Alternative names
Skin blushing/flushing; Flushing; Red face


Skin blushing or flushing is a sudden reddening of the face, neck and occasionally, upper chest.

Blushing is a normal response when embarrassed, angry, feeling guilty, or experiencing some other strong emotion.

Flushing of the face may also be associated with certain medical conditions.

Common Causes

  • extremes of emotion  
  • rapid changes in temperature  
  • hot or spicy foods  
  • rosacea  
  • high fever  
  • alcohol abuse or alcohol intolerance  
  • medications such as Diabinese (for diabetics) and niacin (for lowering cholesterol - sometimes contained in high-potency vitamins)  
  • menopause (“hot flush” - due to a drop in estrogen levels)  
  • carcinoid syndrome

Home Care
Eliminate any triggers that you can identify. Try to avoid hot drinks, spicy food, extremes of temperature, and bright sunlight.

Call your health care provider if

  • there is continual and persistent flushing  
  • other symptoms, such as diarrhea, are present

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting your skin blushing/flushing in detail may include:

  • location       o Do you have facial flushing (blushing)?       o Does it affect the whole body?  
  • quality       o Are you having hot flushes?  
  • time pattern       o Do you have flushing attacks?       o How often do you have flushing or blushing?       o Are episodes getting worse?       o Are they getting more frequent?  
  • aggravating factors       o Is it worse after alcohol intake?  
  • other       o What other symptoms are also present?       o Is there diarrhea?       o Is there wheezing?       o Are there hives?       o Is there difficulty breathing?


Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by David A. Scott, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.