Why Do I Blush All the Time and How Do I Stop?


It's No Fun Turning Beetroot Red!

Blushing can cause extreme embarrassment.
Blushing can cause extreme embarrassment. | Source

"Why do I blush all the time?"

Do you find yourself asking this question often? Are you sick and tired of being held back by this socially debilitating occurrence? If you answered 'yes,' then you have come to the right place because I'm going to share a wealth of information that will not only enlighten you but also fill you with renewed faith. Blushing affects everyone to some degree, but most people only seem to suffer in extreme circumstances whereas the rest of us (me included) flush at the slightest provocation.



For some, the regularity of facial reddening has become so bad that it has caused the formation of a new phobia which has been termed erythrophobia—a fear of blushing. As if things were not already bad enough with the constant unexplainable reddening of the face, we are now beset by a new phobia of the ridicule and embarrassment that comes from blushing in front of people. This inevitably causes us to hide away from social situations and call in sick to work whenever we are faced with the prospect of having to attend a seminar, meeting, or team gathering of any kind. I know—I have battled this problem since my teens. Here are some of the symptoms that walk hand in hand with facial flushing:

  • Rapid heartbeat, pounding heart or palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shaking visibly or inside
  • Choking sensations or lump in throat
  • Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or unsteadiness
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Derealization (feeling unreal or dreamy)
  • Depersonalization (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)
  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
  • Chills or hot flushes

Erythrophobia - a fear of blushing

No, I'm blushing again...


Charles Darwin's Thoughts

For many years, Charles Darwin's observations and analyses provided the only information on the subject of blushing, and are still pertinent today. Darwin proposed that our faces flush when we believe we are the sole object of others' attention, especially when we think they may be judging or criticizing us. Darwin also observed that the reddening of the face was accompanied by the emotions of shame, guilt, modesty, and shyness. Darwin summed up why people blush in a nutshell, but there is one more question that has always bugged me. "Why is it that my face has to turn red so everyone can see?" Yes, what's the deal with that? Isn't it enough to simply 'feel' shame, guilt, shyness, and modesty? Why do we have to put it on display so the whole world can see? What is its purpose?

A Hypersensitive Sympathetic Nervous System

Darwin's explanation was quite detailed. However, it didn't tell us why some people blush incessantly, especially when tired, stressed, or emotionally stimulated. The answer is that some people are born with a hypersensitive sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating glands and organs. More importantly, this system also controls the diameter of blood vessels in the face and, in some people, is extremely sensitive to emotional stress. This results in the constant facial tinting.

A stammering man is never a worthless one. Physiology can tell you why. It is an excess of sensibility to the presence of his fellow creature, that makes him stammer.

— Thomas Carlyle, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, 17 November 1843

Awkward Situations That Can Trigger Facial Reddening

  • Relating a story and finding all the attention of a group has focused on you
  • Being complimented unexpectedly or with fervor
  • Performing in front of others
  • Meeting authority figures
  • Having a conversation one-to-one with the opposite sex
  • Being clumsy in front of others
  • Receiving criticism especially when others are present

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

Social Phobia and the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Trait

In 1991, Dr. Elaine Aron began the study of high sensitivity in human beings. Being a sufferer of high sensitivity herself, she was extremely interested in finding out why a small minority of people seemed to be far more sensitive than others. Dr. Aron discovered that in the animal kingdom approximately 20% of each species was highly sensitive as a means of sensing danger, humans included.

Here is a short paragraph from Dr. Elaine Aron's website:

"This trait is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood. Because HSPs prefer to look before entering new situations, they are often called "shy." But shyness is learned, not innate. In fact, 30% of HSPs are extraverts, although the trait is often mislabeled as introversion. It has also been called inhibitedness, fearfulness, or neuroticism. Some HSPs behave in these ways, but it is not innate to do so and not the basic trait."

Since being a Highly Sensitive Person means you feel the subtleties of your environment far more than the average person, you can become overwhelmed more easily, and it can cause blushing. If you find yourself flushing easily and often, you may well be a HSP. To find out for sure, take Elaine Aron's free test at her website here: Highly Sensitive Person Test.

Social Phobia Causes Blushing in Sufferers

Social Phobia

Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is another reason why people blush excessively and comes in a number of forms, including:

  • Fear of speaking in public
  • Fear of writing in public
  • Fear of eating
  • The Big Daddy of them all: Fear of being judged harshly or negatively

It's all because of the 'fight-or-flight' system in our brain which is trying its best to protect us and keep us safe from harm. The problem is, in this modern day and age danger isn't always so imminent. The biggest threat we may face could be crossing the road on any normal day so the fight-or-flight system is kind of redundant, yet it is still there and is causing us all sorts of problems, such as blushing.

