Asian Flush Symptoms

Symptoms of Asian flush will vary from person to person in severity and duration. They may include one or a combination of the following physiological reactions:

  • Erythema (skin redness)
  • Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels)
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
  • Migraine
  • Nausea

Erythema (the red face!)

Erythema refers to the reddening of one’s skin as a result of hypermia (i.e. an engorgement of blood vessels due to an increased blood flow to specific areas of the body). The area affected by erythema can vary, however the redness associated with Asian flush typically manifests on ones face, neck and body approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the consumption of alcohol. The onset of the flushing can be felt as an increase in temperature in the affected areas, with some people reporting a sensation a slight numbness or tingling.


Vasodilation refers to the widening of blood vessels and results in increased blood flow due to a decrease in vascular resistance. With less resistance in the blood vessels, one will typically experience symptoms of low blood pressure such as feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Whist the onset of each symptom will vary, many people report a lightheadedness approximately 5 minutes before the physical manifestation of their red flushing.


Tachycardia refers to a heart rate that is faster than what is considered normal and can occur when the body experiences an unexpected change in blood flow. People suffering from Asian flush usually experience a restriction in their respiration and sometimes report a heartbeat that feels stronger and faster than normal.


A lot of people report strong migraine headaches, typically 1 to 2 hours after experiencing other symptoms of Asian flush. The severity of these headaches can depend largely on whether any of the above-mentioned symptoms act as a trigger in people who have a predisposition for experiencing migraine headaches.


Strongly linked to acetaldehyde build-up, it is common for individuals to begin feeling nauseous 1 to 2 hours after experiencing their first Asian flush symptoms. Nausea is a common morning after hangover symptom that is experienced much earlier for Asian flush sufferers because of their inability to break down acetaldehyde.