Why Does Your Face Turn Red While Drinking Alcohol?

Flushed face from drinking alcohol

It has happened to all of us, or at least to somebody we know. You have been treating yourself to a few adult beverages, and suddenly the skin on your face undergoes a rapid transformation. Gone is your normal skin tone, and in its place your skin takes on the color of a tomato, giving you a flushed look. For those who get a red face while drinking, this can be a constant source of embarrassment and a dead giveaway to anyone and everyone that you are inebriated. Everyone has seen someone with a red face after drinking, but do you know what causes the flushing phenomenon?

What Causes My Face to Turn Red While Drinking?

Flushing of your face while drinking is likely caused by a temporary spike in blood pressure. When you drink, your body has trouble metabolizing the alcohol and turns it into acetaldehyde. This compound has a relaxing effect on your entire body, including your blood vessels. The relaxed blood vessels then expand, resulting in a dip in blood pressure. Once the alcohol has been fully metabolized your body works to raise your blood pressure back to your normal level, and this process can result in a temporary rise in blood pressure.

For those who get facial flushing, it is likely because your body is unable to break down acetaldehyde, leading to expanded blood vessels for an extended amount of time.

Who is More Likely to Get a Flushed Face While Drinking?

There are a couple of factors that can lead to a flushed face while drinking. Below are some of the primary factors that can lead to a red face while drinking alcohol.

The Type of Alcohol You Drink

In general, red wine and dark alcohol like Whiskey seem to get people the reddest, although all kinds of alcohol can cause your face to flush.

Skin Tone

People with fair skin are much more likely to turn red while drinking than people with dark skin.


Women are more likely than men to experience a red face while consuming alcohol.


Individuals between the ages of 30 and 60 are more likely to have their face turn red while drinking than people who are older or younger.

How Can You Manage the Redness?

While there is not yet a cure for a red face while drinking, there are ways to manage the redness. Try using a green-tinted concealer, as the green will work to cancel out your red face. Another more long-lasting solution is laser treatments to reduce the number of blood vessels near the surface of the skin. One final tip is to try to avoid irritating the skin, so use sunscreen daily and avoid exfoliators, retinol, or microdermabrasion.

Quit Drinking Alcohol to Permanently Stop Redness

There actually is one permanent way to stop facial flushing during drinking, and that is to quit drinking alcohol. If your face turns red while drinking, this could be a sign that you will have hypertension in the future. The Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research in San Diego can help you quit drinking, as we offer clinical trials that test new treatments to help you quit drinking alcohol for good. For more information, give us a call at (858) 784-7867.