We blush when we’re embarrassed, but many of us become embarrassed when we blush. It’s a catch-22 that some people are so affected by, they are now opting for surgery to prevent blushing altogether. Called Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy, the surgery was previously used to prevent excess sweating, but surgeons in the UK have discovered that it’s also effective for treating uncontrollable blushing. I’ve always viewed blushing as “adorable” and nothing more, and wasn’t aware just how irksome it can be to some people. But I say, unless you’re bleeding or dying, there’s no need for this kind of surgery.
Blushing occurs when excess blood flows just under the skin to the small blood vessels, which are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy works by blocking a branch of the nervous system called the T2 ganglion, which also produces other automatic reactions like breathing, blood pressure, and sweating. Doctors at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust in the UK, who have performed the procedure with a high success rate, also warn that side effects of the surgery include hyperhydrosis. So, in other words, blushing is not something we can control, and by having the surgery to alter our nervous system, we can increase other “embarrassing” automatic reactions like sweating.
Admittedly, I don’t have a problem with blushing, but when news of this surgical procedure hit the airwaves, many of Blisstree’s readers wrote in to voice their experiences with blushing — the general consensus being that, yeah, it’s embarrassing, but surgery is not the way to go.
Many people who experience blushing said that they actually enjoyed it.
Rae said he would never do anything to prevent it, since “It’s the only way I get some colour in my face!”
Catherine said that even though she tends to blush a lot, she would never have go under the knife. “It’s charming to people,” she says. “Why in the world would anyone want to have surgery?”
Alex pointed out that blushing is one of the great indicators that people have complex emotions. “They’re feeling something. Humanity exposed. Yay,” he said.
Rachel, who admits that she blushes all the time, said she’d never have the surgery for two reason, “It makes me who I am. Plus I don’t gots the money.”
And of course, let’s not forget how blushing can also be a great emotional indicator during flirting and courtship. Shannon, who says that she blushes “like a fool,” and that everyone always notices it, said that she uses her rosy cheeks to her advantage when dating. ”Most boys think that it’s adorable and I work the adorable angle hard.”
J.D. agreed with Shannon, saying that “Girls that blush are super cute.”
People’s reaction to the idea of surgery also took a serious note about the societal implications it espouses — most notably, that the desire for people to rid themselves of any perceived imperfection is approaching critical levels.
Sabrina, showing a disdain for all of the elective procedures on the market today like botox, wryly said, “Yes, let’s rid our faces of all human expression, one procedure at a time.”
Bryan echoed Sabrina’s sentiment, and said that blushing is just a ”reaction the body naturally does in that situation. People always want to be perfect, though.”
However, some people said this kind of surgery proved to be good news. Jason, who feels like he reveals too many vulnerabilities when he blushes, said, “I’m red like roses when I blush. I wish I could control it. I don’t know when it happens, so its feels uncontrollable. It also means I can’t have a poker face.”
Sabrina and Bryan have raised very important issues, and I’m forced to agree. We have way too many elective cosmetic surgeries on the market that wish to turn us into emotionless, wrinkle-free, flawless zombies, and it is a standard that many women feel pressure to live up to. Blushing, more often than not, is seen by the majority as an endearing quality, and to suppress it would be analogous to having each freckle removed one by one. And because this kind of surgery can easily result in excess sweating, you may just be replacing one embarrassing condition for another, leading to a whole new set of problems.
Instead of investing all that money, and energy, and pain into changing something that in no way hinders your professional or personal life, I think perhaps we should invest our energy into liking ourselves just the way we are.
Besides, we all know blushing isn’t something we can’t help, so if someone is judging you unfairly for getting a little a little pink in the face, then they’re not worth your time.
What do you think about Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy? Does blushing affect you so much that you would opt for surgery? Or does the mere idea of it leave you red in the face? Sound off in our comments section below.