An Explanation of How Social Phobia Could Develop

Social Phobia usually develops as a result of a traumatic or highly embarrassing situation in which we were the object of attention. In my case, I remember the beginning of my Social Phobia and consequent fear of blushing. I was a young child of about seven, and during an assembly a group of us were to sing to a hall filled with students, but when it came to my solo I had forgotten the words. As a result, I stood and cried while the other kids laughed at me. BANG! Social Phobia began and from then on, whenever I encountered a situation where I was expected to perform, speak, or even just interact, I would become highly aroused and redden profusely! This led to a fear of blushing.

As children we aren't taught about programs and habits and how they are programmed into our subconscious mind. If the fear attached to the situation was the cause of my blushing, then a few simple words of encouragement from a peer or parent would have helped stop my subsequent problem.

Social Phobia usually develops as a result of a traumatic or highly embarrassing situation in which we were the object of attention.

It's All in the Memory

Once that awful moment has occurred, you are left with a souvenir: the memory of it. This memory has the ability to trigger the 'fight-or-flight' system operated by the amygdala in your brain, which warns you and causes you to freak out as if there were actual danger present. Danger? They are just people! Harmless observers, no? Tell that to your brain.

Why then do I blush? The answer is simple—we are sensitive, more so than others; and because this is such a rare phenomenon in children, we suffer and become ashamed of it. What happens when you feel shame? Your face turns red.

Stop the shame - you stop the blush.

I realized one thing about myself, and it ultimately helped me to stop blushing. I realized that I had spent my life being a victim, placing responsibility for my feelings upon others instead of on myself. Shame serves no purpose - scrap it and you scrap the blushing.


Fear Conditioning Experiments Performed on Rats


Memory and Emotion can Cause Blushing and Social Phobias

Researchers have found that the neural mechanisms of a rat's brain are similar to those of a human, and this discovery has greatly helped to increase our understanding of the human brain and its functions. One such function is the conditioning of fear: a person experiences an unpleasant situation and is so strongly affected that they are emotionally aroused and experience fear. What then happens is the brain remembers the sensory stimuli that caused the fear and it becomes a part of the fight-or-flight response. If the situation is about to occur or is even pictured in the mind the fight-or-flight response kicks in and the person experiences fear and may blush, sweat, and experience a whole host of other unpleasant physical symptoms. In other words your brain is telling you to 'get out of there!"

A person experiences an unpleasant situation and is so strongly affected that they are emotionally aroused and experience fear.

The Experiment

Researchers were able to gather these findings by experimenting on rats. They did this by pairing a sound and a mild electric shock to the foot of a rat. In one set of experiments, the rat hears a sound which has very little effect on the animal's heart rate or blood pressure. Next the rat hears the sound coupled with a shock to the foot. After several such pairings, the rat begins to hold still and experience a rise in blood pressure whenever the sound is heard.

The result: The rat has been fear conditioned. The same occurs in humans, and from this we can see that as a child, any unpleasant situations we are subjected to could cause fear conditioning. This is why people experience awful physical symptoms in certain situations.

Is this why your face chronically reddens? Think back and unravel your memories. You may find the cause of your blushing is fear conditioning that occurred years ago.

Facial Blushing Causes us to Hide in the Shadows


Blushing Problem Poll

Is excessive blushing a severe hindrance to your life?

  • Yes, I'm a recluse because of it.
  • In many ways, yes. Although I still venture outside sometimes.
  • Only in certain situations such as presentations and socializing etc.
  • There are only 1-2 situations in which blushing cripples me
  • I'm not really affected by blushing
See results without voting

A Few Tips on How to Prevent Blushing

  • Use Your Imagination

Get comfortable and relax. Now imagine a situation in which you normally blush and let it happen. Experience the situation in as much detail as possible, sights, sounds, smells, etc. Next, imagine that there is a thin film of ice covering your face and neck, cooling and soothing you. When you imagine the sensation of cold, it has the same effect as when we imagine the sour taste of lemon in our mouths. The lemon causes us to produce more saliva, the cold sensation reduces the blood flow to our face and neck, therefore preventing facial flushing from occurring. Try this technique over and over in your imagination until you are able to achieve the desired effect. Check in the mirror too just to make sure. Once you feel confident you can begin using the technique in social situations.

