What are Treatments for Blushing?

Garry Crystal

Blushing is an involuntary response that occurs under certain conditions. The face may flush red or become covered in red patches and blotches. Blushing is a very common complaint and can be the cause of great anxiety, especially in social situations. Many people grow out of blushing, but in some extreme cases, treatment is necessary.

Blushing may be the result of feelings of embarrassment.
Blushing may be the result of feelings of embarrassment.

The treatment recommended for blushing will depend on the cause behind the condition. This reaction can occur as an emotional response to certain situations. If someone feels guilty, nervous or embarrassed, then a red flush across the face and chest may appear. Other symptoms that may accompany the facial flushing include a feeling of overall heat and sweating on the palms of the hands or the face.

Menopausal women may experience frequent blushing in the form of hot flashes.
Menopausal women may experience frequent blushing in the form of hot flashes.

Apart from emotional considerations, there are other factors that may cause frequent blushing. Menopausal women may suffer from frequent blushing, often referred to as hot flashes. There are also certain drugs and medicines that can cause the condition.

Eating spicy foods may cause someone to blush.
Eating spicy foods may cause someone to blush.

Ingesting spicy foods or taking exercise can also cause blushing. When the body is hot, the blood vessels open wider in an attempt to cool the body, allowing more blood to flow to the skin’s surface. Social phobia is also a very common cause of severe flushing.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may help people feel more comfortable in social situations, which in turn could lead to less blushing.
Cognitive behavioral therapy may help people feel more comfortable in social situations, which in turn could lead to less blushing.

Facial flushing caused by psychological factors has a number of treatment options. Cognitive behavioral therapy can change the way people think in social situations. Breathing exercises are often successful in helping people to relax when they feel anxious in certain situations. Other treatments include placing sufferers in situations where they must confront and overcome their fears.

One of the most common reasons for this reaction is anxiety, and there are a number of drugs available that can be used to treat anxiety. Beta-blockers are commonly used to treat heart palpitations and to decrease anxiety. Another drug, Clonidine, works by suppressing the dilation of the blood vessels. These drugs are helpful, but they do not eradicate the underlying reasons behind the condition. They may only be a short-term solution.

If the facial flushing is severe enough, doctors may advise a surgical treatment called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). During the ETS procedure, certain nerves that control blood flow to the face are cut. Recent reports have shown this to be a very popular operation with professional people in high profile jobs. For professionals who fear that frequent blushing is ruining their chances of promotion, the solution may be a quick and painless ETS.

Medication may help treat anxiety that causes blushing.
Medication may help treat anxiety that causes blushing.

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Discussion Comments

jimmyjjohn

I've been blushing excessively for the last two years, even when I am not embarrassed or when I am alone, too. It started due to a very embarrassing encounter when I was with my friends. Funny thing is I don't know how to stop blushing around strangers. It happens when I am with people I know. But after reading through your tips, I think I know the problem. I will definitely try out your tips. Thanks!

honeybees

I know there are products and creams that are sold to help with blushing, but I wonder if there are really any blushing cures.

I had a friend who was considering some type of hypnosis to help with her blushing. She knew of someone who tried hypnosis and said it worked for them, so that is why she was interested in trying it.

I blush fairly easily - especially if I am embarrassed or eat some spicy food. Even though I don't like to blush, I don't know if I would go to the extreme of hypnosis to get rid of it.

I figure most people have probably been in embarrassing situations in their lifetime, and blushing is a normal reaction.

Mykol

It seems like when I am in a situation where I am embarrassed about something, the harder I try not to blush, the more I do!

I can feel the blood rushing to my face and know it is getting red. I wish I could find some kind of facial blushing treatment that would really work.

I have tried just telling myself that I am not going to get embarrassed and turn all red, but that never seems to work.

I am always frustrated when I am around other people who are in the same situation and they handle it without turning red and their face looking like a tomato.

live2shop

@Clairdelune - I don't know the answer to your question, for sure. But I have noticed that many people who blush have fair skin, so it makes sense that when they are anxious, the blood rushing to their face would show up more.

I've also heard that those who blush have capillaries that are closer to the skin - I don't know if that is scientifically true.

It's really a bummer that you blush because you are anxious, scared, or embarrassed, and then you become more anxious because the blushing is a sign to everyone that you are anxious. Then you starts blushing more. Many signs of anxiety can be hidden from others, but not blushing!

Clairdelune

There's plenty of people who have or have had a blushing problem. I had this problem growing up as did many other kids. It seemed, though, that even though some of my friends said that were so scared and nervous about speaking in front of class or other anxious moments, but they didn't show a blush. I always wondered why.

