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Topical NSAIDs may prevent blushing

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    Topical NSAIDs may prevent blushing

    Being asked to belt out Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” in front of strangers would cause most people to blush – but the facial reddening is preventable with ibuprofen gel, Australian researchers have shown.

    In an experiment involving 16 volunteers with a self-professed propensity for blushing in embarassing situations, Professor Peter Drummond and colleagues at Murdoch University in Perth tested their theory that prostaglandin inhibition would help prevent the problem.

    They reasoned that facial reddening was mediated by prostaglandin-mediated vasodilatation of the dermal blood vessels, and therefore could be inhibited by a topical NSAID.

    They applied a patch of ibuprofen gel to a small area of the cheek in 16 volunteers with a fear of blushing and also in a further 14 volunteers without a fear of blushing. They then measured skin blood flow while the participants were instructed to sing along to “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor while being watched and videoed. To further increase embarrassment, participants were urged to “sing in tune” and “be expressive”

    The researchers found that the topical ibuprofen gel inhibited blushing both during and after the embarrassing singing task. The NSAID gel inhibited increases in skin blood flow in both groups when compared to a control patch of skin on which a placebo gel was applied.

    However, in a separate experiment involving blushing during aerobic exercise, increases in skin blood flow were greater afterwards in those with a high fear of blushing compared to the low fear group.

    “These findings suggest that prostaglandins contribute to dilatation of facial blood vessels both during emotional arousal (embarrassment) and aerobic exercise,” the researchers said inEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology.

    A fear of blushing may be associated with mechanisms that delay the resumption of normal vascular tone after a period of vasodilatation, they added.

    “The findings provide preliminary support for a pharmacological approach to blushing control that might be relevant not only for people who are frightened of blushing, but also for inflammatory dermatological conditions such as rosacea,” they concluded.


  • #2
    I'm wondering how to get topical NSAID's? Or if anyone has any positive/ neg experience with them for flushing/burning.

    I got Voltaren rx-ed by my derm the other day and don't recommend it for face (it has isopropyl alcohol, fragrance, "strong ammonium solution" ...). I tested it on my hands + jaw and it was really irritating ~45 min and super drying (although I think it did eventually help my TMJ).

    I know ppl have dissolved aspirin in green tea but I never think I am doing it right and am hesitant to rub something grainy into my face.




    • #3
      The link to the article doesn't work. Here is the correct link. The lead author is Peter Drummand, PhD, who volunteers on the RRDi MAC. Thanks for the article, and I have added it to end note number 20 in this post to my list of anti-flushing drugs.
      Last edited by Brady Barrows; 1 December 2017, 06:17 AM.
      Brady Barrows
      Blog - Join the RRDi


      • #4
        Would rebound flushing be a concern?