  • The Look Around Technique

Quite often, when experiencing anxiety, we tend to stare at a fixed location or avert our gaze from people. A good way to lower anxiety is to use the "look around' technique. Next time you are in a social setting, look around the room naturally and see just how many people are looking at you with judgement in their eyes. Move around as well. Scratch your face or shift your feet. Shuffle some papers or whatever action is natural. Performing this technique often while in social situations will gradually lower anxiety levels, resulting in less frequent reddening of the face.

When you imagine the sensation of cold, it has the same effect as when we imagine the sour taste of lemon in our mouths.

  • Take Opportunities to Do Things You Might Not Normally Do

If you are really serious about stopping blushing once and for all, this is a technique that you must use. If you get the chance to do something you would normally be afraid of, do it. The more you hide, the stronger the symptoms of anxiety become. Try simple things at first such as: clearing your throat in a room full of people, or humming a song and then observing the other people's reactions. You will find that they aren't watching you and judging you because you are simply blending in with them, being natural.

  • Set a Daily Challenge For Yourself

Starting with something easy first, set a challenge for the day ahead each day or as often as possible. Challenges could be:

  • Hum a song while on the bus or on a train
  • Stretch naturally as if you are alone while in the presence of others
  • Sing a line from a song
  • Tell a story
  • Dance
  • Say hi to a stranger in the street
  • Start up a conversation with a member of the opposite sex in a shop or cafe
  • Spark up conversations with your colleagues at work
  • Tell a joke to one person and then a group

These are just a few challenges you could set but you get the idea, right? Your problem won't disappear overnight. It will take time and effort, but the more you practice being natural and normal without the fear, the more the blushing will dissipate.

Don't be Ashamed


A List of Shy Celebrities

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Albert Einstein
  • Annie Oakley
  • Orville Wright
  • Thomas Edison
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Bob Dylan
  • Brad Pitt
  • Cathy Rigby
  • Cher Bono
  • David Letterman
  • Elvis Presley
  • Gene Hackman
  • Harrison Ford
  • Jim Carrey
  • Julia Roberts
  • Kevin Costner
  • Lady Gaga

These are just a few. There are many more shy famous people out there. They got over it and so can you!

A Look on the Bright Side - Blushers Make Better Lovers!

According to recent research, blushers are more generous than others, and this makes them much more giving lovers.

Yes, constantly turning red can be very embarrassing in certain situations, but it also reveals to others that we are a kind and sensitive person who cares about others.

When we turn rosy, it is basically a non-verbal apology to whomever we are interacting with and shows them we mean no harm.

The biggest part of why people blush is often the fear of blushing itself. The shame we experience while our face flushes only serves to make it worse.

Don't be ashamed—be proud of the fact that you are sensitive and giving.

Interesting Facts About Blushing

More by this Author

Do you suffer from blushing and have any tips on prevention? 31 comments

Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

Very interesting topic and thoroughly researched. I don't have this problem but I had a class in college with someone who did. The professor told him not to worry about it, because women are always suckers for a man who blushes!

LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Crystal, I agree with you, women do like men who blush. This should make those men really blush now, lol !

Richie, great article! Very well written, and I found it very interesting and useful. Thanks, voting up!

staceyh profile image

staceyh 4 years ago from Texas

Great, informative article! I do feel myself blush easily and I can't stand being in situations where it might happen. Being an HSP, I never knew the correlation between the two. Thank you!

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Thank you Crystal Taturn!

Wow, really? Women like men who blush? I never really knew that but it is wonderful to hear as I am one of those men so perhaps I might try blushing more often!! haha

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it!


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Thank you La Thing!

I'm really happy for your comments because it did take me a while to make this hub. I appreciate your comments very much.

Blushing is my thing!!! ha

Take care.

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Stacey H. Welcome to the HSP hubpages community!

I know what you mean. It's really awkward and you feel so uncomfortable when it happens.

The paradoxical thing is that before we blush we aren't really being judged or even paid that much attention, but once we blush that's it! All eyes on us and it gets worse!

Thanks for dropping by.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

With all the other phobias out there, one for blushing should fit right in the phobia club fine. This is a highly interesting hub on blushing with info like what social reasons really cause it and the biological mechanics of blushing too. Never had the red-cheeked prob too much but certainly sympathize with those who do. Hope your article helps any who have the affliction really bad Rich. Good choice of topic and well researched and written my friend.

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Alastar! Good to see you mate.

Yes, I hope to help others with this problem as well as overcome it myself because although I don't like admitting it to others, I am a sufferer too.

Whether it is down to the troubles of my childhood or is a HSP trait I am still unsure but it does cause extreme fear sometimes.