I most often blushed when I had to speak in front of the class. I would get so red and my cheeks would just burn. I could hardly concentrate on my speech.

I finally outgrew it when I started teaching and had to speak in front of people everyday. I would still blush occasionally when I made a mistake and all eyes were on me!

manykitties2

Knowing how to stop blushing is a big confidence booster. I think a lot of people feel that excessive blushing makes it hard for them to be in social situations. For myself, I always flushed easily and overcoming blushing seemed like a nearly impossible task.

Cognitive behavioral therapy really helped me overcome the emotional issues I had that made it hard for me to interact with other people. I went to my doctor first and he assured me that blushing surgery just wasn't for me. With a good therapist though I have made huge progress. It is a relief to be able to interact with other people without so much stress.

animegal

When I was younger I always wished I could stop blushing so much as I found it attracted the wrong kind of attention. My friends thought it was funny to provoke my anxiety blushing, so they would always tease me and try and make me do embarrassing things. I suppose a lot of kids do stuff like that but it didn't make it anymore pleasant.

Having a blushing problem doesn't seem as severe as other disorders, but it can still adversely effect your life. My blushing problem went away with a bit of help from my doctor. When I got medication for my anxiety it seemed like the blushing went away on its own.

Oceana

After high school, I got tired of being shy. I had let my blushing hold me back for too long, and I was ready to tackle it.

I reasoned that the best way to do that would be to put myself in forward situations that I normally would avoid. I started introducing myself to people and striking up conversations. I volunteered to speak first in class, and I even flirted a bit at times. These were all things I never would have dreamed I could do before.

Oh, I blushed plenty for the first few weeks of my self-treatment. After that, it started to go away. My experiment became a new way of life for me, and it was much more fulfilling one.

seag47

I blushed so much in high school that I stopped talking to people other than my best friends. It’s funny how an outward sign of embarrassment can bring on more embarrassment than the original cause of it!

I noticed that when I blushed, I tended to be taking shallow, rapid breaths. I decided to try and breathe slowly and steadily next time I felt a blush rising to my face.

I tried it, and it worked pretty well. My friend saw a slight tinge of pink in my cheeks, but no one else pointed it out. She said it was a big improvement over my usual degree of blushing.

ddljohn

@burcidi-- My sister had ETS done two years ago and she's happy with the results. Something that you've got to understand is that ETS doesn't get rid of all blushing. My sister still blushes from time to time, but not as often and not spontaneously. Before, she was pretty much in the same situation as you and would blush for no reason and that doesn't happen anymore. But if she stresses about something for a couple of days or goes on a date, she still blushes.

I think my sister is happy with the surgery because she knew what the results would be and she didn't expect for the blushing to go away completely. She also doesn't sweat on her face anymore, so there are some physical changes one has to know and get used to in addition to risks of undergoing surgery in general.

burcidi

I've been considering getting ETS surgery but I've read a lot of feedback on different forums from people who've had it and they've listed so many different side effects, some of which sound really scary.

I did not have much problem with blushing until several years ago when it seemed to start out of the blue and I began to blush all the time, for no apparent reason. Now it's developed into phobia and I'm scared that it's going to effect my work life. I'm going to be graduating from college this year and I'm scared about going for interviews and being rejected because of my blushing.

I thought that ETS would be my solution but having read about the risks and side effects, I'm not so sure anymore. I also think that therapy, beta-blockers and ointments might be a better route to take.

I've recently discovered that hemorrhoid creams are very effective for blushing because it constricts the blood vessels. I apply it on my cheeks before going out and I have noticed that the redness is less.

ysmina

My blushing has to do with with my personality. I have an inward personality and I'm not very social. So when I end up among a lot of people, or if I have to speak in front of people, I get really nervous and blush.

I became self-conscience about blushing when I was young and I think that has made it worse because knowing that I'm going to blush or that I am blushing right then and there makes me even more anxious and upset. So it's easy for it turn into a cycle and the only way to escape it is to avoid people and head home.

I'm taking an anxiety medicine for it which has helped a little bit, but not enough. I feel like until I accept my blushing and come to terms with it, it's going to become worse and worse. I'll be starting therapy sessions next week and I think that's the best way to get to the core of this problem.

Meanwhile, I apply foundation and concealer on my face everyday. I noticed that my blushing is not as noticeable when I wear foundation and that makes me feel a lot better. It's not a treatment but something that helps while I work on it.

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