Gentlemen, some blush for you

  • By Dr. Neha Agrawal

We all have at least one friend who goes red every time he/she is embarrassed, excited or anxious. That’s blushing.

It is the involuntary coloring (red, pink) of the face because of the emotional state. Some blush more, some blush less. The slightest stimulus will make their cheeks go red.

Blushing is a sign of your emotional state.


Why do we blush?

The mechanism lies in the structure of the blood circulation system of the face. The blood supply is very rich and there are many capillaries (minute blood vessels) in the facial skin. The stimulus (often psychological/emotional), sends the signal to the nervous system and involuntarily the blood vessels dilate. The face being richer in the supply of blood vessels appears red with dilation.

Blushing is considered as one of the visible indicators of our inborn fight and flight mechanism.

Some interesting facts about blushing

  1. While it is the face that goes deep in color when blushing, many people blush on their neck, legs, and arms too.
  2. Can be seen in any gender, at any age and in all colors of the skin. If your skin tone is light in colour, the blushing will be more apparent than others.
  3. The blush may not come alone. It may bring some rapid heartbeats and a little sweating with it.
  4. It may become excessive and can reflect as a sign of underlying social phobia in the person.

“What is the evolutionary value of blushing? It seems not to be to our advantage to do it, to involuntarily reveal our inner emotions.” – Frans de Waal


Do you fear blushing?

You are an erythrophobic if you fear blushing. The term for this fear is Erythrophobia. It is more common in adults than in children. It is often seen when the symptom of blushing is more than the commonly seen range. Some consider that the fear of blushing stems from a larger fear category – that of social phobias. There are multiple therapies for this condition, behavioral as well as medical interventions. They also complain of additional symptoms like palpitations, perspiration, headache, lightheadedness, etc.


How to handle excessive blushing

  1. Relax and take a deep breath: We blush in a moment of anxiety. Relaxation will take away the anxious thoughts.
  2. Address it: Don’t try to hide it or fret internally. Just say, ‘Oh look, how red I go!’ That will diffuse the awkwardness and blushing goes away.
  3. Stretch it out: Try stretching your arms and legs.
  4. Relaxation exercises: These will help you calm your mind and can facilitate better stress management, thereby reducing anxious reactions to awkward situations.

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