It’s not just the end of the day that many people ring in with a toast. Beer, sparkling wine, schnapps and the like have long since become a normal part of our everyday lives. That’s not healthy, we all know that. However, experts draw special attention to an immediately visible side effect. Because you should pay close attention to whether alcohol causes your face to turn red.

Behind the unusual response of your skin to corresponding drinks is a condition called “alcohol flush reaction”, roughly translated as “redness caused by alcohol reaction”. Anyone affected by this doesn’t just get a warm, red face from alcohol. The neck and chest area can also show corresponding changes. Other side effects include nausea, headaches and a rapid heartbeat.

The disease is one of the main signs of alcohol intolerance. Acetaldehyde, also known as ethanal, is built up immediately after consumption. This occurs in the body when ethanol contained in alcoholic drinks is broken down in the liver or stomach. Among other substances, acetaldehyde is responsible for the “hangover” the next morning.

Acetaldehyde is actually converted into the safer acetate relatively quickly. If you get a red face from alcohol, it’s different for you. Then acetaldehyde is produced more quickly and the liver needs more time to break it down further. However, this is where the problems only begin.

Apart from the discomfort, there is another particular problem with the disease. Acetaldehyde is highly toxic and a known carcinogen, meaning it causes or promotes cancer. Those affected are at higher risk of mouth and throat cancer. As individual studies show, alcohol consumption has long been underestimated when it comes to the risk of esophageal cancer.

If your face turns reddish, you should stop drinking immediately and think carefully about whether alcohol is necessary in the future. There are no real treatment options for this. The red face after alcohol is genetic and hereditary. It occurs primarily in East Asia, and anyone can have an enzyme disorder that causes alcohol intolerance.

By Dana Neumann

The original for this article “Red in the face after alcohol? Be careful, you could be risking your health” comes from