When you’re enjoying a cocktail-filled night out with friends, the last thing you want to worry about is the redness on your face. Unfortunately for many people, specifically East Asian populations, this is just what happens when a person has one too many drinks.
Often called the “Asian glow,” this medical phenomenon is extremely common for those with Asian descent and can cause insecurities and discomfort for those that are experiencing it. Simply put, the Asian glow is something most people would like to prevent if possible. That’s why we’ve taken a deep dive into this condition and discovered some of the best ways to prevent Asian glow from ruining your adventurous, boozy nights.
What’s the Asian Glow and is it Dangerous?
Even if you haven’t heard of the Asian glow, you’ve probably experienced it, or seen someone else experience it. Otherwise known as Asian flush or alcohol flush reaction, Asian glow is referring to the blotchiness or red, facial flushness that can sometimes occur when drinking alcohol. But, why does this only happen to some people – specifically Asian Americans – and is it dangerous?
The Asian glow disproportionately affects Asian populations directly due to genetic makeup. Most people’s bodies produce an enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde, a compound which transforms into acid in the liver when alcohol is consumed. Specifically in East Asian populations, this gene is not apparent. The result? Acetaldehyde begins to build up, which can cause your face to flush.
Though the Asian glow itself isn’t dangerous, it can be a sign of other underlying health conditions. Facial flushing is the biggest indication of alcohol intolerance. It also signifies that the body is experiencing a reaction to alcohol far differently than it should — something that should not go ignored. In fact, studies have concluded that the presence of Asian glow can signal other serious health complications like high blood pressure or even certain cancers.
Because of the potential pain and discomfort that this type of reaction can bring, finding any way to reduce the Asian glow can be extremely beneficial to one’s health. To help, we’ve compiled five of our most helpful tips on combating the Asian glow.
1. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Reducing your overall alcohol consumption, as well as avoiding binge drinking entirely, is one of the best and most obvious ways to prevent the Asian glow. Because alcohol and the toxins it brings are the triggers for this facial flush, it is simply best to have a minimal relationship with alcohol, or at least one where it is enjoyed in moderation. Instead of seeing how many drinks you can down in one night, take it slow and let your body process only reasonable amounts.
2. Consume Key Multivitamins and Nutrients
To give your body the boost its needs to fight off alcohol’s harmful ingredients, consuming multivitamins like Vitamin B1, B12, C, or E can work wonders. When you drink, your body becomes depleted of these essential vitamins, leaving you feeling sick and looking completely flushed. To help prevent the Asian glow from interfering with your social life, try nourishing your body with key vitamins on a daily basis. When you avoid vitamin deficiencies, your body can more effectively fight off alcohol’s toxins, allowing you to enjoy your nights without a bright red face.
3. Utilize Histamine Blockers
One of the most common ways that people choose to combat the Asian glow is through the use of antihistamines. These have been scientifically proven to reduce facial redness by slowing down the transformation from alcohol to acetaldehyde. However, popular antihistamines like Zantac and Pepcid AC have also been shown to increase blood-alcohol levels which can lead to serious health risks if not careful. If you do choose to utilize antihistamines before drinking, monitor your alcohol consumption closely, and keep in mind that your body is under abnormal conditions. Take it slow, and just enjoy a few fun cocktails.
4. Boost Antioxidant Consumption
A great, natural way to help prevent the Asian glow is to boost your body’s levels of antioxidants. Like vitamins, these nutrients help to fight off the negative effects of alcohol, as well as keeping your body feeling energized — even when you’re not drinking. Ingredients like prickly pear and artichoke extract are often found within the best hangover supplements, each for their own unique antioxidant properties. These ingredients are known to help protect liver function as well as reduce painful inflammation — both key elements in combating the effects of alcohol flush reaction.
5. Turn to N-acetylcysteine to Reduce Acetaldehyde Build Up
As we mentioned, those who experience the Asian glow are those who do not produce the enzymes necessary to break down acetaldehyde; the toxin that alcohol produces when absorbed within the body. Because of this, it’s a good idea to consume supplements that can boost the antioxidants you need to prevent this type of build-up from happening. N-acetylcysteine does just that. As a compound found in ingredients like milk thistle and vitamin C, N-acetylcysteine is a great, natural option to help your body more efficiently metabolize acetaldehyde. The better you’re able to break down this toxic substance, the better you’ll be able to prevent the Asian glow.
From Flushed Face to Balanced Skin and Body
For those of you who do experience this red-faced phenomenon every time you drink, it’s wonderful to know that you have options to help reduce it. Supplements like Active by Ivita encompass many of the key ingredients we discussed above, and are consumed specifically with the idea that alcohol is going to be flowing throughout the body. By taking supplements like this and following any recommendations of your medical doctor, it will become easier than ever for your internal systems to tackle toxins that alcoholic beverages bring.
Whenever you’re planning your next big night out, or even a party for friends at home, take a few precautionary measures to ensure it doesn’t end in discomfort and a red, flushed face. By monitoring your alcohol intake, consuming supplements that provide nourishing benefits, and actively enjoying key vitamins daily, the pesky Asian glow will stand no chance against a nutrient-fortified body.