There's A Reason Your Face Goes Red After Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is all fun and games until ... your face unexpectedly turns red. That's how the saying goes, right? While it's a well-known fact that drinking booze can have an effect on many parts of your body (via News Medical), from the liver and kidneys to the brain's cognitive function, some people experience increased facial flushing as an unpleasant side effect of consuming too much hooch.

And there's a scientific reason for that. Per Healthline, those who experience facial flushing during or after consuming alcohol may have a certain gene that prevents the body from properly digesting alcohol. "Flushing happens when someone doesn't digest alcohol completely," Dr. Abisola Olulade confirmed when speaking to Byrdie about the phenomenon. 

A mutation of the ALDH2 gene is likely the reason why some people — approx. eight percent of the population — have difficulty breaking down acetaldehyde, which is a substance found in alcohol. Having too much acetaldehyde in the body can cause other unpleasant side effects, like a racing heart, nausea and vomiting, and — you guessed it — a flushed face.

Who is more likely to turn red after drinking and is it preventable?

Anyone can have a mutation of the ALDH2 gene, but research from the University of California, San Francisco has shown that those of Asian descent have a higher risk of genetically inheriting the gene. And unfortunately, there's no cure for facial flushing in conjunction with drinking alcohol. While some people use antihistamines to combat the unwanted side effect of facial flushing while drinking, Medical News Today suggests that this short-term solution isn't recommended. 

In fact, the only way to completely eliminate facial flushing when drinking is to simply limit or stop the consumption of alcohol, and while that may be tough a pill to swallow, eliminating alcohol from your diet can be beneficial in a plethora of ways other than just getting rid of facial flushing (via WebMD).

If you're consistently experiencing facial flushing due to alcohol consumption, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. It might be best to cut out alcohol for good.