If you have been wondering about what causes blushing, then you are not alone. For a very long time, it has been a question that has puzzled so many just like you who wonder why their face suddenly turn red when they are embarrassed, in a stressful situation or just for any reason at all.
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In normal cases, blushing occurs when the part of the nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by a strong emotional trigger. The redness in the face is produced as a result of increased blood flow to the face due to the widening of facial blood vessels this is exactly what causes blushing.
However, it is possible for blushing to occur quite abnormally in very usual situations and more frequently than normal. The cause of this can vary from medical reasons to psychological causes.
What causes Blushing- psychological causes
Blushing could occur as a result of an excessive and persistent fear of social situations which is generally referred to as social anxiety disorder or social phobia. People with social phobia usually find themselves blushing when in social gatherings, when at the center of attraction or just in the company of other people. This affects their social behavior and may make them avoid going out with friends, colleagues, and family entirely.
A more severe cause is what is known as the Generalized anxiety disorder. In this case, the individual becomes anxious and turns red at the slightest provocation in almost about every situation with no obvious reason at all. In cases of Generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia, the case of blushing is worsened by an irrational fear of blushing known as Erythrophobia. People with Erythrophobia are often worried about blushing when in social gatherings or when interacting with people and this triggers a stressful emotional response, self-consciousness, and embarrassment that cause them to blush even more.
What causes Blushing – Medical conditions
Asides these psychological conditions, other medical conditions that could lead to blushing includes:
Rosacea: this is a skin disease which commonly affects the skin of the face. Very little is known about the causes of this condition or the possible cure for it.
Mastocytosis: this is another rare skin condition which occurs as a result increased number of mast cells in the face. This causes excessive levels of histamine a hormone produced in response to allergens which causes the facial blood vessels to expand leading to Blush-like redness.
Menopause could also be responsible for excessive blushing. This usually occurs in women between the ages of 45 to 55 years.
Carcinoid syndrome: also known as Carcinoid tumor, it is a rare type of cancer which usually prevents the body from producing some hormones.
Excessive sweating has also been associated with blushing this is known as hyperhidrosis.
In addition to these medical conditions, blushing could also be caused by some medications such as Taximofen which is a common drug used by breast cancer patients. Other common drugs which could trigger excessive blushing include Calcitonin: a drug usually used in treating various bone disorders like Osteoporosis, Calcium channel blockers- which is used by patients suffering from high blood pressure.
Other notable drugs that are believed to trigger excessive blushing are triptorelin, goserelin, buserelin and leuprorelin which are also common cancer drugs and glyceryl trinitrate used in treating angina.
What causes blushing- other causes
Apart from the emotional triggers or medical condition that can cause blushing, certain substances such as alcohol, eating hot spicy food and drinks can also trigger mild but temporary cases of blushing. Sudden temperature spikes whether hot or cold could also lead to redness in the face. Fever is another possible cause as well as strenuous exercises which cause body temperature to rise to abnormal levels.
All these causes are however temporary and blushing is usually limited to the time when the associated activity is being carried out or when the particular food which is causing blushing is being ingested.
While blushing is often normal and most people blush when in an embarrassing situation, blushing can also be a serious problem which affects the quality of life of those who suffer from severe and excessive blushing. The severity of blushing depends usually on the underlying factors and what causes blushing.