What Causes Facial Tingling?

Jacob Queen

Facial tingling is usually caused by problems with nerves in the face. Sometimes the nerves may be pinched or pressured in some way. In some cases, the tingling can even be caused by chemical issues in the body that lead to nervous system malfunctions. Many different factors can cause these kinds of nerve problems, including everything from disease to dietary choices, injuries, and even emotional issues.

Shingles can cause facial tingling, as the rash that appears affects in the skin in a variety of ways.
Shingles can cause facial tingling, as the rash that appears affects in the skin in a variety of ways.

On a mechanical level, there is a particular set of nerves that usually gets the blame when it comes to tingling in the face. The main nerve is called the trigeminal nerve, and it connects the brain to several other facial nerves. If any of these nerves suffer some kind of distress, including pressure from inflammation or any number of other things, facial tingling could potentially develop. For example, if someone were struck in the face, this could cause inflammation and swelling, which could result in facial tingling.

Individuals who have anxiety during a test may experience facial tingling.
Individuals who have anxiety during a test may experience facial tingling.

Sometimes nutrition choices can cause chemical imbalances in the body that can trigger facial tingling. The human nervous system relies on certain aspects of body chemistry to work properly. Nerves are almost like wires in the sense that they pass electrical signals throughout the body. If the chemical environment is imbalanced in some way, nerves can sometimes function incorrectly by either failing to send signals properly or sending signals at inappropriate times, which can lead to tingling sensations.

A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including tingling and shooting pains.
A true panic attack can cause physical symptoms, including tingling and shooting pains.

Shingles is one of the classic causes of facial tingling. It causes a rash to appear on the body that affects the skin in various ways. Prior to the development of the rash, some people may experience a lack of feeling in their faces or total numbness. Nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis can also cause facial tingling, but these will usually affect many other nervous system functions.

Being bitten by a poisonous snake may cause facial tingling and numbness.
Being bitten by a poisonous snake may cause facial tingling and numbness.

Another thing that can trigger facial tingling in some people is anxiety. When people have anxiety attacks, they may experience all sorts of physical symptoms, including everything from difficulty breathing to sweating. Some people also feel strange sensations on their bodies, including tingling and shooting pains. When this happens, it’s usually an emotional problem of some kind, and people may need to reduce their daily stress levels or perhaps take psychiatric medicine.

Facial nerves control facial movements such as smiling.
Facial nerves control facial movements such as smiling.

When doctors treat facial tingling, they generally focus on whatever underlying cause is responsible in the person’s case. Sometimes diagnosis can be difficult, partly because it’s not always easy to see what is causing problems with the nervous system. For this reason, the required testing may be extensive and involve everything from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to blood tests.

A doctor may need to study brain scans to help find the underlying cause of facial tingling.
A doctor may need to study brain scans to help find the underlying cause of facial tingling.
Nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis can cause facial tingling.
Nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis can cause facial tingling.
Facial tingling may be caused by dental issues.
Facial tingling may be caused by dental issues.
Anxiety can trigger facial tingling in some people.
Anxiety can trigger facial tingling in some people.

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Discussion Comments

discographer

Tingling on my lip is the first sign that I'm about to get a cold sore. I've learned to recognize it now. So when I feel the tingling, I take lysine amino acid supplements which prevents the cold sore in its tracks.

donasmrs

@fBoyle-- I believe you. Our nerves are very sensitive.

I used to have facial tingling whenever I had an anxiety attack. I actually had tingling also in my hands, arms, legs and feet. It was because I was hyperventilating and my cells weren't getting enough oxygen. The anxiety would make me feel like I was choking and if I happened to also be crying, it would bring on an attack where I would hyperventilate for fifteen to twenty minutes. The worst attack I had cause facial tingling for about half an hour.

fBoyle

I did no realize how sensitive our facial nerves are until I developed minor nerve pain and tingling because of exposure to strong wind. It sounds crazy but it happened to me. I traveled in an open car with wind blowing in my face the entire time. Soon afterward, I developed a strange pain and tingling on one side of my face. It was so sensitive that I could not touch my face.

My doctor said that because of the exposure to wind, my facial nerves became effective and sensitive. Thankfully, it was a minor problem and it went away by itself. But it sure did scare me. I'm avoiding long exposure to strong wind for this reason.

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