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Old 02-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Chronic Red Face!!! How long?

I drank heavily for about 10 years until 12 years ago. Then the little "pressure in the side" and other symptoms (itching primarily) gave me a real health scare. Went through scores of tests, and doc diagnosed me with fatty liver. He didn't think it was the alcohol, but I knew better.

Scared me straight for 10 years. From someone who was drinking a 12 pack a day, I went to zero with the exception of a couple times a year I'd have beer when I went camping. That was it. I felt better, and unless I gained weight quickly (without alcohol consumption), I had no symptoms.

Two years ago, I started slowly back up. Within a year I was back to daily drinking (almost) 6 a day or so. Fast forward to recently, and I was back to 12 plus a day. Been there for about 6 months now. About a month ago after probably my worst night of drinking ever, I got a lot of pressure in the abdomen. Uncomfortable to sit in the car. I stopped for a while and it went away, as did the overall body itching. I knew what I was doing, but was having a rough time in my personal and work life (tons of stress), and kept telling myself for the last 6 months "what's one more day gonna do? Tomorrow, tomorrow I stop". I didn't.

A few months ago, I started getting comments like "you always look like you just got a tan". Hmm, ok. I figured it was after a night of heavy drinking and nothing permanent. Recently, a friend said "crap man, why is your face so red?!!!" and was laughing at me. It was really red that day due to an extra heavy episode the previous nite. A couple weeks later I asked him, and he said "yeah, still red, but not so bad". Another co-worker who's known me for 15 years said today "are you okay, why is your face red". I told her I was fine, had just been out in the sun and cold a lot over the weekend. Later, and she asked if I had high blood pressure. Had told her it was a little high, but I've been under a lot of stress. She hugged me and made me promise to take better care of myself. I'm sure she knows what's going on.

I see my face and I'm humiliated. It doesn't look right. Not obviously puffy, but I know it should look slimmer than it does at my present weight. I see pictures, and I'm amazed at how red the flash makes my face look. I look in the mirror under most lighting conditions, and I'm shocked.

I stopped drinking last week, but it's still there. Not as bad, but it's there. Sometimes worse than others. I can see more spider veins in my face now as well. Had a few from my previous drinking. They never got worse, but they never went away either. Where they were previously along side my nose, now I've got them on the cheeks.

Up until a few months ago, nobody ever mentioned it, and I never noticed the red face (unless I had taken a viagra, which is a normal reaction).

How long does it take for this overall redness to go away. It's my entire face. Cheeks, forehead, etc. I'm so concerned this may take many months, years, or it may never go away.

Any experiences with this? Is there hope? How long do I have to wear this badge of shame?
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I was getting the red cheeks, red ears, and the big red nose going with the pores in the nose very visible even though I have applied sunblock the last 10 years of my life, (my wife is a skincare specialist). In my opinion I started looking like Karl Maulden, and WC Fields, and it scared the hell out of me. I used to be told I looked like a mix of Robert Redford and Paul Newman. I am amazed that I didn't just quit drinking out of vanity alone. But anyways, my face and other body parts cleaned up pretty fast. I could see noticable results in about a month. The pores on my nose are back to normal size my blood pressure dropped, and I am looking younger everyday. I have also lost about 20 lbs, and have put on alot of muscle. Stay sober and the red goes away.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Donnyf

I've never had rosacea (red face), but most folks here find it fades in time, I think.
Check with your Dr if you're concerned

Welcome aboard

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Old 02-28-2011, 10:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how long it took for me...at least a month. But you should check with your doctor to be careful.

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Old 02-28-2011, 11:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi donny - good for you for wanting to get sober again. I hope your issues with the redness resolve soon..... The itching, abdominal pressure, spider veins, etc., are things that are sometimes related to the liver - had you seen a doctor lately?

In any case, congratulations for quitting - it's never too late to take hold of your life!:ghug3
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome Donny and I also agree a consult with the Dr. would be a good thing.

I had many nasty things happen to my appearance and so forth when I drank that took time to improve if they did. I had the red face/with red spots, spider veins and oh yes the horrific all over itching.

What I did was go to the Dr and have them give me a workup. It is a great place to start especially once we quit drinking.

Glad you are with us and looking forward to the journey
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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yes...I too think a check up is wise....but you gotta be
totally honest about your drinking..so the correct test can be done.

The only red I noticed as a drinker..the tops of my ears
got hot to the touch and were red.
As soon as I stopped...it did too...so I don't know.

My elevated blood pressure also dropped quickly I no longer needed meds.
I had no liver problems ..not then...not now.

I can't think of a single thing that improves when you are a drinker
Good to know you have quit.

welcome to our recovery community..
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've had what you describe and it gets better. Although my face goes from white to red at the drop of a hat since I was born.

