In Need of Red-Faced Rehab:

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

In late 2013, talk show hosts and comedians got an early Christmas gift: Toronto mayor Rob Ford in the political definition of "Hot mess."  Videos surfaced of Ford lighting up and inhaling from a glass pipe, the type typically used for smoking crack.  Though he initially denied abusing the substance, he eventually relented, admitting “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine but ... am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Um, probably in one of my drunken stupors.” In addition to repeated gaffes at various press conferences, Ford’s appearance, balding, jowly, with a crimson face may have added to his being a satirical target. 

SNL cast member Bobby Moynihan’s spoof specifically brought up this issue.  When interviewed, Moynihan as Ford states “I feel like my public image is suffering because I don’t have any good photos so every time I’m in the news they show one where I’m all sweaty or red-faced or my neck is missing.” 


Ford’s cherry-red face has become his own scarlet letter. Even Ford's bobble-head is blushing.

Though he admitted to drinking binges and the Toronto City Council voted to remove the majority of his powers, Ford has not publically agreed to step down or attend alcohol and drug rehab.  Perhaps baby steps may be taken to address Ford’s public image melt down. He could start by reducing his facial redness.

Redness of the face has many causes, including genetic triggers, sun damage and the adult acne condition known as rosacea.  The flushed appearance is typically related to the dilation of tiny superficial facial blood vessels. Mirvaso  (Brimonidine) is a prescription topical gel that was approved by the US FDA in 2013.  Within about a half hour after application, the gel blanches out dilated facial blood vessels.  From beet red to normal skin tone, by using a drug that's entirely legal!  The effect, while temporary, can last 9-12 hours, enough to get through several press conferences.  A burning sensation and subsequent flushing are rare potential side effects. If one is prone other aspects of rosacea, such as swelling and pimples, other treatments may be required.


If Ford tried Mirvaso gel, the initial benefit to his appearance may lead to other healthy choices, in life and politics.  We are not claiming it would be a cure-all for him.  Mirvaso helps treat Red-face, but is not a therapy for any remaining conditions, such as Hot-head, Crack-head or S**t-face.

Runners up:  In Need of Red-Faced Rehab:

The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians mascots

Almost as controversial as Rob Ford’s shenanigans in 2013 is the persistent use of red-faced racially stereotypical football mascots.  Chief Wahoo requires a societal shift, not just a topical gel.

Dr. Reese and have no financial involvement with the makers of Mirvaso.

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