Why We Blush

Courtesy of www.insomniac.com

Courtesy of www.insomniac.com

When you’re embarrassed, adrenaline is released, speeding up your heart rate and dilating your blood vessels to improve your blood flow and oxygen delivery. In humans, facial veins react to this adrenaline by blushing. This response doesn’t happen anywhere else in your body, which is why you don’t blush all over, stated mnn.com

Blushing and embarrassment go hand in hand. Feeling flushed is such a natural response to sudden self-consciousness that if it weren’t part of an emotionally crippling experience, it could almost be overlooked. Blushing is unique, which is why scientists want to know more about blushing. While the psychology of blushing remains elusive, we do understand the physical process involved, reported mentalfloss.com

Blushing from embarrassment is governed by the same system that activates your fight-or-flight response: the sympathetic nervous system. This system is involuntary, meaning you don’t actually have to think to carry out the processes, added livescience.com

Adrenaline speeds up your breathing and heart rate to prepare you to run from danger. It causes your pupils to grow bigger to allow you to take in as much visual information as possible. It slows down your digestive process so that the energy can be redirected to your muscles. All of these effects account for the jolt you feel when you find yourself embarrassed, stated mnn.com

Adrenaline also causes your blood vessels to dilate (called vasodilation), in order to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery. The veins in your face respond to a signal from the chemical transmitter adenylyl cyclase, which tells the veins to allow the adrenaline to do its magic. As a result, the veins in your face dilate, allowing more blood to flow through them than usual, creating the reddened appearance that tells others you’re embarrassed, reported mentalfloss.com

Some people opt to undergo surgery to limit their blushing response. Erythrophobia is the fear of blushing and it can be enough that it could lead to a person choosing to have the tiny nerves at his or her spine, which control blushing, snipped. This surgery called endothoracic sympathectomy has been shown to limit blushing, added livescience.com