Posted on 05/22/2013 · Posted in Health Information from Affiliated Dentists, Information

“The blush is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”  –Charles Darwin

We’ve all been there: we trip over our own feet, walk into a wall or screen door, stumble over our own words when talking to a secret crush.  Regardless of the socially awkward situation, eventually, almost everyone feels their cheeks and face getting warm with a nice, bright red blush. What exactly IS a blush and why does it happen?  Can one control a blush or make it go away?


Why Do We Blush?

Simply put, a blush begins with some kind of emotion such as anger embarrassment, which causes a release of adrenaline.  This speeds up your breathing and your heart rate but also causes your blood vessels to dilate.  The latter is called vasodilation and it is what causes the blush.  Research has shown that there are many more capillary loops per square millimeter in the face than in the rest of the body, which is why it is most noticeable in our cheeks, foreheads, neck and ears.

Can I Control a Blush?

Unfortunately for us, blushing is an involuntary response, meaning our body does it whether we want it to or not.  However, below are a few tips to hopefully help reduce it:

  • Relax – tension makes a blush worse
  • Call attention to it – many people have found that just saying it out loud has reduced the length of their blush
  • Don’t feel embarrassed! – the more you think about how embarrassing it is to be blushing, the more you will blush
  • Be more social – if the only time you blush is when you’re talking to people, try interacting more to get yourself used to it
  • Visualize it – surprisingly even just thinking about embarrassing moments can cause you to blush…so think about them a whole lot!  The more you confront these situations, the more practice you and your face have at not blushing!

A Blush vs A Flush

So what is the difference between a blush and a flush?

A Blush

As stated before, a blush is a reddening of the cheeks or other facial areas or chest and neck from embarrassment or a socially awkward situation.  It is involuntary and difficult to control.

A Flush

Unlike a blush, a flush is typically due to a medical issue, such as a fever, illness or a skin condition, or can even be caused by exercise or drinking alcohol. Read more about what causes flushing.