So here's my problem. I drink a reasonable amount of alcohol, and have developed this very strange condition. I'm 22 and really only started drinking when I turned 21, and this started happening about 7 or 8 months ago. I noticed when I would drink, that occasionally, my skin would get very flushed but also very blotchy, mostly getting red in patches on my cheeks and forehead. The first time it happened I was drinking Kahula and thought it might have had something to do with that, but it doesnt...
Now, my face also gets very hot, and I can stop the redness by drinking a large amount of water really quickly, although its not too desireable. Anyway, this happened to me about 3 times over the course of a few months but lately has gotten more frequent. I'm not sure if thats due to me worrying about it, or what...but it happens more frequently than I'd like, obviously.
A couple of factors seem to influence it: Mixing of alcohol (sake/beer tends to bring it out), how fast I drink, how much water I've been drinking. It doesnt really have anything to do with WHAT I drink, I've noticed. Also, I need to say that I don't think that it is rosacea as I've been doing a lot of research on it and this NEVER happens to me otherwise. I have fair skin, but I excercise, I eat spicy food, etc and NEVER get the red skin unless I'm drinking.
This happens to me also. I am31 and it has happened to me as long as I can remember.I get flushed on my face neck and chest. It seems to happen to me no matter what I drink and it usualllygoes away after a couple drinks. It is pretty noticabe because I have had people comment on it. I am interested to what it may be also.
A couple other things (my problem may be different than lynn's)...
I never get red anywhere but my face. From what I can tell through various research my liver may have a problem breaking down the alcohol and this can be remedied temporarily by taking an asprin or an antihistimine. I've taken asprin several times but I know it might be doing damage to my liver (I'm planning on doing a liver cleanse pretty soon), so I want to try to stop that.
Also, while I did start drinking regularly at age 21, I did drink fairly frequently in my younger years, stopping for a few years after that - I never had this problem until maybe 6 months after I turned 21.
You've described a condition called "Alcohol Flush Reaction". This condition is due to an inactive enzyme which is normally responsible for the breakdown of acetaldehyde, a by product of the metabolism of alcohol. Acetaldehyde is a toxin from alcohol. Because the body is unable to break it down, the accumulation of the poison in the blood stream causes flushing (redness in face and chest). This condition (inactive enzyme) is said to be more prevalent amongst the Asian community and is attributed to their lower levels of alcoholism; due to the fact that the reaction prompts them to stop the abuse of alcohol by nonconsumption of alcohol. Redness and enlarged capillaries in the face (especially the nose) is a sign or symptom of alcohol abuse.
The function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body. A risk factor is defined as something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Alcohol abuse is a risk factor for cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs when cells in the liver are damaged and scar tissue forms in its place, compromising severely the liver's function or ability to remove toxins from the body. The problem with cirrhosis is that diagnosis of the disease doesn't usually occur until it has reached its dangerous state. Early stages of the disease usually go undetected, or overlooked (ie. gastrointestinal symptoms; loss of appetite, loss of weight, vomiting, & tenderness over the upper abdomen). As the scarring of the liver advances and the liver veins are blocked off, the symptom of vascular spiders are seen on the face and upper body. Jaundice and edema can occur at the very late stage of cirrhosis and major damage to the liver can prove to be fatal.
Your "alcohol flush reaction" is indication that your body is incapable of breaking down the poison/toxin, acetaldehyde found in alcohol; therefore you should definitely take heed to your body's early warning signs and stay away from alcohol consumption. Your decision to do a liver flush to rectify any damage done is a good one; however it should be done for the purpose of improving your health, not for the purpose of more alcohol consumption. Considering that your body has demonstrated "alcohol flush reaction" and considering that alcohol is a risk factor for cirrhosis of the liver, you should definitely think twice about continuing to consume alcohol. At least do more research on "alcohol flush reaction" and cirrhosis of the liver before taking another drink. You've established already that you are an intelligent thinker; therefore why compromise your abilities with alcohol. Listen to your body.
Okay, I get it may be Alcohol Flush Reaction, but it's somewhat odd that it didn't pop up until later in life for me, isn't it? I mean this is a fairly recent thing...besides the red face (which isn't uniformly red, it's in patches and never on my nose), I don't have any of the other symptoms. In fact I feel fine, even when the face is red. I'm going to have it checked out...but is it possible to damage an enzyme? Or...how did this come up later in my life?
You can definitely cause damage to the liver cells (tissue) which are replaced by scar tissue (when damaged), instead of its normal reproduction and replacement by healthy cells. Keep in mind that one of the livers many functions is detoxification (removing poisons from the blood). When you combine the absence of proper food elements and vitamins (specifically the lack of proteins and vitamin B complex which is a more frequent occurrence in heavy drinkers) with heavy alcohol consumption, the liver becomes overwhelmed in its abilities to detoxify and the accumulation of poisons in the blood stream may find a way of release through the skin, "Alcohol Flush Reaction". The reason that you are currently experiencing this reaction to alcohol could be due to a combination of factors (diet and alcohol) over time that has produced the reaction you now experience. For example, an abundance of spicy foods and alcohol consumption and a lack of fruits, vegetables, grains, and water over a period of time could seriously put a strain on the effectiveness of the function of the liver. You can visit your doctor and have he or she do a liver-function test and also test for any vitamin or mineral deficiencies that may be playing a role in your reaction.
The simple answer to your question as to why the reaction now and not previously could simply be due to the fact that the damage had not yet been done. Especially if you don't think that this is "Alcohol Flush Reaction" (an inactive enzyme that is unable to break down alcohol poison), you definitely need to visit a doctor to ensure that your liver is not damaged and is functioning properly.
I have the same problem, except the red blothes itch like crazy, and I also get a runny nose for some reason. I'm 26 and it only started when I was about 21. As a teen I did quite a bit of drinking and never had this problem. I noticed that the first few times it happened I was drinking 'ice' beer. So, I figured I must be allergic to it. Then later it started to happen no matter what kind of alcohol I was drinking. Also, I noticed that if I would limit myself to only 1 or 2 drinks the symptoms were far less severe and cleared up very quickly. But, still it was annoying! Needless to say, I pretty much quit drinking all together about 3 years ago except for special occasions. I think thats probably about the only thing you can do about the problem. You may be best off to quit drinking or limit your intake. Whatever you choose to do, good luck with it.