Why We Blush

Blushing is a genuine and spontaneous response, and while it may make us feel self-conscious, it’s likely we’ve all experienced it at some point. Curiously, this reaction is also unique to humans.

With that in mind, 5-Minute Crafts did some research on this phenomenon to bring you an explanation.

1. What blushing is

Blushing is a normal phenomenon that happens when your face, mainly your cheeks (but it can also happen on the ears, neck, and chest), turn red or pink under certain circumstances. It’s a natural response triggered by something called the sympathetic nervous system. People who are easily stressed or have social anxiety may tend to blush more than others.

2. Why it happens

Blushing happens when the sympathetic nervous system signals the adrenal glands to release a hormone called adrenaline. This hormone affects the nervous system and causes the blood vessels on the skin to dilate, that is, get wider, increasing blood flow and leading to redness. It’s usually temporary, so your skin will quickly return to normal.

3. What can trigger it

Here’s a list of causes that can make you blush:

  • Emotions and feelings like stress, anger, embarrassment, and anxiety
  • Alcoholic beverages, in particular, red wine
  • A fever
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks, like coffee or tea
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Menopause
  • An underlying skin condition, such as rosacea

4. How to manage it

Even though blushing is hard to control once it starts, there are a few things you can try:

  • You can perform breathing exercises to help you relax.
  • Adjust the temperature, move to a cooler area, turn on the air conditioning, or remove some layers of clothing.
  • Drink cold water to cool down.
  • Use a green color corrector to camouflage redness.
  • Avoid triggers.
  • Tell yourself blushing is normal, and stay calm.
  • Avoid eye contact.
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