Symptoms A-Z

Feel Like Your Face is Tingling? Learn Common Causes & Treatments

The sensation of face tingling is most commonly caused by anxiety or a panic attack. Tingling and numbness in the face can also be caused by nerve sensitivity or damage, specifically known as Bell's Palsy. Read below for more information on related symptoms, other causes, and treatment options.

This symptom can also be referred to as: facial paresthesia

Face Tingling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your face tingling

Facial Tingling and Numbness Symptoms

Facial tingling can be caused by a variety of neurological or medical conditions. The most common cause of facial tingling is anxiety or a panic attack. However, irritation or damage to the nerves in the face cause facial tingling along with numbness or weakness. If the facial tingling is due to mild anxiety, it may be able to be managed at home with lifestyle modifications. However, most causes of facial tingling require evaluation and treatment by a doctor.

Symptoms that can be associated with facial tingling include

It's likely to also experience the following:

  • Facial numbness
  • Facial droop
  • Other neurologic symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Facial pain
  • Rash
  • Skin changes

Symptoms of face tingling that indicate an emergency

If you experience the following, seek treatment immediately, as these may be symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden-onset numbness or tingling of the face
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty finding your words
  • Drooping on one side of the face

What Can Cause Tingling and Numbness in the Face?

The most common cause of facial tingling is anxiety; it is common for people experiencing anxiety or panic attacks to report facial numbness or tinging. Facial tingling can also be a symptom of a variety of neurologic problems or medical illnesses. Irritation or damage to the nerves in the face can cause tingling. Some causes of damage to the facial nerves include multiple sclerosis, infections, or tumors. Additionally, tingling in the face, especially if accompanied by facial droop or other neurologic symptoms, may be symptoms of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Finally, tingling in the face may be from local anesthesia due to a dental or facial procedure.

Reversible causes

Causes of face tingling that are likely temporary or reversible include the following.

  • Anxiety: Numbness, tingling, or pain the face can be a manifestation of anxiety. Sometimes, people experiencing anxiety or a panic attack experience a tightening of the muscles of the neck and shoulders. This can restrict blood flow to the face and cause the tingling sensation.
  • Anesthesia: Local anesthesia from dental or facial procedures can cause numbness or tingling in the face. Typically, the sensation will wear off within several hours, however, it is not uncommon for people to report numbness or tingling in the face for up to 12 hours following local anesthesia.

Neurological causes

Neurological causes of face tingling include the following.

  • Stroke: A stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) is when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked, causing numbness, weakness, or other neurological problems in the body. A stroke refers to permanent damage due to lack of blood flow. A TIA refers to symptoms due to blocked blood flow that then resolve and can be a warning sign of stroke.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: MS is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the sheath around nerves in the body. Without this protective sheath, the nerves become damaged. Numbness or tingling in the face can be a symptom of nerve damage from MS.
  • Nerve problem: The nerve that controls sensation to the face can become irritated or inflamed, causing numbness, tingling or pain in the face. The cause of this condition is often unknown. Typically, symptoms are intense and short-lived, and occur only on one side of the face.

Medical illness causes

Causes of face tingling related to another medical illness may include the following.

  • Infection: The chickenpox virus can cause a condition known as shingles. Shingles presents with a painful rash, usually in a particular distribution along a nerve's path and only on one side of the body. If the rash is on the face, in the mouth, or in the ear, it can be accompanied by pain, numbness or tingling in the face. Sometimes, the pain and tingling precede the rash by days.
  • Systemic illness: There is a group of systemic disorders known as scleroderma that affect blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels may restrict blood flow to the face, causing numbness and tingling. Other symptoms include skin changes like itching, swelling, or tightening of the skin, particularly of the fingers and toes.
  • Tumor: There are some tumors, particularly tumors of the ear canal, that can compress or irritate the nerves of the face and cause numbness, tingling, or facial droop.

6 Possible Face Tingling Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced face tingling. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Bell's palsy

Bell’s palsy can present as acute or chronic facial paralysis. This paralysis is usually sudden in onset and worsens over the course of 48 hours. Resolution of symptoms usually occurs within two weeks to six months but permanent paralysis can rarely occur. Symptoms of this condition are a result of the paralysis of facial muscles. This paralysis usually occurs only on one side of the face. The cause of Bell’s palsy is inflammation or damage to the facial nerve, also known as cranial nerve VII. This nerve controls the muscles of the face. Treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation or targeting the underlying cause of facial nerve paralysis.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: arm weakness, facial numbness, arm weakness, hearing loss, pain on one side of the face

Symptoms that always occur with bell's palsy: face weakness, weakness in one side of the face

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Nose or sinus tumor

A tumor in the nose or one of the sinuses occurs due to abnormal growth of the cells lining the inside of the nose and sinuses. These tumors are rare and can cause symptoms like congestion or blockage, nose bleeds and sometimes facial pain or swelling.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: new headache, congestion, vision changes, ear fullness/pressure, ear pain

Symptoms that never occur with nose or sinus tumor: improving congestion

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack)

Transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is sometimes called a "mini stroke" or a "warning stroke." Any stroke means that blood flow somewhere in the brain has been blocked by a clot.

