The Embarrassment of Facial Flushing and Social Anxiety
I myself suffered from facial flushing (blushing) and social anxiety for many years. I now provide psychotherapy and teach people how to stop facial flushing. I have helped many people successfully resolve severe issues of anxiety, social anxiety, blushing, PTSD, all kinds of emotional and mental trauma, as well as relationship, confidence and self worth issues.
Turning red, facial flushing, blushing, by whatever name, is embarrassing! People who have this condition start to avoid other people and social situations. Many people that blush easily become afraid to speak up in classrooms, meetings and groups of all kinds, and do not like to be the center of attention. Fear of blushing causes a downward spiral that hurts people’s performance at school and jobs, and all of their relationships begin to suffer. The good news is, I know how to stop blushing and social anxiety.
I Healed My Flushing (Blushing) and I Can Help You
Starting in middle school, all through my teenage years, and well into adulthood I suffered from horrible blushing and social anxiety. I spent many years avoiding social interactions. The fear of blushing severely held back my life. After suffering silently for many years, I finally set my mind to healing my blushing and severe anxiety. I experimented with many different methods. Eventually, I not only healed my own blushing and extreme anxiety, I learned how to help others heal their blushing, as well as the causes of all kinds of fear, anxiety and PTSD.
Because I know how terrible it feels to have this blushing problem, I am very passionate about helping people put an end to blushing. This is something I am very confident about and I have helped many people resolve blushing and anxiety issues. Blushing is often accompanied by social anxiety, body image, and self-confidence issues. The shame and embarrassment that goes along with blushing, and the failure to thrive in life compounds the suffering. The good news is, it does not have to take years of psychotherapy to cure these issues. No medications are needed, and certainly no surgery is needed to cure and stop blushing.
First Steps to Stop Flushing and Stop Turning Red
To begin, super limit or drink no caffeine or ‘energy drinks’. I recommend avoiding alcohol as well. Don’t worry, you won’t always have to avoid all caffeine and alcohol. The reason you want to avoid these drinks is to calm the nerves, adrenal glands, and the facial capillaries. Facial flushing, like alcohol and caffeine, dilates the blood vessels. Facial capillaries are also sensitive to heat. Blood vessels can be damaged from from excessive exposure to sun, alcohol, and continual blushing. It is also wise to avoid bathing the face in hot water.
People that have fair, sensitive skin are more prone to fushing. It is wise to use natural sun blocks on the face year round to protect from harsh sun rays. There are also herbal and vitamin formulas that can help strengthen and heal sensitive skin and capillaries.
A healthy, natural diet will support healing your skin and lowering stress in the body. Avoid excess sugar and simple carbohydrates, as these raise stress levels. Avoid junk food, food laden with chemicals and preservatives, things like MSG and high fructose that stress the brain and nerves.
It is common for people with blushing and anxiety to self-medicate with alcohol and cannabis. As hard as it seems, I highly encourage you to speak to friends and family about it, no matter how difficult or embarrassing this seems. The truth is, trying to hide and cover up anxiety, stress and blushing, only results in increasing it.
Common Misconceptions About Facial Flushing
I often hear different versions of this statement from my clients: “The cause of my anxiety, stress or confidence issue is because I flush, and if only I did not blush or turn red, all would be fine.” Nearly 100% of the time the opposite is true. In my experience, underlying nearly every person’s flushing issue, is an emotional issue or life experience that created the foundation for the blushing, fear and anxiety. Low self worth and confidence issues are definitely exacerbated by blushing, but they usually existed before the blushing.
There is usually a major trigger that many remember, like having to give presentations in school. Everyone gets nervous and blushes at some point. But for someone that already has other factors going on that weaken their self-esteem, it can become a major negative focus. Blushing can easily become a vicious cycle because the person then fears the blushing itself. Mentally over-focusing on and fearing blushing, plays a big part in it continuing.
It is common to blame the cause of confidence and anxiety issues on the blushing. Though I find nearly 100% of the time, that resolving the root causes of anxiety and confidence issues – cures the blushing. Clients are not conscious of all of the underlying issues and contributing factors when we first begin working together.
Blushing is often related to issues of poor self image, negative self talk, negative self beliefs, and fear of being judged. People that blush are usually very self-judgmental as well. They often fear being the center of attention. People will say it is because of the blushing, though there are usually deeper feelings and fears that cause the fear of judgment and not wanting to be the center of attention. Blushing is only the end result.
Biological and Genetic Components contributing to Blushing
There are biological conditions that can be inherited or developed that contribute to blushing. These can involve the neurotransmitters, adrenal and thyroid glands, dietary issues, such as sensitivity to sugar and gluten, digestive and allergy issues. Though such issues are often involved, there are always emotional issues involved as well. In my practice, I always address all these issues as I have a background in naturopathic medicine as well as psychotherapy.
Fair skinned people are more prone to blushing. Everyone blushes sometimes, and it is true it shows up easier with fair skin. Though people who blush too often, who have anxiety and stress around it, fair skinned or not, have underlying issues that can be addressed and resolved. Having fair skin is not a reason to believe you have to put up with excessive blushing.
We Need to Resolve the Internal Condition that gives rise to Turning Red
This is where it gets difficult to blog on this issue or give general advice. Because the internal condition that gives rise to blushing can be highly individual. Most all my clients at the beginning do not know the reason, the root cause(s) of their blushing. We not only need to discover the causes, we need to process and resolve them internally, so they no longer negatively affect the mind and nervous system.
What are some of the common factors for people who flush?
Here are a few of the underlying conditions and causes I have encountered with clients:
- Facial flushing often begins in the early teens in middle school, a time that coincides with the advent of puberty and hormones.
- Middle school is also a time where issues of self consciousness, self image and peer pressure begin.
- There was often a family environment where one parent or both were harsh, judgmental, scary, not supportive, verbally or physically abusive.
- A stressful relationship situation involving past or present family, work or school environment.
There is often shame or embarrassment about the way a person looks. Or there can be dislike of the sound of one’s voice, height or weight. Even though the focus is usually on something physical or external, underneath there are deeper issues causing the person to not like themselves and undermining their confidence. Living with fear of being judged, raises anxiety to a high level and contributes to blushing.
Underlying everything there is usually a deep feeling of shame. There can be so many reasons that cause a person to carry shame. Turning red is the outer condition or sign of carrying inner shame. Often this shame is taken on from parents or abusers. Shame and anxiety conditions are often passed down for generations. Shame is often the result when we feel powerless, unheard, deeply hurt, judged and humiliated.
Take Action to End Your Anxiety and Stop Flushing
First, I suggest not wasting time on quick or temporary fixes. I have not had or seen much success with cognitive methods like hypnosis, CBT and DBT. Sometimes they can help some, but they do not fully resolve the deeper issues. Relying on medications, creams or herbal formulas will also not bring a cure. Surgery is a really bad idea. There are some herbal and nutritional supplements that can help (I will write a future blog on this subject).
Most important, find a good therapist to help you discover and resolve the root causes of your facial flushing, fear or anxiety. Find a therapist you feel comfortable with who has specific, personal and professional experience and success healing blushing, shame, confidence and anxiety issues.
Good therapy will not only help you stop blushing and turning red, you will also gain new power, confidence and success in all aspects of your life.
Sincerely wanting you to find the help you deserve. Never give up.