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Making the Outside Match the Inside

I tanned. As child people occasionally mistook me for a Latina. My skin would pass bronze and go right into brown, my hair would streak with reds and oranges. I felt good when I had color, and doctors told us to get a healthy tan.

I still spend a good bit of time outdoors and though I slather myself with sunscreens every day of the year, I play tennis and run. Exercising indoors is punishment to me. I get color.

Oh, and I have roseacea. Really really bad rosacea. The sort that makes your skin burn when water touches it. I’ve tried everything from Oracea to Metrogel to Finacea. The only thing that keeps my roseacea under control is the laser. The laser hurts. The laser is expensive and it honestly, truly hurts my face.

This morning I showed up to the doctor at 10am and they began by smearing a compound of numbing agents all over my face. I sat for an hour and then they started. First the nurse ran the Aurora laser across my face with a medium setting. I didn’t feel much of anything except the tender spots near my nose. Even that was tolerable, because mostly I was numb. Next there was a pass of the same laser at a high level. It hurt a little bit. The V-Beam laser came next. It’s like having pebbles and air flung in your face. Two passes, one moderate, one high.

I laid on the table thinking, “Would I want this for my daughter? What would my mother say if she stood in the room right now?”

It’s just after 4, when I look in the mirror I appear battered.

My skin betrays me, it tells the secrets of the nights I stayed up, the cigarettes I smoked, and the sun I worshiped. My roseacea was triggered by pregnancy, and I became flush eleven years ago.

Making the outside match the inside, well, it hurts.


3 thoughts on “Making the Outside Match the Inside”

  1. I don’t have roseacea but I relate to skin changing after pregnancy. I did a short stint of tanning beds about 8 years ago to even up some tan lines after I got badly burnt and my nose is completely ruined. So many sunspots and broken capilliaries (probably from the smoking and boozing of my youth!).

  2. I’m looking into lasers, glad you’re the guinea pig on this one. I spent the better part of my teen years smearing baby oil onto my paper-white skin and broiling in the Southern sun. In college I worked at a tanning salon and would end my shift with an extralong “tan” and a Marlboro light (yes, with the tanning bed cracked open it is actually possible to smoke AND tan simultaneously).

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when I look in my morning mirror I see a Sharpei looking back.

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