From Sweat to Blushing: Top 6 Body Betrayals

For 30 years Wendy Allot had no control over the color of her face.

"I'm a big time blusher," said Allot, 46, of Kirkland, Wash. "I could turn so red that it almost became a purple hue. It was not attractive or adorable -- it was humiliating."

By age 11 Allot said she'd turn beet red anytime she thought anybody was looking at her. Then she'd turn beet red thinking about the possibility of turning beet red.

"So I blushed basically from the fear of blushing. It was ongoing," said Allot. Then, at age 37 Allot took an antidepressant for depression and discovered as a side effect that the blushing just stopped.


"I had no one to go to that thought it was not even a problem," said Allot. "When you are blushing probably 50 to 75 times daily there is a problem."

For more information on the science and social cues behind blushing, click here.

Blushing might be one common way our bodies betray us, but it isn't the only way. From obscure conditions such as spasmodic dysphonia to the tendency of some to faint at the sight of needles, the human body can sometimes override our consciousness and self control.

The following is a brief list of some of the more serious conditions that left people feeling out of touch with their own skin and bones.


"Blushing is something I don't have control over. I can blush at the drop of a hat, whether I am embarrassed, happy, sad, angry or not," Bill Leverich of Kansas wrote to

Leverich said it hasn't affected his personal life, but he does wonder what it does to his career.

"I wonder if they think I am lying to them or just uncomfortable talking with them, when 99 percent of the time I have nothing to be embarrassed or concerned about," wrote Leverich. "I try to see it as a positive in that I feel it makes others feel they may be in control, while I in fact am, but it can still cause me to lose some focus when I can feel my face turning red."

Why Do People Blush

Mark Leary, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who studies blushing, says the reaction has more to do being watched than with guilt.

"It tends to be embarrassment. But the more broad reason is that people blush when they receive undesired social attention," said Leary, who added that anyone can have the blood rush to their face in the spotlight, it will just show up more in people with fairer skin.

Unfortunately for the blushers, Leary said it's almost impossible to stop the red hue once it started. "You can't do it by force of will," he said. "There is a suggestion in one study that at the moment it is happening then to try to blush as hard as you can."

Frequent blushers may have more hope trying to prevent a bright red hue than stem it once it starts, according to dermatologist Dr. Doris Day.

"Blushing happens usually because of some sort of a stress trigger. You might not feel the stress anymore but some point in your life you felt a trigger," she said.

Day says some drugs, including histamines and beta blockers have been shown to reduce redness in the face either from social triggers or from heat, spicy food and alcohol.

"Sometimes taking beta blockers when it's going to be a stressful situation can help," said Day. "Histamines help more for the physical triggers."

However, Day said using histamines on a short-term basis will not help a red face: they must be taken over time in consultation with a doctor.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...