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How To Stop Blushing - Tips For Controlling Excessive Blushing

Updated on September 2, 2009

Blushing is very common – just about everybody has experienced it in situations where they feel embarrassed or self-conscious for some reason. A blushing person experiences an increased flow of blood to the surface of the skin on the face, as the large number of blood vessels in this area dilate, causing redness and heat. It is related to flushing, which is similar, but affects other parts of the body, not just the face. The causes of blushing and flushing aren't fully understood, but they're most commonly related to feelings of anxiety, embarrassment, shame and similar emotions. In most people, blushing is a temporary and not too frequent occurrence, but in some, who suffer from excessive blushing, it may be prolonged, or may happen exceedingly frequently – such as in most social interactions. Sometimes the blushing is related to the situation – some people, for example, blush heavily when around people they find sexually attractive, but are fine with everyone else. In others, the blushing is more widespread throughout their lives.

Do You Really Have A Blushing Problem?

While no-one particularly likes to blush, it's important to realise that it's a totally normal and very common reaction, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Some people even find it attractive! So nobody should feel that there is something wrong with them just because they have a tendency to go red in the face sometimes. However, some individuals suffer from very severe blushing, and some are diagnosed with a condition called idiopathic craniofacial erythema, which is characterised by strong and uncontrollable facial blushing, as well as excess sweating. But if your blushing feels excessive or is adversely affecting your life, then there are steps you can take to get it under control. Different solutions work for different people, so it might be necessary to experiment a little to find the right blushing cure for you.

Ways To Control and Stop Blushing

See your doctor - first of all, if you have a severe blushing problem, you should visit your doctor to find out if the problem could have a physiological cause. Not all blushing is psychological, and it's important to rule out any underlying disorder that could be responsible. In some cases for example, blushing can be a precursor to the development of rosacea, a skin condition characterised by redness of the face. Also, people whose quality of life is being severely affected by blushing sometimes benefit from professional psychological help, such as in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been successful for many people suffering from pathological blushing. As a last resort, there is a surgical procedure available called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, which involves severing part of the autonomic nervous system, which controls blushing, along with many other vital bodily functions. However, this procedure carries the risk of severe side effects, and is probably not the best solution for the vast majority of people.

Build your confidence – blushing can be devastating to an individual's self-confidence, particularly if others taunt them about it. Conversely, confident individuals are less likely to experience the social anxiety that generally accompanies blushing, and if they do blush, are less likely to be so concerned about it. So take whatever steps you can to boost your confidence and self-esteem. Some people might benefit from seeking professional help, but there are also many good books on the topic that might be of use.

Expose yourself to more social situations – habitual blushers may come to avoid socialising (especially around strangers), as they feel self-conscious about going red in the face. However this, while understandable, can make the problem worse, as you become increasingly unused to dealing with people, and more anxious while around them. Forcing yourself to get out and interact regularly can help – familiarity can help to remove some of the fear associated with socialising, and gives you the chance to practice maintaining emotional control, even in stressful situations.

Keep a 'blushing journal' – try keeping a daily diary which records your blushing episodes, as well as anything else that was going on at the time. Sometimes it's not always obvious what triggers blushing, but patterns can become clear when recorded and looked back at later.

Deep breathing – can help to control the anxiety which is generally related to blushing. Try it in situations where you feel anxious.

Meditation – is another technique which can help to bring anxiety under control. Practice meditating daily for 10-20 minutes.

Self-hypnosis & hypnotherapy – hypnosis and self-hypnosis have also helped many people to reduce blushing. Several sessions or more may be needed to see definite results, although this is not always the case. Be sure to seek out a qualified hypnotherapist, or, alternatively, you can purchase specially-recorded CDs or MP3s to use in self-hypnosis sessions at home.

Check your diet - certain foods can contribute to blushing in some people. These include hot and spicy foods (hot peppers, cayenne, salsa, curry etc). Caffeine can also make blushing worse, as it has a dehydrating effect, as does alcohol. You should also drink plenty of water, to ensure that lack of hydration isn't making your blushing worse than it needs to be. 

If you really want to stop blushing, give some or all of these tips a try, and don't despair if you don't see results straight away – for most people with a blushing problem, it is an ingrained response that has been around for years – often dating back to childhood, so it may take a while to create a new set of responses to replace it. But many people have learned to stop blushing, and there's no reason why you can't be one of them.


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