Some of this can be due to the weather. Anyhow you know the booze makes it bad and I thought my red face got better after a few weeks to a month. I guess its just a sign of the amount of toxins still leftover in your body.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I was wondering the same thing. My 6 year old asks me all the time why my face is so red. I've always had a bit of a red face but it was getting ridiculous. Maybe I'm vain, but that was one of the main reasons I wanted to quit. I guess whatever motivates us. I've always had a bit of a red face but it was getting ridiculous.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have seen products in the skin care aisle at the drugstore (where all the wrinkle creams, etc are) for redness in the face. Have no idea how effective they are. I have some red capillaries around my nose and cheeks but not so bad I can`t get some pretty good coverage with makeup. Skin TEXTURE has improved dramatically, though - very soft and smooth now. Of course I now take the time 2X a day to cleanse/mosturize etc instead of passing out drunk however I was!
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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i'm naturally pink-toned complexion with blonde hair...drinking made my face red and full like a moon...i looked swollen all the time. I also had moderate HTN.

every day you stay away from the booze and try to keep to a cleaner diet, you are getting back towards looking normal.

'BUT, you have previously been DX'd with a fatty sensitive liver...so maybe a new round of LFTs are needed to see what is going on.

congrats on quitting
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You might want to google "asian glow".. It doesn't just happen in asians either. My face would get very red, and stayed that way throughout my drinking career.. It went away in 3 weeks..
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I cant believe it. This is exactly what I was gonna write today.
My face and neck are beet red and sometimes my cheeks hurt.
Have a few spider veins on nose.
Going to the dr tomorrow for a blood test but am terrified to find out the results.

I too wonder if it will ever go away.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone who said see your dr and get the appropriate tests.

I have rosacea and had pink/red skin before I ever started drinking. Drinking did add spider veins around my nose, though.

If it doesn't go away with time once you stop you there are laser treatments that can reduce redness and remove spider veins (i believe it is called a v-beam laser).
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It's been 15 months for me. I still think I have some redness in the forehead, and of course the nose veins haven't gone anywhere. It's not high on my list now to get the veins blasted away, but it's something I might do some day. But the redness is not like it used to be, it's a lot better. It doesn't look like it is cnostant as in the past. If the redness was once at 10, then I am at 5 or less now; that's how I would describe it. My eyes are kind of bulby and I think it's a precursor to the sagging to come. I do grant that I am 42 now though. Maybe it was flattery, but I was told I looked 34 last Fall by people who were new to me and that I looked unusually young to people that have known me for years.

That's a bunch of conflicting statements, I'm sure. That's the way vanity is.

But I understand how you feel. It does feel like a badge of shame. It was a constant source of unhappiness for me, which did nothing to get me to stop drinking for another 10 years. It has gotten better for me, and I hope you will find the right combination of things you can do to improve too.

I don't talk about this topic very often, but it is one of the topics (if not THE topic) that caused me to find this site. Other people come to the site for reasons you can call vanity too.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies.

I did some research today, and started taking Motrin to reduce the swelling of the face. It seems to be helping. I was driving home tonight, and thought "hey, I'm getting some contour back in my cheeks. May just be the lighting though". But when I walked into the garage and past the bathroom, my nightly "look in the mirror and be shocked" moment wasn't so shocking tonight. The swealling has gone down slightly, and the redness is also going down, a bit. I'd say when I had a heck of a bender after my lady left the night her and I split, the next night the redness was a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was horrible, and aggravated by viagra I'm sure the night before. It subsided to about a 7 over the next couple of weeks, but I was still drinking. Not as much, but still drinking. This morning I'd put it at about a 5 or 6 still (with one being normal).

I knew something was up when I stopped feeling the facial flush when I took viagra the past couple months. Why I couldn't see the change is beyond me. I noticed, but it just looked like I had just a little bit of sun. Did not notice the facial swelling at all until I looked at a picture taken of me recently. I thought "why do I look so fat?!!! My face usually looks good at this weight." Passed it off as a bad photo. Wow was I wrong once I knew what to look for in the mirror.

So, it's been about 4 days since I had a few beers with friends, and that's all I've had in over a week. Tonight I'd say I'm about 4 to 5 on redness. There is a difference. Spider veins still there, and I know they will always be until I have them surgically treated. It's probably more the motrin than anything today, but if that's what it takes to get me looking relatively normal until I get some more time between me and the drinking, I am very happy to do it. Also picked up some epson salt lotion from CVS, and will be doing cold compresses nightly for a while. I hope this gets me back to looking normal soon. I'm afraid to even be seen by my old boss and now friend, because I know she knows what's up with me. I hope to avoid her for a week or so and be able to pop in and make a visit looking normal again.

If this goes away in a few weeks, it will be off to the dermatologist to see about laser treatments for a couple bad spider veins that are fairly prominent that just showed up in the last couple of weeks.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am interested in how this is working out for you and welcome anyone else who wants to contribute to the topic.
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Old 05-09-2011, 01:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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When I've been drinking a lot, I always wake up with an awful red face. In the rare event that I stop drinking for a week or so, it gradually gets better. Sometimes when I have an important commitment, I'll try to abstain a few days before, just to reduce the redness.

I've been going a little overboard with with drinking lately, and found this thread when I googled "red face alcohol." I've seen the forum before, but just signed up today because I know my problems are deeper than just a red face and I want to do something about it.
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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so happy i found this post.

Donny I also wanted to quit due to my red face (among a laundry list of other reasons). I felt compelled to join this site because I found this post on Google.

Thanks every one for the replies and I'm happy to be apart of this community.
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