Etiologies and management of cutaneous flushing: Nonmalignant causes

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017 Sep;77(3):391-402. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.12.031.


The flushing phenomenon may represent a physiologic or a pathologic reaction. Although flushing is usually benign, it is prudent that the physician remains aware of potentially life-threatening conditions associated with cutaneous flushing. A thorough investigation should be performed if the flushing is atypical or not clearly associated with a benign underlying process. The diagnosis often relies on a pertinent history, review of systems, physical examination, and various laboratory and imaging modalities, all of which are discussed in the 2 articles in this continuing medical education series. This article reviews flushing associated with fever, hyperthermia, emotions, menopause, medications, alcohol, food, hypersensitivity reactions, rosacea, hyperthyroidism, dumping syndrome, superior vena cava syndrome, and neurologic etiologies.

Keywords: SVC syndrome; blushing; climacterium; dumping syndrome; emotional flushing; fever; flushing; hot flush; hypersensitivity reactions; hyperthermia; hyperthyroidism; menopause; rosacea.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climacteric
  • Female
  • Flushing / chemically induced
  • Flushing / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Symptom Assessment