In fact right now, I am somewhat nervous because next tuesday I have to act in 3 plays with my fellow teachers in front of the ministry of education and perhaps a thousand or so people. For the average person, no problem, a few nerves but nothing too bad. For me, a panic attack waiting to happen!

Got to do some serious psyching up this weekend!!

Thanks for coming over buddy. :)

PWalker281 4 years ago

I discovered that I am a Highly Sensitive Person back in the 90s when I came across Aron's book. It was a godsend, helping me understand why I am the way I am (I answered yes to all but one of the questions on her HSP test). At one time or another, I have been called shy, too sensitive, and overly emotional. My saving grace is that I have a dark complexion, so while I'm sure I have blushed many times, it simply doesn't show on my face. So I can only imagine how blushers with fairer complexions must feel.

This is a great article on blushing and I'm glad that you've provided some techniques for overcoming it. I have been using Eckhart Tolle's mindfulness practices to diminish the sometimes overwhelming and usually irrational (i.e., no basis in reality) fear that I've been plagued with all my life. The technique is to simply observe the feelings that fear generates in your body while breathing slowly, allowing them to be there but without trying to judge them, push them away, or stop them. What's remarkable about this technique is that, in only a few minutes, the fear dissipates. Why? Because you can't observe the fear and think the thoughts that create it at the same time. And the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Voted up, useful and interesting!

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Pwalker 281!

You don't know how glad I am that you came back over my place!

I had no idea you were a HSP too. On Elaine Aron's test I answered yes to about 24 of the questions which, like you, is highly sensitive!

I honestly don't know how I have made it as far as I have in my career and social life. I guess things fell into place and because I'm stubborn I pushed on despite the pain.

That mindfulness technique sounds great. I'm going to practice that technique when I go off on my own for a while. You are right, the mind can only focus on one thing at a time.

Thanks for coming back over here Patrice!

Peace. :)

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

You'll be fine Richie- the thespian in you is screaming to get out my friend! Set it free!

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

haha, thanks for your support Alastar.

You are a good man with a golden heart.

I'm actually a very good actor and was back in secondary school too. My drama teacher loved me for my passionate acting.

I was still nervous but did it anyway.

I just gotta finally break through this ice and this is my opportunity to do that and make a good impression on both myself and the audience. I'll give it my best shot.

Thanks buddy. You rock! :)

PWalker281 4 years ago

Hey Rich, sorry I haven't been around in a while. Have a lot of irons in the fire, so haven't been spending a lot of time reading hubs. But this one was so intriguing, I couldn't pass it up :-). Keep up the great writing and I'm sure you'll see me from time to time.

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 4 years ago from On Top of the World Author

No problem, PWalker281. I'm just glad you are okay and still here with us in this little community within a huge community!

Thanks Pwalker. I have raised the bar for myself now and do a huge amount of research before writing anything now so as to give as much as possible.

I look forward to seeing you again soon Patrice. I'll be putting hubs up fairly consistently so hopefully you'll drop by again and I know I'll be over to your place soon.

Peace Patrice!

Kenna 2 years ago

I'm 13 years old and I'd love to be social, but my blushing holds me back... I sing and act in plays but when it's real I just can't do it. On the stage I can do almost anything but having a convorsation with a cast mate is near impossible. Blushing cues me to shut up and go away. I've tried mulipul stratagies on being social, people try to have convos with me but I normally back out because I don't want them to see. I'm not shy though, I just don't want to seem shy... This summer I'm getting this surgery (if it's even that) to stop blushing. They just cut a small slit in your arm pits and somehow you don't blush. The only problem is it sounds scary, but it would be so worth it!! Like friends!!! I just can't wait for it to be over when I found out I cried tears of joy!! But I wouldn't recommend this surgery for people who think they blush a lot, believe me you know when it's extreme. For me it has nothing to do with anxiety, I blush when I talk to me teachers! Even my family! It's really hard and I'm so happy it's almost over! It's time to start my life!

CNJ 2 years ago

Princess Diana suffered from this problem...that poor lady blushed more frequently and redder than I had ever seen any human being blush.

And her complexion was very, very fair, which made her problem worse. I often felt sorry for her; that had to have been so uncomfortable for her.

Sam 2 years ago

I used to have this really bad too. getting better now tho. think I'm growing out of it and also I use a hypnosis MP3 every so often to help think possitive out it.

I've a few different drugs and i highly discourage using them! beta blockers and anti depresants killed my brain. I haven't taken them for a few years now and I am still a bit of a zombie from them. the surgery though getting better is still a risk. I'd suggest the hypnosis MP3 before trying anything else. Safest Option.

