Blushing; 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.
- extremes of emotion
- rapid changes in temperature
- hot or spicy foods
- 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
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?
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.