My name is Candace and I have a skin condition called rosacea.

Rosacea is a hereditary condition (my mom and sister have it, too) that is characterized by redness of the face. I get some bumpiness as well. It’s most common among women of Western European descent. It’s 100 percent cosmetic.

For the most part, I can cover it up with makeup and no one is the wiser. I’ve taken pills for it in the past. They work wonders, but they make me feel sick to my stomach, so I quit them. I’ve also used topical lotions and creams. They’ve never worked well. For me it’s triggered by spicy food, red wine and heat. I often tell people I have a red wine allergy. This is what I mean by that.

My rosacea doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable. I don’t even think about it much – except post-workout. My face gets deep red. Really. Like a red grape. In boot camp once, a fellow bootcamper felt the need to point it out. “Ohmygod! Your face is so red!” then she shriked again. “You get so red!”

I’m pretty sure the second time I shot her a dirty look. I don’t particularly enjoy having rosacea, but I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by it. Still, I didn’t really feel the need to explain my skin condition to the entire class. It does bother me when (rude) people think they should get to comment on the color of my skin. “You’re so pale, you should go tanning,” for example. I’m of Swedish and Irish descent. This is the color I am. I’m sorry if it bothers you, but it doesn’t bother me. I don’t see it as any different than commenting on someone with dark skin. And when people do that, we call them racist.

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