Over time, rosacea can cause visible blood vessels, so it’s no surprise that alcohol can exacerbate the problem. However, if left untreated, excess tissue can grow in the form of bumps across affected areas. Sufferers usually find that red wine is most likely to trigger flare ups and a single drink is often enough to bring on symptoms. A red face after drinking alcohol may be a warning sign — a new study has found that people who get flushed after drinking are at increased risk for developing high blood pressure. While excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cancers that affect your mouth and digestive system, heavy drinking can also increase your risk for skin cancer.
The risk of skin cancer increases with chronic alcohol abuse, although researchers are not exactly sure why. If you are asking how to prevent alcohol flush reaction, your first step should be abstaining from drinking whenever possible. Limiting alcohol intake and consuming light-colored, chilled drinks like white wine or champagne works well.
What About Alcoholic Face Changes?
The lips, gums, and tongue may also reflect ongoing alcohol abuse. The lips can become very dry, the gums inflamed, and the tongue swollen. In some cases, bacteria can take up residence on the tongue and form a black, hairy substance. The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
- If you have rosacea and struggle with alcohol use, you might be putting yourself at risk of experiencing more severe side effects of rosacea.
- “You also want to avoid irritating the skin by using sunscreen daily and avoiding harsh exfoliators, microdermabrasion, and products like retinol,” she says.
- Instead, if an individual has rosacea and drinks often, they might trigger more rosacea flare-ups, which can lead to increased thickening of the skin on their nose.
All alcoholic drinks — including beer, wine, and liquors — contain a substance called ethanol. Some people also use lasers and light-based therapies to reduce redness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved brimonidine for the treatment of rosacea — a skin condition that causes redness and small bumps on the face. Rosacea is a lifelong skin condition that causes redness of the face.
How to Prevent Facial Flushing From Alcohol
While this approach to treating alcohol flush reaction works for some, there are many reasons why this is not a good idea. For people who go red from alcohol, the process gets paused right after the alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde. This toxin accumulates and takes a long time to get out of the body’s system. As it builds up, it causes unpleasant sober house and uncomfortable symptoms before the body can get rid of it. Because one of the most common, and most noticeable, symptoms are a red face, many mistakenly confuse it for a skin condition or skin problem. However, a red face from alcohol is far more profound than just a skin-level issue and results from a malfunction in the metabolism of alcohol.
An error in the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) gene that encodes the ALDH2 enzyme can reduce the efficacy of the second step of the process, causing a buildup of acetaldehyde to occur. This results in facial flushing and other symptoms such as feeling warm, an increase in skin temperature, nausea, headaches, and an increase in breathing rate or heart rate . A person who develops an alcohol flush reaction may also do so if they take medications that trigger it. This includes meds for diabetes, high cholesterol, and infections. Furthermore, someone who uses make-up and skin care products that dilate their blood vessels may mistake this for being alcohol-related if they also drink alcoholic beverages regularly.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Skin
We also look at the risks of this side effect and how to prevent it. The medicine works by reducing the size of very small blood vessels. One 2013 study showed that people who get flushed after drinking may have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure. People who flush when they drink might have a faulty version of the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) gene. ALDH2 is an enzyme in your body that helps break down a substance in alcohol called acetaldehyde.
Up to 40% of northeastern Asians experience flushing and elevated heart rate after drinking even minimal amounts of alcohol, due to accumulation of acetaldehyde. This is because of a mutation in acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), the enzyme that converts acetaldehyde to acetate. Anyone who experiences recurrent reddening of their face, whether they drink alcohol regularly or not, should consult a doctor. A dermatologist can help determine what is causing the condition and how to approach treating it.
Skin Damage Issues of an Alcoholic
While the flushing itself isn’t harmful, it may be a warning sign of other risks. It’s not known why certain populations are more likely to have this problem, but it’s genetic and can be passed on by one or both parents. Scientists estimate that there are at least 540 million people worldwide with an ALDH2 deficiency.