Facial blushing or erythrophobia is a sudden
reddening of the face that occurs spontaneously or in response to
stressful stimuli. Facial blushing can extend to the neck, forehead,
ears and the upper chest.
Facial blushing is seen as a glowing red face that develops quickly
but fades slowly. Facial blushing can make one stand out in a crowd
and attract attention. Patients may also feel facial heat
prior to the onset of facial blush. This is described as a feeling
of burning, tingling or hot flush. Facial blushing is an inherited
condition affecting many people.
Facial blushing may occur alone or may be a part of excessive sweating
syndrome and hyperhidrosis. The most common form of this is a combination
of facial blushing and facial sweating or excessive hand sweating
also known as palmar hyperhidrosis.
Facial blushing is caused
by over activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This is part
of the involuntary central nervous system. Therefore it is not possible
to control or stop it voluntarily. This makes facial blushing unpredictable.
It can happen even when alone, watching TV or talking on the phone.
However facial blushing is mostly associated with public interactions.
Public speaking can especially induce facial blushing.
Unfortunately, others can misinterpret facial blushing as a sign
of sickness or embarrassment. This in turn can cause the person
to avoid social contacts and situations that would stimulate blushing.
People who suffer from facial blushing are constantly aware of this
problem and have difficulty concentrating.
Facial blushing has enormous social ramifications limiting ones
ability to succeed in life. These people become self-conscious and
develop a low self-esteem. This could affect every aspect of their
lives including career goals, academic achievements and social life.
In severe cases, facial blushing may cause social anxiety syndrome
(SAD), social phobias, and depression or drug dependency. This could
severely affect one’s ability to deal with life’s daily
Many forms of therapy are available
to treat facial blushing. These include medications, psychotherapy
and surgical treatment with sympathectomy. People with a sudden
onset of blushing respond better to sympathectomy.