Facial Tingling: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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There are several possible causes of facial tingling, including the following:

Table of Contents


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A tingling sensation in the face can be the result of medications that affect nerve function.

Certain medications can affect nerve function. Although symptoms usually disappear once a person stops taking the medication, in rare cases nerve damage can be permanent.

People undergoing treatment for: hiv, AIDS, or cancer may be more at risk for facial tingling because of their medications. Other medications that can affect nerve function include:

  • medicines for heart disease or blood pressure
  • thalidomide
  • medicines for infections, such as fluoroquinolones
  • anti-alcohol drugs
  • dapsone (Aczone), a treatment for skin conditions

Nerve-related side effects of medications can include:

  • tingling sensations
  • weakness
  • other unusual sensations, such as a burning or stinging sensation, which may start in the hands and feet
  • numbness

Bell’s palsy

Bell’s palsy is a type of skull neuropathy that arises from the inflammation of a nerve in the face. It causes temporary paralysis on one side of the face.

People may notice the following facial symptoms:

  • hanging on one side of the face
  • distorted face
  • drool
  • weakness
  • pain around the ear and jaw
  • ringing in the ears
  • headache
  • dry eyes or mouth
  • dizziness
  • difficulty using the mouth to speak, eat, or drink
  • muscle twitching or involuntary movements

Bell’s palsy can affect anyone, but that’s about it more often in people between the ages of 15 and 60. It affects about 40,000 people in the United States every year.

People with diabetes mellitus or upper respiratory tract disorders, such as the flu, have a higher risk of getting Bell’s palsy.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that affects the central nervous system. Tingling and numbness in the face are among the possible symptoms of MS. People can also experience these sensations in other parts of the body, such as the hands or feet.

The symptoms of MS can vary from person to person, but may include:

Risk factors for developing MS include both genetic and environmental factors.


shingles on the face

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A person with shingles may experience tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation on the skin.

People can develop shingles if they have had chicken-pox in the past, and the virus is reactivated after it lies dormant in the body. Shingles usually affects a small area on one side of the face or body. Symptoms include:

  • tingling
  • numbness
  • fever, chills and headache
  • itch
  • a red rash
  • pain
  • a burning sensation on the skin

People who are more at risk of getting shingles include older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

Heart attack

Tingling or numbness in the face can be a symptom of a heart attack. the acronym FAST can help people quickly recognize the warning signs of a stroke:

face: One side of the face hangs down and smile becomes crooked

ANrms: Weakness in the arms and inability to keep them overhead

sPeech: Difficult to understand or slurred speech

ttime to call 911: seek emergency medical help even if symptoms disappear

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal nerve irritation can lead to: trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes severe pain in the face. People may experience a stinging sensation or electric shock on one side of their face.

People may feel tingling in the face before experiencing frequent bursts of pain. Medications can help a person manage the condition.

hemiplegic migraine

hemiplegic migraine is a rare type migraine causing one side of the face or body to become weak. It can also cause tingling or numbness in the face. Other symptoms include:

  • headache
  • vision problems
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • increased sensitivity to light and sound

nerve damage

Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can occur as a result of disease or injury.

People are at greater risk of nerve damage if they have the following conditions:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • autoimmune disease
  • serious infections
  • high blood sugar levels

Genetics can also contribute to a person’s risk of nerve damage.

Focal neuropathy affects a single nerve, and people may notice symptoms in one part of the body, such as the face. Symptoms may include:

  • tingling sensations
  • inability to move one side of the face
  • pain behind the eyes
  • vision problems, such as loss of focus or double vision
  • hearing problems
  • pain in the back, thighs or chest area

Epilepsy and Seizures

Although it is rare, people with epilepsy sometimes tingling or numbness in the face or other parts of the body during a partial seizure.

Symptoms can also include:

  • twitching
  • nausea
  • dilated pupils
  • to sweat

Other causes

Tingling in the face can also be due to other conditions, such as:

  • colds and sinusitis
  • anxiety and voltage
  • an allergic reaction
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • a head wound

Treatment depends on the condition causing facial tingling. Stress can increase pain levels under certain circumstances, so reducing stress and focusing on relaxation can help the body recover.

If people have a skin condition, such as shingles, applying a cool compress can help ease the pain. Taking an oatmeal bath or using calamine lotion can also help.

People with Bell’s palsy can take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen. Wearing an eye patch and using eye drops can also help protect the affected eye.

A team of health care professionals can work with people with MS to develop a treatment program to help manage the condition.

People with epilepsy can reduce the risk of seizures by making sure they get enough sleep.

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