Why Do Men Blush

Blushing is an involuntary, strictly human reaction that's part of the "flight-or-fight" response originating in the sympathetic nervous system. Why do men blush? Not only do men blush just as often as women do, but most of the time they blush for similar reasons.

Blush biology

When embarrassed, angry or excited both genders release hormonal adrenaline as a natural stimulant that causes the body to respond. Breathing speeds up along with heart rate as a part of the "flight-or-fight" response. Blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, ultimately causing facial veins to respond in the same way and resulting in red, glowing (flushing) cheeks, face, ears or neck.

Common reasons men blush

Embarrassment may be the number one reason why men blush. Embarrassment can be broken down into subcategories as well:

  • Awkward situations where the man is caught off guard.
  • Caught doing something inappropriate and he didn't want to be discovered.
  • Reaction to an indecent or immodest request that wasn't his idea.
  • Romantic situations where he is attracted to a woman who responds with surprising aggression.
  • A stupid blunder where he feels foolish and his pride is pinched.
  • Unexpected praise in a social or business setting, especially if he feels it's unwarranted.
  • When under pressure to perform.

When blushing isn't normal

Some causes of blushing are rooted in an underlying condition:

  • Hyperhidrosis. Excessive sweating on the face and hands is called "hyperhidrosis." While there is a surgical procedure available called thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), it's recommended only after conventional treatments, such as psychological therapies, are unsuccessful.
  • Rosacea. This chronic skin condition causes permanent red marks on the face. Rosacea will flush brighter after triggers such as too much sun, stress or eating spicy foods. In addition to avoiding the triggers, one treatment available is the use of lasers to shrink visible blood vessels. Dermatologists can also prescribe topical prescription medications.
  • Social phobia. Some men experience excessive blushing due to nervousness resulting from social phobias. Psychological treatments are usually recommended such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), breathing techniques, changing thoughts and clinical hypnotherapy.

Makeup can help

The use of green color-corrective moisturizer or concealing makeup can help to camouflage blushing by neutralizing the redness, especially for rosacea. Apply a thin layer of the green color-corrective moisturizer or makeup on the most intense blush spots. These products are available at any drugstore or department store makeup counter. Hypo-allergenic products are recommended for sensitive skin and are also available in over-the-counter versions.

When men blush, it probably bothers them more than women because they like to feel like they are in control of every situation. Unless his condition is chronic, a man should accept that almost everyone blushes at one time or another and this purely human condition is more amusing than anything, and not worth worrying about.

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