Do your cheeks turn pink or red when you’re stressed or embarrassed? While it’s common for blood to rush to your face when you’re anxious, blushing can make you feel self-conscious. This may make stressful situations even more difficult to get through.
Some people, especially people who have social phobias or other anxiety disorders, tend to blush more than others. Fortunately, if you blush very easily or very severely, there are some things you can do to prevent a blushing spell from coming on.
The key to stopping your blushing on the spot is to slow down and try to relax your body. If you feel major blushing coming on, try these tips.
1. Breathe deeply and slowly
Taking slow, deep breaths can help relax the body enough to slow down or stop blushing. Because blushing occurs when the body is stressed, the key to reducing blushing is to decrease the amount of stress you’re experiencing.
Smiling — even if you’re stressed or embarrassed — may trick your body into believing that it’s less stressed, according to researchers.
In one study, scientists found that people who were made to do a stressful task while smiling had lower heart rates during the stress recovery period after the task. They said they felt better than people who held neutral faces during the task.
3. Cool off
Blushing tends to happen more intensely when you’re warm rather than cool. If you feel a blush coming on, take off some layers of clothing or move to a cooler place.
4. Make sure you’re hydrated
Drinking lots of water can help keep blushing at bay. Cool or cold water tends to help best. You can even try to prevent blushing by drinking something cool or cold before a stressful event.
5. Think of something funny
Distracting yourself from the blushing can sometimes make it easier to cope with it. Try to think of something that’ll make you laugh. This will make you smile, which can relax your body and fade the blushing.
6. Acknowledge the blushing
Many people who blush often tend to worry a lot about blushing. Acknowledging that you’re prone to blushing or that you’re actively blushing can sometimes help you feel more prepared to cope with it. If you can come to peace with blushing, you might even blush less.
7. Avoid blushing triggers
Some people who blush have specific triggers that make them more prone to blushing. For example, people with rosacea or people going through menopause should try to avoid long exposure to sunlight, caffeine, and spicy foods.
8. Wear makeup
Wearing green color-correcting makeup can hide blushing better than other colors. It can be helpful to apply a green-colored moisturizer or other makeup product to camouflage the redness on your cheeks if you know you’ll have to experience a stressful situation, such as a presentation or a meeting.
9. Close your eyes for a minute or two
Pretend for a moment that the person or people around you who may be judging you for blushing don’t exist. This can relax you enough to the point that it prevents blushing or helps it fade.
10. Temporarily avoid eye contact
If you’re feeling like you’re being judged about blushing, try to avoid making eye contact with the person or people who are making you feel uncomfortable. Just as with the previous tip, this tip can help you relax enough so the blushing either never begins or fades away.
In addition to the various ways you can stop blushing in the short term, there are some long-term lifestyle fixes you can make to help keep blushing at bay. These include:
There are no medications for blushing approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, if frequent bouts of anxiety cause your blushing, talk to your doctor about treatment with medication to manage the underlying issue.
If your blushing is so severe that it’s detrimental to your quality of life and other treatments haven’t helped, you may want to consider getting endoscopic thoracic surgery (ETS).
This surgery involves cutting the nerves that cause the facial blood vessels to dilate, or open. This keeps the blood vessels mostly closed, preventing blushing from happening.
Most people are satisfied by the results of ETS. However, in some cases, long-term complications, such as excessive sweating, surgical infections, and eyelid drooping, may occur.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
If a fear of blushing worsens your blushing, it may be helpful to try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This kind of talk therapy can help change unhelpful and unrealistic thinking about blushing. It can hopefully reduce your blushing on a daily basis.
Most people deal with blushing from time to time. It’s one of the body’s natural reactions to stress. However, some people experience worse blushing than others.
If you’re experiencing severe blushing, there are many things you can do to address it in the short term. This includes changing the way you think and act around people and situations that make you nervous. Most importantly, it involves changing the way you think about blushing.
Long-term treatments for blushing include diagnosing and treating an underlying anxiety disorder, or getting surgery that stops your body from blushing.
Talk to your doctor to see which options are best for your body and your situation.