Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
When it comes to our drinking habits, we would say we’re pretty clued up. We’re well aware that men and women’s ideas about how much you should drink on a first date are largely different, and although alcohol has no real medicinal value, you can drink Gin guilt-free knowing that it could actually be a cure for your hay fever.
But have you ever wondered why some people turn red when they drink alcohol?
There’s proof that drinking doesn’t actually change your personality very much at all (so no more blaming drunk you for any outrageous behaviour), but we do know it affects us all differently. You may have noticed that a friend of yours tends to get a bit flushed after a glass or two of wine – so why doesn’t it happen to everybody? Why does it only happen to a handful of us?
It turns out that those who turn a pinky hue could be suffering from something known as alcohol flush reaction. According to Business Insider, side effects include skin colouration, nausea, headaches, and a rapid heartbeat thanks to a build up of the toxic carcinogen, acetaldehyde.
Our livers automatically convert this into acetate, which is safer for our bodies, but those of us who suffer from alcohol flush reaction will have a much slower conversion rate. This means that the acetaldehyde is lurking in their body for longer, and leads to a higher risk of other alcohol-related issues, such as esophageal cancer later in life. One of the immediate reactions to alcohol, however, is a red complexion or blotches across the face, neck or shoulders.
It is thought that alcohol flush reaction is genetic, and although there is no cure for it it is largely suggested that those concerned should stop consuming alcohol as a method of prevention.
But, as always, you should ensure that you are drinking responsibly to avoid any long-term health problems as a result of drinking alcohol – whether you suffer from booze-induced redness or not.