What is blushing
Mental health

What is Blushing And How To Control It: A Helpful Guide | The Fair Flow

Do you ever feel your face turn red when you're embarrassed, shy, or anxious? This reddening of the face is called blushing, and it's a common physical reaction to emotional stress. Blushing occurs when the blood vessels in your face dilate, allowing more blood to flow to the surface of your skin, which causes your face to appear red or flushed.

Blushing is a natural response that happens without us even thinking about it. It's controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's automatic responses to stress. 

In this article, we'll cover the science behind blushing and provide practical tips to help you control it.

What is Blushing?

Blushing is when your face turns red, usually because you're feeling embarrassed, shy, or nervous. It's a normal physiological response that happens when the blood vessels in your facial area dilate, allowing more blood to flow to the surface of your skin. This increased blood flow causes your cheeks, forehead, ears, neck, and upper chest to turn red.

Blushing occurs because of dilatation of the facial blood vessels, which are very close to the surface of your skin. When you feel embarrassed or nervous, your body releases adrenaline, which causes your blood vessels to dilate. This allows more blood to flow to your facial area, making your face turn red.

Blushing is a natural response that happens to almost everyone at some point in their lives. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it's not a sign of weakness. In fact, blushing can be a sign that you're a caring and empathetic person, as it shows that you're aware of how others perceive you.

Causes of Blushing

Blushing can happen to anyone, and there are several reasons why it occurs. In this section, we'll explore the physical and psychological causes of blushing.

Physical Causes

Blushing can be caused by an overactive sympathetic nervous system, it is a part of your body's "fight-or-flight" mechanism. When your body is in an emergency, it responds by directing all its energy to your muscles. To do this, your heart rate and breathing increase, delivering as much oxygen as possible to your muscles and organs. Blushing is one way your body's response system works to keep you safe in times of danger. 

Psychological Causes

Blushing can also be caused by emotional stress. When the body is under stress and feeling anxious, it releases adrenaline, which can cause your blood vessels to dilate and your face to turn red. Social anxiety disorder, in particular, is a condition that causes intense fear of social situations. People with this disorder may blush excessively in social situations, which can be embarrassing and lead to more anxiety.

Symptoms of Blushing

Severe blushing can cause symptoms such as:

  • Facial blushing: The most common symptom of blushing is facial redness or pinkness. Your cheeks, forehead, and neck may turn red or pink. The redness may be mild or severe and may last for a few seconds to several minutes.
  • Severe facial blushing: In some cases, blushing can be severe and may cause intense redness, heat sensation in the face, and sweating. This type of blushing can occur for no apparent reason and may be triggered by social anxiety or other psychological disorders.
  • Other physical symptoms: Blushing may also cause other physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, and nausea. These symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on the severity of the blushing.

Symptoms of Blushing

Treatments for Blushing

If you experience blushing, and it is causing you distress, there are several treatments available that can help you manage this condition. Here are some self-help strategies, medical treatments, and therapies that you can consider:

Self-Help Strategies

You can manage your blushing by using several self-help strategies. These strategies include:

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great technique that can help prevent blushing. It involves paying attention to the present moment and accepting your feelings without judgment. When you feel a blush coming on, take a deep breath, and focus on your surroundings. Acknowledge the blushing sensation and remind yourself that it is a normal bodily response. This can help you remain calm and reduce the intensity of the blush.

Building up Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can contribute to blushing. Therefore, it is important to build your self-confidence and self-worth. Engage in activities that you enjoy and give yourself credit for your accomplishments. Affirm yourself regularly and remind yourself of your strengths. When you feel confident in yourself, you will be less likely to blush.

Learning Relaxation Techniques

Stress is one of the leading causes of blushing. Therefore, it is essential to learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation. Relaxation techniques can help you manage your stress levels, which will reduce the likelihood of blushing.

Using Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk is another effective technique to avoid blushing. When you feel anxious or self-conscious, it is easy to engage in negative self-talk, which can intensify blushing. Instead, use positive self-talk to reinforce your confidence and reduce anxiety. Tell yourself, "I am confident," "I am composed," "I am in control." This will help you feel more comfortable in social situations.


Therapies to help treat facial blushing are:

Cognitive therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to blushing.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy can help you gradually confront anxiety-inducing situations to desensitize yourself to blushing triggers.


Hypnotherapy is a therapy that involves inducing a trance-like state through relaxation techniques. It can help reduce the intensity of blushing by desensitizing yourself to triggers and allowing you to relax.

Stress therapy

Stress management therapies can help you manage your stress levels and reduce the likelihood of blushing. 

Medical Treatments

If self-help strategies and therapy are not effective, you may want to consider medical options to treat uncontrollable facial blushing:

  • Oral medications, such as beta-blockers, may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce blushing and heart palpitations.
  • Botox injections may be used to paralyze the muscles in your face that are responsible for blushing. This prevents the dilation of blood vessels and the resultant reddening of the skin.
  • Ibuprofen gel, applied to the skin, can reduce inflammation and blushing.*
  • Surgery, such as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, can be performed to sever the nerves that cause blushing.**

Blushing and Social Anxiety

Blushing and Social Anxiety

Blushing is a natural response to certain emotions. However, for some people, blushing can become a more significant issue when it is connected to social anxiety.

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is an excessive and irrational fear of social situations that can cause a person to become intensely self-conscious. It can lead to feelings of embarrassment, shame, and discomfort in social settings, which may further contribute to blushing. People with social anxiety are often afraid of being judged or evaluated negatively by others. This fear can cause them to avoid social situations altogether, which can have a significant impact on their daily life.

Social Anxiety Symptoms

Social anxiety can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Intense fear or anxiety in social situations
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Sweating, trembling, or blushing
  • Negative thoughts about oneself
  • Difficulty making eye contact or speaking

Blushing and Social Anxiety

For some people with social anxiety, blushing can be an uncontrollable symptom that can make social situations even more challenging. People with social anxiety may become anxious about blushing, which can cause them to blush even more. This can create a cycle of anxiety and blushing that can be difficult to break.

Excessive sweating can also be a symptom of social anxiety, which can further exacerbate the issue of blushing. People with social anxiety may become self-conscious about their sweating, which can lead to even more anxiety and blushing.

When intense fear or anxiety in social situations are causing severe blushing, it is essential to seek help. This can be done through therapy, medications, or both. Working with a mental health professional can help you identify the sources of your anxiety and develop strategies to cope with it. Consider also looking into THE SHYNESS AND SOCIAL ANXIETY SYSTEM. It's a tried-and-true solution that has already assisted numerous people in comparable circumstances.


Blushing is our body's way of responding to (emotional) stress. It happens because the blood vessels in our face dilate, causing a reddish hue. Even though we can't control it, we can take some steps to manage it. Simple self-help strategies like taking deep breaths and using relaxation techniques can come in handy. However, if it becomes severe, seeking professional help from a mental health expert or using medications and therapies can make a significant difference.

*Topical ibuprofen inhibits blushing during embarrassment and facial flushing during aerobic exercise in people with a fear of blushing Peter D Drummond et al.

**Surgical treatment of facial blushing: Patient selection and operative technique (retrospective observational study) Jae Kil Park, MD, PhD et al.