‘Elephant man’ celebrating Christmas after life-changing treatment for deformity

A man who underwent facial transformation after he was left looking like “the elephant man” is looking forward to celebrating Christmas properly this year.

Alan Findlay, 56, had been hiding away since he developed rhinophyma, a severe skin condition affecting the nose, but he is now enjoying a social life with family and friends once more.

Last year he stayed at home rather than going to his step-son’s on Christmas Day as his condition got so bad, leading to him having low self-esteem.

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Alan has always had the skin condition rosacea, a common condition which causes flushing and visible blood vessels on the face.

But on rare occasions it can develop into the more severe rhinophyma in which the skin thickens and the sebaceous glands become enlarged leading to creases and excess flesh around the nose.

In Alan’s case the condition was extreme and, although it was disfiguring, NHS skin specialists were unwilling to do anything about it, telling him he would need to go under the scalpel and that recovery could take six months.

Speaking to The Daily Record, Alan said: “It is an amazing transformation. When you compare the before and after, it is absolutely life changing for me.”

Alan, who works for a lighting company, said: “I started to notice a difference in my nose round about 2018. Creases started to appear on the right hand side. Over the course of a year they got bigger but not to the extent they were later.

“I went to my GP and got a referral to a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon. That consultation was quite scary.

“I was told it would be a difficult procedure and I would need a lot of time off work. They also said I would have to wait a long time to get it done.

“In 2020 the world fell apart for everybody and my condition progressively got worse but we weren’t able to get to see a GP."

Alan said the way he looked had a real impact on his mental health.

Alan, from Dumbarton, continued: “At Christmas last year I was particularly low.

“We generally go to my step-son’s on Christmas Day. I felt so self conscious I didn’t want to go. I just stayed home by myself. After the holidays there was a family conspiracy to get something done.”

So Alan did just that and found a specialist who treats rhinophyma with lasers.

Since having the treatment, Alan believes he has got his "life back", adding: “Christmas will be different this year, I have so much more confidence. I will be going out socialising."

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