The Asian Glow

Ah, the Asian glow. Unsuspecting to those who have never had a drink before. You think you have a chance. You try to convince yourself that it won’t affect you. That is until one day…you take a few swigs of cheap, plastic bottled vodka. You light up like Rudolph’s nose.

I saw a Buzzfeed video about the topic and was surprised that some people had never heard of Asian glow.


My face is usually the first thing to turn red, followed by my neck, hands, elbows, and stomach. My heart feels like it’s racing. I also feel puffy from time to time, like I just ate all of the salt at the bottom of a bag of pretzels. Even if I don’t feel the effects of the alcohol at first, the glow can happen after one drink.

I didn’t know about the Asian glow until high school. In addition to fighting acne, I had to deal with the unfortunate flush that came with my inability to process alcohol. It was every high school girl’s dream. Thanks genes!

It bothered me more when I went to college. I was glad parties were dimly lit. Makeup and concealer helped, but you reach a certain point where you start to look like a porcelain doll. Not a good look for a college student. When I started to drink more socially, I knew I had to find something to reduce my symptoms.

My next rational step was to consult Google.

“Asian glow”

“What is Asian glow?”

“How to get rid of Asian glow”

Throughout my search, I found suggestions to try an antacid like Pepcid or Zantac. I chose Zantac (because my mom had it stocked).

I had reservations about the whole idea of taking a pill with alcohol. The simple option would be to stop drinking, but let’s be honest, NO. My next option would be to embrace the flushed face and enjoy myself. Asian pride, right?

For me, the simple solution was to give it a try. The fact that it wasn’t an OTC was sort of reassuring. I read testimonials from other people who had success with antacids and thought, what the hell?

The results were pretty surprising. The redness was minimal and I didn’t feel like the Asian Michelin Man. I feel silly popping a Zantac on the way to meet friends for drinks, but it helps me get over the initial response that I would have if I didn’t take anything at all.

Taking the pill does not work 100% of the time. If I didn’t eat that much during the day or give myself enough time to digest the antacid, then I still turn red. It isn’t perfect, but I will take the 78% of times that I don’t light up like a stop light.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend or advise taking anything with alcohol, especially without talking to a doctor. This happened to work for me, but it may not work for everyone.

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