Blushing & Facial Flushing

Why Do People Blush?

Blushing which is defined as an involuntary reddening of the cheeks is generally a result of feeling strong emotions like stress or embarrassment.  It affects men, women and children equally and can occur in the cheeks, face, neck or chest area.  Given the appropriate stimulus like feeling hot or emotional the nervous system causes our blood vessels to open, which results in blood flooding the skin causing it to redden. 

We can all blush occasionally when we feel foolish or nervous and it’s nothing to worry about as it will disappear within a few minutes.  Blushing can have a positive affect as if a person blushes when they are embarrassment by a wrong doing, they are more likely to be seen as being sincere in their regret.  

Although blushing is a normal reaction to certain situations, some people can feel very self-conscious and uncomfortable if they are prone to blushing.  This can make it worse, as they start to worry and stress about it happening.  Severe blushing is quite common in people who suffer from social anxiety also known as social phobia.

What Can Cause People’s Faces to Redden

Facial redness can be caused by strenuous exercising, consuming hot drinks or spicy foods as well as the following medical conditions:

·      Alcohol consumption can cause a condition known as alcohol intolerance, where a persons liver has difficulty breaking down alcohol, resulting in reddening of the face, neck and chest due to the build-up of toxins in the body

·      Cushing’s Syndrome whilst a relatively rare condition causes the body to produce high amounts of cortisol, resulting in blushing and flushing

·      Dermatitis a skin condition caused by an allergic reaction which results in redness to the affected area

·      Eczema known as atopic dermatitis also causes skin to become inflamed and red

·      Lupus a disorder of the immune system causes inflammation to the nose and cheeks

·      Medications like chemotherapy drugs and steroid creams can cause the skin to look flushed or red

·      Menopausal symptoms often include flushing and redness caused by hot flashes as a result of hormonal changes

·      Rosacea a common skin which condition, which makes the blood vessels in the face swell, which can look like blushing

·      Scarlet Fever usually affects children but adults can catch it and it can make the face look flushed and red

Professional Help

If you suffer from severe blushing you should consult your doctor so that they can rule out any underlying medical reason.  They can prescribe medications for anxiety or stress which might help. In severe cases Botox or laser treatment can be an option and in very extreme cases surgery in the form of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, which has a high success rate but can result in complications.

If there is no underlying medical reason and you believe it may be caused by anxiety or feeling self-conscious, then therapy may be the answer.  CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can be successful in helping you to identify any negative thoughts and behaviours that are the underlying cause of your blushing.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK).  For more free information click above link.