What is Blushing, Its Causes, and How to Treat It?

Rohit Kushwah

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Do you know that feeling when your cheeks suddenly become flushed? Have you ever wondered why it occurs and if there is anything that can be done? It could be due to blushing, a temporary skin condition that can develop due to diverse causes. It happens when capillaries close to the surface of the skin swell, causing over-flowing of blood and reddening

In this blog, we will learn more about blushing, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Blushing Causes

Blushing stems from various factors involved in the body’s physiological reactions:

  • Strong Emotions: Stress, anger, and embarrassment are powerful feelings that prompt the blood vessels in our face to expand. This is a nervous system response, perhaps even more dramatic for people with anxiety tendencies.
  • Menopause: Hot flashes can be caused by changes in the brain’s temperature regulation system triggered by hormonal fluctuations that result from menopause.
  • Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis): Though eczema looks like blushing, it is not due to dilated blood vessels. It appears as an angry rash usually found in babies and does not come up suddenly, like blushing.
  • Alcohol Intolerance: Some people have a weak liver that is genetically less efficient at metabolizing alcohol, resulting in red scars on the face as toxins accumulate.
  • Drugs: Medications such as calcium channel blockers and chemotherapy medicines relax blood vessels, leading to facial flushing. Sunlight or using steroid creams to treat psoriasis may cause skin reactions and facial blushing.

Blushing Symptoms

  • Visible small blood vessels beneath the skin give a red, consistent blush.
  • Spots appear on the skin.
  • Hot flushes, usually accompanied by night sweats.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Low mood and low sex drive.
  • Sweating in excess, particularly around armpits, hands, feet, face, and groin.
  • Swelling in the neck.
  • Feelings of anxiety and irritability.
  • Mood swings.
  • Difficulty in sleeping and persistent tiredness.

Blushing Treatment

  • Beta-Blockers: Blocking the effects of adrenaline will reduce anxiety-related symptoms, such as blushing and palpitations while controlling dilation in blood vessels.
  • Clonidine: Used to treat uncontrollable facial blushing, it changes the body’s sensitivity to noradrenaline and blood vessel dilation.
  • Botox Injections: It temporarily paralyzes facial nerves, which cause blushing, inhibiting their function for six months.
  • Laser Treatment: Vascular lasers also eliminate surface blood vessels, resolving facial flushing and improving the complexion by removing prominent veins.
  • Surgery (ETS): Cutting or clamping sympathetic nerves has been used as a last resort for severe blushing. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy offers long-term success with an effective rate of 90%.
  • Psychological Therapies: Treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) use breathing exercises and confrontations of fear, guided by a professional, for effectiveness against involuntary blushing caused by social phobia.


Blushing, which is more or less automatic and normal when it happens as a reaction to emotional stimuli, becomes a problem for people who blush too frequently or violently. If the causes of blushing can be understood, treatment is just a little behind. Whether through psychological therapy, drugs, or topical medications, people lessen the impact of blushing. Seeking specialized treatment from healthcare professionals can offer individualized solutions to people’s concerns.

Rohit Kushwah


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