Also i'm a guy and all my girl friends say they think its cute. But to a guy I think being called cute is the worst thing ever! Sorry to be negative but I never thought chick dig cute guys haha

Amanda 2 years ago

What can I do too stop blushing? I blush when I talk too teachers? When I talk too the opposite sex too me if there's feelings there? I blush when my teacher would ask me too read out before I even start I'd go so red everyone would be staring at me? I mostly blush in school what can I do?

Sam 2 years ago

You should use hypnosis!! it works great! there is no worse of a place than a class room when bluhing :(. Because there is no way of escaping.

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Kenna,

Sorry this is so very late. That's a very interesting case you have there and a rare one too perhaps if I'm not mistaken.

Please let us know how the surgery went. Blushing can really be a nuisance and I understand exactly why getting rid of it can really free a person. I still suffer although I'm very certain that's because I have anxiety issues.

Thanks and good luck with the surgery!


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey CNJ,

You know, I never knew that until I read your comment just now. Princess Diana was a blusher! What a pleasant surprise to know that even those of us in high places still blush.

I wonder if it was anxiety?

I have fair skin too so it's very evident when I blush!

Thanks for that tasty tidbit.


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Sam.

I apologise for being so unfashionably late with this reply.

You are on the right track, you know that. Drugs are at best a short term fix for say when you have a hugely important presentation and you need to keep anxiety at bay. That's it.

In the long term, mp3s, positive thinking, affirmations, confidence, meditation and challenging yourself are the most effective ways of stopping blushing.

And yep. I agree, I'm 34 now but when I was younger my head always dropped whenever girls would say "He's so cute," or "Isn't Richard lovely?!" It always meant that I'd missed out on another girlfriend!!!

Anyway, you are doing well.

If you scroll back up to my article, you'll see that I've written another article just for you guys and included the link near the bottom of this article. It's called 25 ways to stop blushing before it stops you - from living your life!

Thanks and Enjoy!


Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Hey Amanda,

Sorry I'm late with this reply.

After reading your messages here, I decided to write another one with 25 ways of stopping blushing, all of which are fairly simple and practical.

Scroll back up to this article and towards the end you should see a link entitled "25 Super Simple Ways to Stop Blushing Before it Stops You - from Living Your Life!

Keep at it and I hope the techniques in the new article serve you well.


YoungIlluminati 2 years ago

I never used to fucking blush...This is fucking sad and patethic :-(

I can be a shameless bastard sometimes.....How can this frikin happen to me ??????

I would do a Frikin Sex Tape and Enjoy it :-).....Now I`m blushing like frikin Snow White.....Just breath and relax :-).....Better ;-)....Its legit,from the cold blooded hustla I was I turned into Frikin Miss Daisy :-(

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 2 years ago from On Top of the World Author

Well, YoungIllminati, i'm not sure exactly why you started blushing but it may be due to stress.

It's not sad or pathetic - it's life and just another challenge. You can't tell me that everything that ever happened to you was expected and logical can you? But you got through it didn't you? You passed the test and here you are.

Read read read and practice practice practice and you'll get over it. I have for the most part but it takes effort, lots of effort.

You can do this!


Sam 21 months ago

Hi Richard, I wrote a comment on your post a few months ago.

I've made a website with my blushing story and I've added a link to your article because it would definitely be the best one I've ever read about blushing.

My writing on the website isn't as good as yours and it probably has a million mistakes but I think it gets the point across. tricks-to-ease-the-blush/

Hypnosis and good affirmations is the way to go long term! not drugs.

If you have a look at my story let me know what you think :)

Richard 21 months ago

Very interesting article Richard, thanks!

Can anyone recommend any books on blushing? I recently read a book which was recommended on a social anxiety website which I found extremely helpful in helping me to deal with blushing. I bought it from Amazon, so if anyone is interested it's called:

BLUSH And Be Happy: A practical guide to overcoming your fear of blushing!


Herpderp 12 months ago

Sometimes I blush for no apparent reason and everyone thinks it's a big deal.

Richawriter profile image

Richawriter 12 months ago from On Top of the World Author

Yep, I get that too Herpderp.

How do you deal with it? Does it bother you that they make a big deal out of it, or do you ignore it?

Craig 6 months ago

I have managed to get my blushing 'under control" to a point where i am content. I have found meditation works for me plus a few other techniques. For me it was about being less anxious and more relaxed.. I also follow some advice fro here which I found helpful..

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