It's the Embarrassment, Not the Blush

Posted on: 01/10/2013

Researchers have found that while instances of blushing were similar in all individuals, those with rosacea were more aware of and embarrassed by blushing than those without the disorder.1

Drs. Peter Drummond and Daphne Su of Perth, Australia's Murdoch University monitored changes in forehead blood flow with laser Doppler fluxmetry in 31 rosacea patients and 86 normal subjects while they sang or gave an impromptu speech, and again as they listened to recordings of themselves performing these activities. The subjects rated themselves before and after each task on how embarrassed they felt and how badly they blushed.

They found that changes in forehead blood flow were similar in those with rosacea and in those without the disorder. However, rosacea sufferers thought they blushed more intensely and were more embarrassed during most of the tasks, and self-ratings of embarrassment and blushing were greater in those with severe rather than mild symptoms.

Increases in blood flow while singing were highest in rosacea patients with the highest blushing ratings, while increases in blood flow while listening to their recorded speeches were greatest in the most embarrassed participants.

1. Drummond, PD, Su D. Blushing in rosacea sufferers. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2012;72:153-158.