Red, Flushed Face

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Red cheeks with red wine

Oct 2008

Some red wines, after just one sip, will turn my face bright red, it will feel like its burning hot, and have me sweating – so embarrassing. (I always sip and wait before enjoying the glass.) But other red wines cause me no problem and I am able to enjoy my glass of wine at dinner. And here’s the thing—say a bottle of cabernet from Charles Shaw which we use as a table wine since we have a glass with dinner most evenings—sometimes I will have that pesky reaction and other times I won’t! It’s the same wine! Has anyone had a similar experience and figured out what is causing this? I feel like there is no rhyme or reason to which wine causes this and which doesn’t but maybe someone out there has some ideas or can help me identify a pattern? Flushed with red wine

I have exactly the same problem. One wine will cause me redness one night, but not the next... a different wine won't cause a reaction... until it does. I have found that the amount of sulfites in wines has something to do with this (and reds tend to have more sulfites than whites), so I usually go with French or Spanish wines, which seem to affect a lot less severity. However, I do not ever know when I might have the reaction. Like you, I sip a bit to see if there's a reaction, and sometimes it seems like the wine won't cause the redness, but a few sips more and Uh-Oh!

Honestly, a lot of the reaction proclivity seems to come from A) the sulfites in each vintage, B) my level of exhaustion, tiredness or stress, and C) whether or not I've eaten something substantial (not cheese w/crackers, which actually seems to make it worse).

Any of the above being out of whack, and I've got a red face.

White wines are less likely to cause the problem. You might want to shift from red wines to white in order to make the redness problem less likely. That's my advice. -- Blushing not an option!

Hi! I think you will find information galore on google - I was going to summarize it for you but there were so many good sites that I gave it up Its got something to do with the alcohol metabolism. I have also been told that if it is selective, its got to do with some other chemicals in the wines - some wines have it more, others less. cheers, Googling

You might have a sulfite allergy. Here's some information:

I don't know what is causing your red cheeks, but Charles Shaw does not use the same wine in all their bottles. (They don't make their own wine.) Their wine is super cheap because they buy excess wine from different wine makers who have excess and want to control their supply. (You can often have very expensive/fancy wine in your bottle of two buck chuck this way!) So, the wines in Charles Shaw bottles vary all the time. Sometimes their wines can be very good, but don't count on consistency from these bargain bottles. Anon

You may have rosacea (not sure how to spell it). Ask a dermatologist.

All of a sudden and out of the blue, I started getting red cheeks from wine. My doctor explained that I was probably allergic to sulfites and my body was a cup and sometimes there was room for some sulfites and sometimes there wasn't (because of other things I ate). This went on for about 2 years. One day I drank a mocha and went into full blown anaphylactic shock (preservative from chocolate squirt). Now I go into AS with just a taste so the allergy has gotten more severe. I can't have sulfites or sodium bensoate. Have been to the ER 56 times in the past 10 years.

You might want to visit an allergist and get a handle on it early. Is really no big deal once you know what you can and can't have. Thank heaven for Trader Joes!! No More Wine for Me

I also get red cheeks from certain wines. Sometimes it is accompanied by splotchy neck and chest. It shows up after a couple of sips and is not painful, but embarrassing.

I have a slight allergy to the sulfa antibiotics. It won't kill me, but it will cause itchy hives. I finally realized that the reaction to wine is related to the level of sulfites that are contained in that wine. Just buying the same wine label doesn't really help because wine production varies by year and batch. I have poured out many a great tasting bottle of wine.

I recommend looking for wines that are low in sulfites and when you get the red faced reaction, take a benedryl. Anon

Baby has one rosy cheek

Feb 2008

My 5 month old girl often has one rosey red cheek. It usually shows up shortly after eating (maybe 20 minutes ). Could this be a sign of a food allergy? She's exclusively breast fed so should I try to (painfully) eliminate dairy for a week or so to see what happens? I am really hoping that's not the case. I've read that eczema can cause red cheeks but doesn't that usually coincide with some other symptoms like bumps and dry skin, etc? Although, she does have one little bump on the other cheek but I thought that was just a perpetual pimple (?) Any advice? Meredith

Do you ever see both cheeks rosy at other times besides eating? If so, then ignore the rest of this post. Have you noticed one pupil is larger than the other? Another thing to consider (and talk to your pediatrician about) that would be more rare would be a sympathetic nerve defect on that side. In general, these can be caused by birth trauma and are nothing to worry about, but sometimes they need to be checked out. You would look for a smaller pupil on the side of the face that has no rosy cheek. Look in as dim light as possible (easier if s/he has blue eyes). eye doc

My baby girl (also 5 months) has the exact same thing. I've only just noticed it recently and I think it could be that she's working on a tooth (which can be a very long process). I also wonder if it isn't just a bright red cheek from being against mom's warm body during nursing? My baby's red cheek usually corresponds to the side she just had against me during the feeding. I also read that if they have a fever in conjunction with the red cheeks it could be a virus called Fifths disease (not the case with my baby). I'll be curious to see what others say... Mama of another rosy-cheeked baby

She's teething.

been there

My second child who is 8 months old now, has had this on and off for the past few months. I'm exclusively breastfeeding her and have found that she has sensitive skin (compared to my older son) and tends to get rosey cheeks after feedings now that we're in the middle of winter. She has a preference for a certain side and although I usually try to alternate breasts, sometimes I forget to and that's when one cheek gets more irritated than the other. I've found the Weleda baby lotion & diaper cream to be very soothing for her when her skin is looking chapped. Good luck! Mom in Oakland

Our 2yo son has the same thing. Because he had a traumatic birth, he has been seen by several neurologists -- none of them were concerned about it at all. They basically said it was a ''crossed wire'' in the neurological sense. It's more pronounced when he eats a food that he doesn't have that often, or is new to his diet.

If you're concerned about it, though, definitely point it out to the pediatrician. a rosy cheeked baby too

Slapped Cheek/Face Syndrome?

April 2007

Our son, since infancy, has extremely red blotchy cheeks that looks exactly like children with ''slapped face syndrome''. He also has rashes all over his body, esp legs and arms. However, its never gone away. He's two years old now and his cheeks are always/permanently red and his legs and arms are always full of bumps. He's been like this, continuously, for about a year and half. Sometimes his cheeks are particuarly beet red but they are never not at least very pink. Could he have this syndrome? What could it be? Could it just be nothing?? Jenny

I think your son has a food allergy. Our son, 3.5, has the exact same thing -- red cheeks, bumps, etc. and was diagnosed as having milk allergies almost at birth. Is your child asian? According to our doc, asian kids have a much higher percentage of all of this. Our son is 1/2 chinese and 1/2 caucasian. Buy some Aquaphor, it helps tremendously. yep, been there.

Sounds like keratosis pilaris to me. My daughter's cheeks look like that and that's what she was diagnosed with. Nothing really helps. It seems to be worse in the winter months when it's colder. KP mom

probably keratosis pilaris. he'll grow out of it eventually. we use shea butter twice a day to keep things under control and a little hydrocortisone when it gets inflamed. the shea butter we buy at ashby bart flea market. you only use a little at a time so it lasts forever. the dermatologist also recommend vaseline, but i like the shea better. anon

your son could have something as simple as keratosis pilaris, a minor criteria for eczema or something else. the rashes all over could be full-blown eczema or again, something else. i would definitely get an exam by a dermatologist- i am one, but there are a lot of us out here. do it sooner than later, relief may be easy to obtain, but i'd want some answers too. good luck! paige