Flushed Face

An increased blood flow to the face that causes the face to suddenly become red is known as facial flushing. The face may also feel warm or hot, and in some cases the person's neck and chest may also become red. It can occur when a person is angry or embarrassed, but it can also be symptomatic of some serious conditions, so it is important to call your doctor if the flushing is persistent, especially when it is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea.

Causes of Flushed Face

There are many different causes of flushing in the face besides emotion; it can also happen as the result of an allergic reaction or other things, as discussed below.

Extreme Emotions

Flushing of the face can be caused by a variety of emotions, such as anger, fear, embarrassment, excitement, lust or any other emotion that gets our fight or flight response going. The fight or flight response occurs when our "blood gets pumping". The adrenaline secreted because of those extreme emotions dilates the blood vessels and the heart rate increases. Flushing occurs when the blood is directed up towards the brain and the face.

In order to reverse this flushing, calm down and concentrate on your breathing. If the breathing gets under control this will lower the heart rate and allow the blood to pump with less force to the face.


Our bodies will rush blood to our internal organs to protect them and keep them warm, when we get very cold, which makes our face go blue. Conversely, flushing occurs when you become hot.

The face can also get red, especially when heavy winds are present.

What you should do is to take care of the temperature. Prevent your body from going to hot, and wrap yourself up in a warm scarf when walking in coldly windy weather.


Flushing in the face can also result from allergic reactions to certain foods, medications, lotions or cream, and detergents. A histamine reaction, which rushes blood to the area where the allergy is, occurs when the body is having an allergic reaction to fight off the toxic substance.


The heart rate and blood pressure are increased as a result of strenuous exercise. When exercising, the blood also circulates faster because the body needs more oxygen and the muscles need more glucose. This causes facial flushing.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is a depressant and it dilates the blood vessels to cause flushing. Other ingredients such as congeners in alcohol make the flushing more serious.

Be sure to take drink moderately.

Hormone Changes

Flushing in the face can be caused by a range of hormone changes. During pregnancy and menopause, the woman's body often gets excessively hot, which is referred to as ‘hot flashes' and these can result in flushing in the face.

Hormone replacement therapies are helpful in treating these conditions.

High Blood Pressure

Chronic flushing of the face can also result from high blood pressure with the heart pumping harder and blood forced closer to your skin. The causes of high blood pressure include fatty deposits of cholesterol which clog the blood vessels and a number of other physical disorders.


Chronic flushing in the face is also caused by obesity which leads to poor circulation, high blood pressure and an increase in the heart rate.

Try exercising persistently and at the same time keep a fiber-rich and low-fat diet.

Drug Side Effects

The side effects of many drugs, such as vasodilators, calcium channel blockers, morphine, systematic steroids, thyroid releasing hormones, ciclosporin, tamoxifen, cholinergic drugs, cyproterone acetate, can lead to facial flushing.

Carcinoid Syndrome

Carcinoid tumors can increase serotonin release and several other chemicals which cause the blood vessels to dilate. Carcinoid Syndrome in the lungs, appendix, colon, liver and small intestine can shows a combination of symptoms including bright red facial flushing, wheezing, skin lesions on the face (telangiectasis), low blood pressure, diarrhea and heart palpitations. The flushing can worsen with exertion and consuming things, such as red wine, chocolate or blue cheese.

This disorder can be permanently corrected with the surgical removal of the tumor.

If you suffer from carcinoid syndrome, please avoid alcohol, large meals, as well as tyramine-high foods, such as aged cheeses and avocado, because they may trigger symptoms.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil), may increase levels of serotonin, which makes symptoms worse.

Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing's syndrome, a hormone disorder, disrupts the body's ability to manage infections and stress. Cushing's syndrome often indicates skin changes and progressive obesity, such as:

  • fatty tissue deposits and weight gain
  • fragile , thinning skin that bruises easily
  • Slow healing of cuts, infections and insect bites
  • Acne
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased libido
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability, depression and anxiety
  • Headache
  • Bone loss

If you're currently taking corticosteroid medications and experience symptoms that may indicate Cushing syndrome, call your doctor immediately.

Treatment of this syndrome depends highly on the cause of the syndrome. A doctor will know which treatment will be most effective. Some treatments include the surgical removal of a tumor, surgical removal of part or all of the adrenal glands, radiation therapy for persistent tumors and cortisone type drugs.


This chronic condition is characterized by facial erythema, which is redness of the skin, and sometimes pimples. This redness appears on the person's nose and cheeks and there is damage to the blood vessels in the face, which then increases the blood flow in that region. People between 30 and 60 are more prone to the condition.

This disorder is treated with non-comedogenic moisturizers, which are oil free and do not block the pores in the face or cause any type of irritation. Some ointments and creams containing metronidazole and clindamyacin antibiotics are also used for rosacea.

Herbs such as burdock root and licorice are proved beneficial to relieve rosacea. You should also keep away from beverages and spicy hot foods to prevent the symptoms from worsening.

How to Deal with Flushed Face

There are several ways to manage flushing of the face that is embarrassing to you.

  • Using relaxation techniques and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce your heart rate, which is a common cause of flushing in the face.
  • If this does not work, use a foundation or even a spray tan can help.
  • If the cause of the flushing is due to an anxiety or shyness, there are some options for you, including self-hypnosis, meditation, diaphragmatic breathing and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Carrying a hand held fan and cold water can help to cool you down.
  • Understanding why you blush can help you to stop yourself from blushing. If serious cases like cushing's syndrome or rosacea is the cause of your face flushing, then a doctor can prescribe you medication to help with the flushing.
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