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Rosacea in Literature


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A thread at RF started by King Crimson about Rosacea in Literature is interesting so I felt it worthy to repeat what he posted here:

"Many a dermatologist has stated that the skin often reflects the state of the internal, citing anxiety as one of the principal triggers for rosacea. Furthermore, rosacea is exacerbated by dealing with the condition in isolation – a predicament many sufferers find themselves in, due to the embarrassing nature of the condition. Even if you do talk about it, you are likely to retreat back to a place of thwarting solitude as you soon learn that you can no longer mention it to friends or family as the face is too subjective a concern for them to be able to see what you see. Frustrated with your pre-occupation of your appearance, family will find you unreasonable and start feeding you soft lines such as “you are more than just your face” (these usually turn out to be the same people who despair when they wake one morning with a pimple).

The stress is only the first vicious circle a rosacean encounters. The second occurs when trying to combat the condition with moisturisers, sunscreens, and all manner of creams that promise ‘redness relief.’ As a starting point, dermatologists recommend a high spf sunscreen as an integral part of your skin care regime. However, high spf sunscreens tend to be thick and creamy, often leaving the rosacean with greasy skin and clogged pores, which in turn can worsen the condition. So, after a little Internet research, you opt for the light fluid sunscreen that dries to a matte finish. The problem here, however, is that a matte finish is often achieved through the use of alcohol denat (this makes sense as alcohol denat has a drying property and is, consequently, often used in products that are designed to treat acne). But this ingredient often proves too drying for those with sensitive skin, resulting in flaking and itchiness. Back to square one. What follows then is the third vicious circle, whereby the rosacea patient is forced to trial any number of products in their quest to find the holy grail of skin care products, only to have the constant switching between products play havoc with their skin.

You have no choice but to put up with the hectoring frustration privately, which ultimately leads you to getting landlocked in your own head. My security role aided my introspection. Working unsociable hours found me falling into myself. And this suited me fine, although coping alone in this manner made it difficult to see past the condition. You end up trying to analyse your face at every turn: in shop mirrors, window reflections, photos. This led to a new condition that ran alongside my rosacea called ereuthrophobia - the fear of going red. (How ironic to be such a pedant on the subject and yet now have my skin so badly damaged.) Consequently, my rosacea – and by extension my ereuthrophobia – meant that I was left with a rash sitting incongruously on the cheekbone under my left eye that prompted forthright students to ask, “Mate, what’s that on your face?”

The book, The Face Burns Red [Kindle Edition] by Greg Simmons is available at amazon.

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