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The red face: art, history and medical representations.

Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Nov;138 Suppl 3:S172-8

Authors: Cribier B

For millennia, a red face has been a handicap in social relations, mainly because of the associated bias against alcoholics. The color red is also the color of emotion, betrayal of the person who blushes. Since the color red is one of the main characteristics of rosacea, it contributes to the bad reputation this disorder has, which is therefore the subject of a pressing therapeutic demand, principally in women. Nineteenth-century French novelists such as Balzac and later Proust, admirably described blotchy, red, or sanguine faces, which always announced a difficult, violent temperament, or was simply the mark of the laboring class. The color red remains ambivalent today, on the one hand denoting blood and life and on the other suffering, shame, and death. The history of dermatology shows that the semiology of rosacea was very well described in the earliest reports, notably those written in the Middle Ages. The term "acne rosacea" appeared in Bateman's writings, who made it a clinical form of acne. This confusion lasted throughout the nineteenth century. It was not until Hebra in Austria and Darier in France that the differential diagnosis was clearly made between acne and rosacea. A "couperosis" previously referred to the entire range of the disease, particularly the papules and pustules, and it was not until the twentieth century that the current meaning of rosacea progressively gained ground: this term today designates facial telangiectasia, whether or not it is associated with a characteristic redness. Rosacea is a conspicuous disease, since the lesions involve the central portion of the face.Among the many manifestations of rosacea, redness is the most characteristic [1].

PMID: 22183095 [PubMed - in process]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?tmpl=NoSidebarfile&db=PubMed&cmd=Retrieve&list_uids=22183095&dopt=Abstract = URL to article

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