We’re all familiar with the sensation of blushing, but what does blushing look like in real life?

Physical and Emotional Reactions

When someone is embarrassed or acting shyly, they might start to blush. Physically, blushing can cause your face to feel hot, your cheeks to turn red, and your heart rate to speed up. Emotionally, blushing may make you feel ashamed, exposed, or embarrassed.

Universal Across Cultures

Blushing is a universal phenomenon and can be found in almost all cultures. It is associated with lowered self-esteem, embarrassment, and feeling exposed to criticism or judgement.

Why We Blush

Scientists believe that blushing is a form of nonverbal communication and an evolutionary tool developed over time to allow us to express a range of emotions without speaking.

Today, people blush in the presence of others when they are embarrassed, anxious, intimidated or in awe.

Signs of Blushing

When someone is blushing in real life, you may notice:

    • A change in skin color – usually in the cheeks and nose, but it may also spread to the forehead, ears and neck;
    • Sweating – this is caused by the widening of blood vessels, which causes the skin to become hot;
    • Headaches – caused by increased blood flow to the face.


Blushing is a universal reaction that we all experience when we feel embarrassed, ashamed, or in awe. It’s an evolutionary tool to help us express a range of emotions without talking, and the physical signs of blushing are easy to spot.

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