Risk factors include smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, though anyone can experience a TIA.

Symptoms are "transient," meaning they come and go within minutes because the clot dissolves or moves on its own. Stroke symptoms include weakness, numbness, and paralysis on one side of the face and/or body; slurred speech; abnormal vision; and sudden, severe headache.

A TIA does not cause permanent damage because it is over quickly. However, the patient must get treatment because a TIA is a warning that a more damaging stroke is likely to occur. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; CT scan or MRI; and electrocardiogram.

Treatment includes anticoagulant medication to prevent further clots. Surgery to clear some of the arteries may also be recommended.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dizziness, leg numbness, arm numbness, new headache, stiff neck

Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack): bilateral weakness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Face Tingling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your face tingling

Panic or anxiety attack(s)

Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s): anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Multiple sclerosis (ms)

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system. The body's immune system attacks nerve fibers and their myelin covering. This causes irreversible scarring called "sclerosis," which interferes with the transmission of signals between the brain and the body.

The cause is unknown. It may be connected to a genetic predisposition. The disease usually appears between ages 20 to 50 and is far more common in women than in men. Other risk factors include family history; viral infections such as Epstein-Barr; having other autoimmune diseases; and smoking.

Symptoms include numbness or weakness in arms, legs, or body; partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes; tingling or shock-like sensation, especially in the neck; tremor; and loss of coordination.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, neurological examination, blood tests, MRI, and sometimes a spinal tap.

There is no cure for MS, but treatment with corticosteroids and plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) can slow the course of the disease and manage symptoms for better quality of life.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: severe fatigue, constipation, numbness, decreased sex drive, signs of optic neuritis

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Shingles (herpes zoster)

Shingles is a painful rash that results when the varicella zoster virus (VZV) — the same virus that causes the chickenpox — becomes reactivated. It results in a painful rash of small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) over a single strip of skin on one side of the body...

How to Treat Tingling in the Face

Some causes of facial tingling symptoms can be managed at home. If the tingling is due to muscle tension and anxiety, try some lifestyle modifications to help relax and mitigate anxiety symptoms. However, many causes of facial tingling require evaluation and treatment by a doctor. A doctor may order imaging, either a CT scan or an MRI, to look for possible causes of facial tingling including stroke, tumor, or multiple sclerosis (MS). A doctor may order blood tests to help determine the cause.

When it is an emergency

Seek emergency treatment if you suddenly experience:

  • Numbness or tingling in the face or body: Especially if it comes on suddenly or is only on one side
  • Facial droop: Particularly if only on one side
  • Confusion or disorientation

At-home treatment for face tingling

If the tingling in your face is due to mild anxiety, it might be possible to manage at home. Try the following:

  • Take deep breaths
  • Relax in a hot bath: Or some other light activity you enjoy
  • Practice mindfulness: Various apps are available to help with this.
  • Get a massage

When to see a doctor for face tingling

If your face tingling persists or worsens, you should see a doctor. He or she may recommend the following medical or professional treatments.

  • Imaging: If you have new-onset tingling in the face, a doctor may order imaging of the face and head to help determine the cause. A doctor will order a CT or MRI if they suspect stroke is the cause of the tingling in your face.
  • Blood tests: If a doctor suspects a systemic medical illness is the cause of the tingling in your face, they may recommend blood tests to help determine the cause and help guide treatment.
  • Mental health referral: If a doctor suspects the tingling in your face is due to severe or recurrent anxiety or panic attacks, they may refer you to a mental health professional. There are variety of treatments for anxiety including therapy, medications, and mindfulness-based practices.
  • Medication: If a doctor suspects the tingling in your face is due an infection, they may prescribe antivirals to treat the cause. If a doctor suspects a systemic medical illness is the cause of your facial tingling, they may recommend other types of medication.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Face Tingling

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you been experiencing any muscle weakness that is symmetrical (equal on both sides of your body)?
  • Have you lost some or all of your sense of taste?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric issue, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a specific type of headache?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your face tingling

Face Tingling Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced face tingling have also experienced:

  • 12% Hand Tingling
  • 9% Tingling Foot
  • 8% Tingling Forearm

People who have experienced face tingling were most often matched with:

  • 50% Stroke Or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)
  • 28% Nose Or Sinus Tumor
  • 21% Bell'S Palsy

People who have experienced face tingling had symptoms persist for:

  • 56% Less than a day
  • 19% Less than a week
  • 13% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Face Tingling Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your face tingling

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.