Why your skin changes colour

You can perk up pallor by slapping on self-tan or make-up, but your skin’s colour can also say much about your emotions and your state of health. Here’s how it works:

Pallor
Going white in the face can be an emotional response to cold, caused by anger or fright. It can also be a physical response to cold, or symptomatic of anaemia, usually caused by a lack of iron.

Blushing
Blushing occurs when your capillaries dilate, causing increased blood flow below the skin. It’s either an emotional reaction or a response to a physical condition such as overheating.

Cyanosis
A blueish hue in the skin is a symptom of a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Heightened colour
Reddened features are usually a physiological reaction, but can also be symptomatic of a skin condition such as rosacea or eczema, or of a systemic condition such as heart disease, hypertension or fever.

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