Body & Fitness

Blushing – what causes it?

“Going an alarming shade of beetroot is a natural response to self-consciousness and is governed by the same system that activates your fight-or-flight response..."
Blushing - what causes it?

“Going an alarming shade of beetroot is a natural response to self-consciousness and is governed by the same system that activates your fight-or-flight response – the sympathetic nervous system,” says Dr Chetan Varma, a cardiologist at City Hospital, Birmingham. When you’re embarrassed, your body releases adrenaline. This hormone acts as a stimulant and has an array of effects on your body –including causing the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels) to expand, leading to blood rushing closer to the surface of the skin. This results in a temporary reddening of the face, neck and chest. The paler your skin is, the worse it can appear.

The fix: Taking a deep breath and putting your shoulders down may help to shorten the length of the blush, says Dr Varma. This relaxes the body, minimising blushing, which is, in effect, a stress response.

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