When Pearl Poole first found out she had rosacea, she couldn't believe her misfortune.
"I had acne as a teenager and it was detrimental to my self-esteem," Pearl said. "I already had a shy and sensitive nature."
She learned to live with her acne, though. "I couldn't wear makeup, so I tried to look my best in other ways," she said. "Although I wasn't a social butterfly, I did find true love and have a wonderful family."
Yet it was another blow to her self-esteem when she began developing signs of rosacea in her early 50s.
"At first, I started noticing people were staring at me, but I didn't know why," she said. "Then, I noticed my face felt unusually hot, and I had stinging, itching and burning sensations."
That's when she saw a picture of herself taken at a celebration. Her face looked red and puffy. It was obvious something was happening. Then one day during a yard sale a woman told her, "You must have rosacea."
Finally, she saw a dermatologist, who diagnosed her with the disorder. She started using medications for rosacea and also began taking precautions to avoid things that aggravate her individual condition, including alcohol and spicy foods.
"I still get redness in certain situations, but right now I feel pretty much in control," Pearl said. "My rosacea doesn't seem to be getting any worse."
Having things in control for the most part helps Pearl stay positive through the occasional flare-up. When her face turns red, she knows just what to do.
"I've learned that when people stare, just break out in your best smile."