Differentiating Types of Blushing

A reddening of the face and neck can stem from both emotional and non-emotional causes. While researching the best course of action to take in controlling the onset of blushing, you should explore the various causes of blushing and discuss possible triggers with a health care professional before deciding on an appropriate treatment.

Emotional blushing

There are many triggers for flushing or blushing that occur because of an emotional reaction. While a certain degree of blushing is a normal response to emotional stimuli, some of us experience extreme blushing during social interactions that others would consider low stress situations. The blushing is uncontrollable and almost always occurs in response to an emotion, usually some form of anxiety. Generally considered symptomatic of a social phobia, treatment often involves various methods of reducing and managing anxiety.

Exercise induced facial redness

Facial vasodilation is caused by exercise or high temperatures. When you exercise, blood vessels in your muscles dilate increasing blood flow. As you engage in exercise your muscles produce metabolic byproducts that leave the muscle cells and cause smaller blood vessels to dilate, this dilation is referred to as vasodilation. The increased blood flow in turn delivers more oxygenated blood to the working muscle. Some people who experience facial reddening during or after exercise may also be experiencing a skin reaction to a product that was previously applied to the skin, such as lotion, that can lead to irritation while sweating.

Menopausal flushing

Menopausal flushing takes place in response to a fall in estrogen concentrations among older women. Occurring in 70-85 percent of women throughout the peri-menopausal stage, the condition is characterized by a reddening of the neck, face and chest that usually last only a few minutes. The condition may occur in association with sweating, palpitations, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Drugs and alcohol

Several types of drugs and alcohol can trigger blushing. Some people lack the needed enzymes to completely metabolize alcohol after consumed leading to a reddening of the face and neck in addition to other symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Among Asian populations, an estimated 50 percent of people suffer from this condition sometimes referred to as "Asian Flush" or "Asian Flushing Syndrome." There is no treatment for alcohol induced blushing.

Dermatological conditions

The most common dermatological condition associated with blushing is rosacea. Rocasea is a chronic skin condition in which capillaries are excessively reactive. Symptoms of rosacea can include facial flushing; redness of the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead; small visible blood vessels on the face; bumps or pimples on the face; and watery eyes. Another dermatological condition that can lead to flushing is carcinoid syndrome. This syndrome is associated with the presence of a tumor and can be characterized by facial flushing, diarrhea, and heart valve abnormalities. Additionally, mastocytosis is a condition associated with certain types of immune system cells, called mast cells. People with mastocytosis experience symptoms, such as flushing of the face and chest, which occur as the result of a release of large amounts of histamine and other chemicals into the blood stream.

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