Facial Flushing vs. Facial blushing -- still much confusion. Let me define it medically.

1. Facial Blushing -- This is due stricly in response to an embarrasing event.

2. Facial flushing is everything else. What you are describing is classic. It is still facail flushing that is reinforced subconsciously. Its a Pavlovian response like dogs being trained to salivate when they hear the bell ring because they know food is coming to them.

If you are inside and look outside and flush that is very normal for rosacea sufferers and VERY frustrating. Your mind has a conditioned response --- after a long time of flushing to heat, it knows this response and subconsciously will start the conditioned response without the heat. The flushing in itself is a real physiological phenomenon, the conditioned response is a hypothalamus driven conditioned response.

On the other end, people with successful treatments via lasers or meds, can uncondition this response. They go outside a hundred times, dont flush and the subconscious gears down. So, to some extent you can try to mentally challenge that conditioned response.

I had the same horrible problem. My apartment was set at 50 degrees F inside, but when I looked outside during hot days I would flush. I eventually closed all my blinds and stopped looking outside for years (I dont recommend this). I recommend facing this slowly.

Studies have shown very interesting things about conditioned responses. In studies, patients were asked to turn on the stove top to low, they were forced to watch it turn red from the heat, then put their hands on it for 1 to 2 seconds and then report what they felt. Of course they said it burned their hand (but not enough to do damage of course). The heat and the red burner sent signals up to the brain to tell it, pain, hot, remove hand. They did this hundreds of times over 6 months. Then they removed the heating elements so the stove would not turn hot, but implanted a system that would turn the burner bright red (as if it was being heated). The subjects were instructed to put their hands on the burner as usual and 100% of them reported pain and had to remove their hand. They did this for two straight weeks. 100% responded in a conditioned manner because it is your bodies way of protecting itself. There was absolutely no heat on these burners, but the brain saw the red burner and equated it with a pain response after experiencing it hundreds of times. Thus, the red burner (without heat) evoked a pain signal that really was not there. I hope that makes sense.

You start out with a real physiological problem -- flushing to heat which all rosacea sufferers do. After years of having this happen, your brain knows that sunshine and heat provoke this response. It is now so conditioned that it provokes this response when you are inside your apartment looking out at the heat (no heat on the burner, but the burner is red).

Fascinating studies, but horribly disabling to moderate/severe rosacea sufferers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your brain. It is a smart, learned trait. In fact, if you did not do it then you would have something wrong with your brain because it is not doing its job of protecting you.

If you made it down this far, through all the gobbly gook, then email me and I will send each emailer a dollar for the pain I put you through with this post.



Dr. Geoffrey Nase
Ph.D. Neurovascular Physiologist