Tingling in the face can occur for a variety of reasons. These include medications, Bell’s palsy, and shingles.

Healthcare professionals may refer to the tingling sensations as paresthesia. Tingling in the face may be a temporary sensation, or it might be a symptom of an underlying condition.

This article lists and explains some of the reasons tingling in the face may occur. It also discusses the diagnosis process and treatment options.

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

People undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer may be more at risk of experiencing tingling in the face due to their medications.

Other medications that can affect nerve function include:

  • drugs for heart conditions or blood pressure
  • anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • medicines for infections, such as fluoroquinolones (Cipro and Levaquin)
  • anti-alcohol drugs, such as Disulfiram
  • dapsone (Aczone), a treatment for skin conditions
  • antituberculous drugs

Nerve-related side effects of medications may include:

  • tingling sensations
  • weakness
  • other unusual sensations, such as burning or prickling, which may begin in the hands and feet
  • numbness

Bell’s palsy is a type of cranial neuropathy that results from the inflammation of a nerve in the face. It causes temporary paralysis to one side of the face.

People may notice the following symptoms in the face:

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

Bell’s palsy can affect anyone, but it is more common in people between the ages of 15 and 45 years. It affects about 40,000 people in the United States each year.

People with diabetes, upper respiratory conditions, obesity, or hypertension may be more likely to develop Bell’s palsy.


Many people will fully recover from Bell’s palsy without treatment.

If treatment is required it may include:

  • massage to prevent loss of muscle function
  • corticosteroids, for optimal benefits these should be given within 72 hours of symptom onset
  • eye drops or eye protection to prevent damage to the affected eye

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, and they may be the first symptoms a person experiences. People may 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.


There is currently no cure for MS. Treatments include medications to help slow the progression of the condition and various medications and therapies to help manage specific symptoms.

Read about MS treatments.

People can develop shingles if they have had chickenpox in the past.

Shingles occur when the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivates after lying dormant in the body. They usually affect a small area on one side of the face or body. However, this depends on the affected nerve path. If it affects nearby nerves, in some cases, causing shingles to affect a larger area.

Symptoms include:

  • tingling
  • numbness
  • fever, chills, and headaches
  • itchiness
  • painful blisters
  • pain
  • a burning sensation on the skin

People who are more at risk of getting shingles include older adults and those with a weakened immune system.


Treatment for shingles generally includes antiviral medications, such as Acyclovir or Valacyclovir. A healthcare professional may also recommend either prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Wet compresses, oatmeal baths, and calamine lotion can also help to ease itching.

Certain people may also be eligible for the shingles vaccine that can help prevent the condition.

Read about home remedies for shingles.

Tingling or numbness in the face can be a symptom of a stroke.

The acronym FAST can help people identify the warning signs of a stroke quickly:

  • Face: One side of the face is drooping, and smiling becomes lopsided
  • Arms: Weakness in the arms, and inability to keep them raised above the head
  • Speech: Difficult to understand or slurred speech
  • Time to call 911: Seek emergency medical help, even if the symptoms go away

Learn more about FAST and symptoms of stroke.


Treatment typically depends on the type of stroke. However, it generally involves medications, surgery or other procedures, and rehabilitation.

Read about first aid for stroke.

Irritation of the trigeminal nerve can lead to trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes intense pain in the face. People may experience a stabbing or electric shock sensation on one side of their face.

They may feel tingling in the face before experiencing frequent bursts of pain.

Trigeminal neuralgia affects around 4 to 13 out of 100,000 people each year. It more commonly occurs in individuals over the age of 50 years.


Medications can help a person manage the condition. If medications are not effective, surgery may be an option to help treat the condition.

Hemiplegic migraine is a rare type of migraine that causes one side of the face or body to become weak. It can also cause tingling or numbness in the face.

Other symptoms include:

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


Treatment for hemiplegic migraine may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It may also include medications to help with nausea, as well as, preventive medications.

Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, can happen as a result of illness or injury.

People are at a higher risk of developing nerve damage if they have the following conditions:

  • diabetes
  • autoimmune disease
  • severe infections
  • hypothyroidism
  • chronic kidney disease
  • vitamin deficiency

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 area of the body, such as the face. Symptoms can include:

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

Learn about peripheral neuropathy.


Treatment generally focuses on managing the underlying conditions that may be causing neuropathy.

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

Symptoms can also include:

  • muscle jerking
  • nausea
  • decreased responsiveness
  • sweating


The most common treatment for epilepsy is antiseizure medications.

Read about medications for epilepsy.

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

A doctor may diagnose the cause of face tingling by carrying out a physical examination, which will typically include reflex, sensation, and balance tests. They may also use diagnostic tests to help them diagnose the underlying condition that is causing the tingling.

Tests may include:

  • CT or MRI scans to show images of the brain or face
  • electromyography, which is a test to show the electrical activity of muscles
  • X-rays or ultrasounds of the heart and blood vessels
  • an electroencephalogram (EEG) to show brain wave activity
  • blood tests to check for thyroid levels, vitamin levels, and blood counts

If an individual experiences tingling in the face for unknown reasons, or their symptoms do not pass, they should contact a healthcare professional.

Anyone who notices signs of a stroke or has any severe symptoms should seek emergency medical help or call 911.

Tingling in the face can often be a temporary sensation due to short-term conditions. People may be able to recover from the condition with at-home treatments and plenty of rest.

In some cases, tingling in the face may be a symptom of an underlying condition that will require further treatment.