Condition: Facial flushing and redness

Flushing and blushing are common skin responses to heat and emotion.

What is facial flushing and redness?

Facial flushing and blushing results from a sudden increase in blood flow to the surface of the skin, often in reaction to emotion or heat. It is a common response to heat and emotion.

Anyone can experience facial flushing and redness but it’s more common in those who have anxiety or are easily embarrassed. Redness is more noticeable in those with lighter skin, while those with darker skin may notice discoloration or darkening of the skin.


What causes facial flushing and redness?

Flushing and redness happens when the blood flow in the face increases and the blood vessels below the surface of the skin expand.

Often, this is a physical reaction to feelings of anxiety, stress, embarrassment, anger or excitement.

It can also be caused by certain medical conditions such as:

Other factors that may cause flushing are:

  • Heat exposure or rapid changes in temperature
  • Eating hot or spicy foods
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain medicines used to treat diabetes and high cholesterol
  • Exercising

What are the symptoms of facial flushing and redness?

In some cases, flushing and redness across the face, neck and chest, is also accompanied by feelings of overheating and sweating.

An assessment of medical history and a physical exam can help determine the cause of flushing and redness, and diagnose any medical condition that might be at the root of the problem.


What are the treatment options for facial flushing and redness?

In the short term, applying a cold compress to the skin and having a cool drink can help bring down redness.

Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or relaxation techniques like breathing exercises can help in cases that are driven by emotional factors.

Medicines can also be prescribed to reduce anxiety and address any underlying conditions that are causing the flushing and redness.

Avoiding triggers such as hot and spicy foods, hot beverages and alcohol may also help.

In some cases, laser treatment can be used to destroy the small blood vessels at the surface of the skin to help reduce redness long-term.