The Impact of Facial Disfigurement

Alison Rich works for Changing Faces, a charity supporting and representing people with facial disfigurements. In advance of her talk at London’s Wellcome Collection as part of their Welcome to my World series, she invited the BBC’s Dan Bell to follow her daily commute to witness the reactions of fellow passengers to her own disfigurement.

What for everyone else is a momentary shock, followed by a double-take, for Alison is constant undermining scrutiny.

As suited workers file on to the drizzle-stained platform in south London, she is met with a series of second glances. One man stares openly, his mouth slightly open, eyebrows knitted in fascination. A woman looks away, her face full of pity.

“Some people we work with tell us people literally stand back in horror. But for me it’s that constant slow drip, drip and you can imagine what that does to someone who is not emotionally equipped.”