Tingling or numbness in face is the sensation of being pierced by numerous needles or pins in your facial area. This condition can have multiple causes. It can be due to nerve damage or it can be caused by a reaction from long exposure to cold temperature. Another cause that can lead to tingling in the face is neuropathy. This is a condition in which the nerves that send messages between the brain and the body do not function well.
There are cases that the tingling in face is only painful when it is touched. In other cases, the pain is present all the time even without being touched. The tingling sensation may also include blisters, numbness, or skin discoloration. The tingling sensation can manifest in different ways. It can affect the entire face or just a small area. In most cases, this sensation produces uneasiness and can also be accompanied by soreness.
Causes and Treatments of Tingling or Numbness in Face
The tingling sensation, or “pins and needles” is also known as paresthesia. The symptoms start as tingling sensation (paresthesia) and later on the sensation of numbness. These types of sensation, tingling, numbness, or burning sensation, is a symptom related to damaged, injured, or diseased sensory nerve. The main cause depends on the location of the tingling sensation. However, it usually includes nerve damage or disease that affects the nerves. The common causes of numbness and tingling in face are:
1. Stress and Anxiety
When the body is always stressed and anxiety occurs inside the mind, it can lead to reactions that can affect the face in many ways. A burning or tingling sensation in the face is one of the symptoms of anxiety and may become worse because facial tingling is often associated with multiple sclerosis. This scares more people and makes anxiety severe. However, multiple sclerosis is rare. The best way to know the difference is by speaking to a doctor.
In addition to facial tingling, other symptoms of anxiety include reddened face, bleeding lips due to biting and dilation of the pupils. The best way to overcome the symptoms of anxiety is to stop worrying about the symptoms and be honest with the people around you. The more you hide the truth, the more you become anxious. Most people may not notice your anxiety, and they can only help when they know.
2. Nerve Problems
Another cause of tingling in the face is injury to trigeminal nerve. Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that affects the nerves in the face, which can be painful. In some cases, the tingling sensation or shock can be intense. The pain can also be triggered when brushing your teeth, and some people go to dentists, believing that it is an abscessed tooth. Other symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia include:
- Short periods of stabbing pain.
- Pain when applying makeup.
- Pain when washing the face or shaving.
- Wind may also trigger the pain and last for seconds up to few minutes.
- For women, periods may occur even when you are not yet due.
This condition is caused by a blood vessel pressing on the nerve and leads to damages. Diseases like multiple sclerosis and tumor can also damage the nerve. Trigeminal neuralgia can also occur if the arteries are tangled and press the nerve. Accident, surgery or stroke can also lead to this condition. Doctors can provide you treatment and may prescribe medicines to prevent the nerves from getting irritated, which are called anticonvulsants. If the medication does not help, surgery may be required.
3. Cerebrovascular Accident
The tingling in the face can also be a symptom of cerebrovascular accident. CVA is the medical term for a stroke. This happens when the blood vessel is ruptured or blocked, which stops the blood circulation to a part of the brain. The symptoms of stroke may differ from one person to another. Even if the symptoms are not severe, they can develop over time. The symptoms of stroke or cerebrovascular accident are:
- Numbness or paralysis in the face, arm, or leg.
- Difficulty in walking.
- Blurred or darkened vision.
- Sudden headache, vomiting, nausea
- Loss of balance and coordination
These symptoms are important signs and you should be alert. If you suspect that you or someone you know have the symptoms of stroke, visit a doctor right away to receive proper treatment. Leaving the condition untreated will result to permanent damage in certain parts of the brain. Your doctor will have to perform physical examination and check the sound of the blood vessels. Your doctor may also have to perform tests such as angiogram, blood test, electrocardiogram and magnetic resonance imaging.
4. Exposure to Extreme Temperature
Another cause of tingling in the face is the exposure to extreme cold or hot temperature. If your face was exposed to cold air, this leads to temporary numbness or tingling feeling. People who are more sensitive to cold can experience this whenever they are exposed to extreme cold temperature.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
Another cause of tingling in face is Multiple sclerosis.It is a condition that affects the spinal cord and the brain that may lead to disability. In MS, your immune system attacks the myelin (protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers), which leads to problems in the communication between your body and the brain. This may lead to deterioration of the nerves and become damaged permanently.
The early symptoms of MS include tingling, numbness, blurred vision and weakness. Other signs of multiple sclerosis are confusion, stiffness and urinary issues. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis may vary from one to another, depending on the area of the damaged nerves. Some people who have severe multiple sclerosis may not be able to walk alone.
- Numbness or weakness of limbs, or trunk or legs.
- Prolonged double vision.
- Partial or complete loss of sight.
- Tingling sensation or pain in areas of the body.
- Dizziness and fatigue
- Unclear speech
- Electric-shock sensation when moving the neck
- Bladder and bowel problems
According to your medical history and examination, your doctor may recommend blood tests, lumbar puncture, MRI and Evoked potential tests.
6. Exposure to chemicals
If you are always exposed to harmful chemicals in your job, or the cleaning products that you use at home are harsh, you are likely to experience the symptoms.
- Dimethylhydrazine is a chemical used in rocket and jet fuel, photography, plant growth agent and many other purposes. Facial numbness can occur when exposed to this chemical or ingested.
- Sodium Monofluoracetate is a chemical for controlling mammal pests in crops. Exposures or ingestion of this chemical can lead to many symptoms and may depend on the amount of chemical absorbed. This can also lead to facial paresthesia.
- DDD is a chemical used as pesticides. When absorbed through the skin, it can lead to facial paresthesia.
- DDT is also another chemicals used for controlling insect pests on crops. A person may experience facial paresthesia when the chemical is absorbed through the skin.
7. Brain tumor
If the brain tumor presses on nerves related to the facial area, tingling in face can occur. The cause of brain tumors is still unknown but according to research, there are some risk factors.
- Children who have received radiation treatments can have higher risk of having brain tumor.
- People who also have rare genetic conditions such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome or neurofibromatosis may develop brain tumor.
- People above the age of 65 are at risk.
Not all primary brain tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors do not usually spread to other tissues, but there are cases that they can be severe and life threatening.
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a skin rash caused by varicella zoster virus. The symptoms appear in a small part on one side of the body or face. If you had chickenpox before, the virus in the body becomes dormant. Shingles occurs when the virus wakes up again, due to stress, aging or disease. There are also medicines that can trigger the virus to start up and lead to shingle rashes.
Singles are not contagious, but it the virus can spread to someone who has not had chickenpox before, or hasn’t gotten vaccine for it. Aside from rashes and tingling in the face, other symptoms include headache, flu, light sensitivity and pain in some areas. Your rashes may also turn into blisters, which will take at least two weeks to heal.
If you suspect yourself or someone that you know has shingles, visit a doctor immediately to have early treatment.
Other Causes of Tingling in the Face
- Vitamin deficiencies – Another cause that can lead to tingling sensation in the face is lack of essential vitamins, such as vitamin B. This leads to inefficient muscle contractions that send wrong signals to the body.
- Head injury – If you had an injury, you may feel a tingling sensation which is a sign of a damaged nerve.
- Medication – The symptom may also appear if you are taking certain medication. Before you take your medicine, make sure that you read carefully the prescription and check the side-effects. If you are experiencing tingling sensation, you can ask your doctor for alternatives.
- Migraine – The symptoms of migraine also include throbbing in the forehead, jaw, ears or around the eye. You may also experience vision disturbance, nausea and weakness.
- Menopause – The depletion of ova or termination of the women’s menstrual cycle can also cause the tingling sensation in the face.