Do you have anxiety that leads to facial blushing? Apparently you’re not the only one! Many folks around the world complain of blushing during times of anxiety, embarrassment or any emotional extreme. The problem is that when others see your facial blushing, they comment on it, making you feel more self-conscious, thus leading to more anxiety and more blushing and a vicious circle.
Well, now there might be a treatment – not FDA approved and not without its side effects – but a potential treatment nonetheless. And as you can probably tell from the title of this article, the treatment may be BOTOX® Cosmetic! Botox is normally used to block acetylcholine which is a chemical that is released from a nerve-ending and acts on a muscle or sweat gland or blood vessel. The muscle in turn twitches, the sweat gland secretes sweat or the blood vessel swells (and results in blushing).
From a scientific standpoint, it makes sense that Botox could treat blushing. Just as Botox can stop muscles from twitching (and therefore treat your forehead wrinkles) or block sweat glands and your armpits from sweating, theoretically Botox could keep the small blood vessels responsible for blushing from dilating (enlarging) and therefore minimize blushing. Here are several potential problems.
There are many, many small blood vessels in the face and so it may be hard to treat all of them adequately to stop blushing. Also, when you inject Botox into the face, it (the Botox) doesn’t know that you only want treatment of the blood vessels and not your facial muscles. No matter the purpose of the injection, Botox is going to act to block the release of acetylcholine and thus block muscle twitches, sweating and blood vessel enlargement. That means that while you may only want to stop blushing, the Botox injection can paralyze the muscles in the face (just like they paralyze the muscles in the forehead or around the eyes that cause wrinkles) and make you smile funny or look as if you’ve had a stroke. The results are temporary, 3-6 months, but that’s a long time to explain to everyone what happened.
Here’s a great video of how Botox works. There’s a lot of complex terminology but the video makes it easier to understand. Also, you can stop watching at the 3 minute mark since the video after that sounds like the end of a car commercial with several disclaimers.
So if you want to try Botox for blushing, keep in mind that 1) it may not work and 2) it may temporarily paralyze muscles that you don’t want paralyzed!