Most of us ordinary folk think blushing is a simply a part of everyday life. It’s something you do when you sit next to the boy you fancy at school or when you wet yourself in front of all your friends because you’ve been laughing so hard or when you get told off at work for spending all your time on Facebook.
But, my friends, there is a whole lot more it than that. Blushing, sometimes known as ‘flushing’, is where areas of the body suddenly become red in colour. This is due to an excess amount of blood flowing into the small blood vessels that are located just below the surface of the skin. Fascinating, no?
These are the areas where we blush most often:
- Upper chest
Blushing affects both men and women, and is a normal response in anyone who is feeling a strong emotion, such as anger, embarrassment or excitement. Blushing is also common after having consumed a madras or vindaloo curry.
Rosacea (an actual skin condition, whereby blood vessels become visible, often on the face, causing redness) and menopause are sometimes associated with blushing.
Here’s the sciency stuff:
The small muscles in the blood vessels are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. This system is the network of nerves in the body that produce automatic reactions. You do not have any control over the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes, blushing is caused by the autonomic nervous system working too hard. It can be affected by factors such as heat, illness and emotions.
How do we treat it?
Well, I guess blushing can be a problem for those of an extremely nervous disposition, in which case psychological therapy is recommended. For most of us, I don’t think it is really too much a problem. My advice is – try to not make a tit out of yourself too often, as that will significantly lower your risk of blushing. Never say or do anything without thinking about it first, try to fit in with your friends and/or work colleagues, don’t piss your boss off and start doing kegel muscle exercises.
Surgery may be considered in some cases of severe facial blushing, which are accompanied by excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Obviously this is quite extreme and obviously you should talk to your doctor about it if you think you’re affected.