What is rosacea: Why I wear make up.

April is Global Awareness Month for rosacea and I’ve been doing some blog posts to share my story and give some advice that I wish I had been given when I was in the early stages. You can read my blog on my diagnosis HERE, read about lifestyle changes I made to manage my flare ups HERE. I have also written about the skincare that helps me to keep everything under control. But first I wanted to talk about why I wear make up, covering the psychological aspects of rosacea and how these form an (often overlooked) part of the disease.

What is rosacea: Why I wear make up.

1 in 10 people in the UK have rosacea (according to the NHS) so it’s surprising that so few people have heard of it. I think this lack of information is probably a big part of why many people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. I had no idea what rosacea was until I was diagnosed and I was offered very little advice from my first doctor.

I was told that if I was serious about helping my rosacea that I should stop wearing make up completely. He wanted me to apply a thick emollient every two hours to help my dermatitis and wanted me to avoid alcohol, hot drinks, hair straighteners, extremes of temperature and stress. Simple, right?!

Why I wear make up: I’m a person, not a skin condition

I think the problem some doctors have is that they treat the disease rather than treating the patient. Yes, it probably would help my rosacea to avoid all of those things. Avoiding make up may have helped my rosacea in its early stages when I had fluid filled bumps that would burst with any movement on my face (TMI? I think you might be on the wrong blog). But did that doctor stop to think about the effect on my psychological well-being if I had to go to work every day and show everyone the absolute worst face I could present to the world? How much my confidence would be damaged? How that stress and embarrassment would probably trigger a flare up anyway? A recent survey by the National Rosacea Society found that 90% of those surveyed said that rosacea’s effect on their personal appearance had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence. They also reported feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, isolation and embarrassment.

When I tried to tell a different doctor that my rosacea had an impact on my moods and how I felt about myself I was basically told ‘others have it worse’ and I should be thankful I didn’t have a more serious disease. I was made to feel vain and shallow, as though caring about your appearance was shameful. I can openly admit that I am a vain person but even if I wasn’t, that wouldn’t stop people noticing my face when it’s at its worst. ‘Catch the sun this weekend did you, Lex?’, ‘Why are you blushing?’, ‘Are you drunk?’… people speak without thinking and judge without considering the impact of their words. So yes, I wear make up every day. I probably wear what some would consider a lot of make up.

And women in particular judge that as well. The amount of times I’ve heard a woman say ‘Oh I just don’t care enough to wear make up, I have better things to do, I think women should just learn to be comfortable in their skin. Make up is an idea sold to us by companies who want us to believe we need it’…

Oh DO shut up. Saying ‘I don’t wear make up’ is the new ‘I don’t own a TV’ or ‘Oh I’m actually not on Facebook’. Well aren’t you interesting and different and zzzzzzz. I’m not criticising women who don’t wear make up as a breed, not at all. It’s your face and you can whatever you like to it. It’s the women who just absolutely have to tell you that they don’t wear make up, and have that uppity, high-horse attitude about it. Fantastic for you that you don’t feel like you have to wear make up and are happy when you look in the mirror. Congratulations. But my face makes me sad and on some days I have been reduced to tears from seeing my own skin. So if I want to spend 45 minutes every morning preparing myself for the outside world then I will do that. Plus, I bloody enjoy it. Sitting down and applying make up is restorative to me: I feel calmer, ready to face the day, awake and capable. And if that makes me a vacuous, shallow girl then so be it.

If you’d like to see my adventures in trying out make up for rosacea/sensitive skin then you can find me on YouTube.

Lex

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13 Comments

  1. 15th September 2015 / 11:57 am

    You have a LOVELY face. And I totally agree with you, I love wearing make up too: it makes me feel more confident, and I feel more ‘put together’ afterwards. I don’t judge those who don’t wear it but sod those who tell me I should go without too. Lovely post – thank you for sharing xxx

    • Lex
      6th January 2016 / 11:49 am

      This is a ridiculously late reply but thank you so much for this lovely comment! I feel exactly the same – it’s my face so I decide what I do with it. Sod em, indeed! x

  2. 3rd November 2015 / 7:22 pm

    Very well said. Thank you for this blog. I’ve been working hard to treat rosacea on my face and while that means I try to wear makeup as little as possible (it really doesn’t do my skin any favours), wearing it makes a very big difference to my self confidence.

    If I want to look my best when I go somewhere, I feel that makeup is a part of that look. It’s not that I feel ugly without makeup, but I feel a lot better with it. I’m being very careful to be as good to my skin as I can, but I can’t centre my whole life around a skin disorder. So when I want to look great and have fun, I’m going to drink a great cup of coffee, put on a beautiful face of makeup, and I might even have a glass of wine with friends.

    Keep posting and keep standing up for what you know is best for you 🙂 Thanks again for this blog post.

    • Lex
      6th January 2016 / 11:09 am

      I can’t believe I missed this, what a lovely and uplifting comment. Thank you. It’s always great to connect with other people with rosacea as it’s so under diagnosed so you sometimes feel like the only one! Thanks again for your comment x

  3. 10th February 2016 / 6:22 am

    Fellow rosacea sufferer here, only I’m in the States! We’re such a melting pot that it’s much rarer here, but my background is Irish/Welsh/Russian, so I inherited the lovely genetics that turn my face into pizza!

    People who say “oh, you should just accept yourself the way you are” need to fuck off. Seriously. The sentiment is nice, but… really? Do they wear perfume? Dress nicely? Watch what they eat? So they DON’T “accept themselves the way they are,” either. It’s about what makes us feel comfortable.

    You do you, as the saying goes.

    • Lex
      4th March 2016 / 6:12 pm

      ‘You do you’ is perfect. My face, my business! Everybody works with what they are given and does their best with it. If make up makes us feel like ‘us’ then what’s the harm? Thank you for your comment, much love to a fellow rosacean! x

    • 8th April 2016 / 6:45 pm

      Hey Ash, I’m in the states as well (NC), I’m 1/2 Irish and 1/2 German, mostly. I 100% agree with you. It makes me very sad now to look in the mirror, but it is amazing how much better I do feel when I wear makeup now. My whole attitude changes, how I interact with people even changes. I’m still trying to find something, anything, that works. So far everything the dermatologist have given me has done nothing! Thanks so much for all your work Lex!! I’m excited to try some of the products you’ve reviewed.

      • Lex
        24th June 2016 / 3:22 pm

        Thank you for your comment, Kelly. Make up is the number one thing that can totally change my mood. Waking up and looking in the mirror can be a horrible experience sometimes, but the knowledge that spending time applying make up can alter that is amazing. I hope some of my reviews help 🙂

  4. Wendy Diedrich
    19th April 2016 / 6:15 pm

    I am in the states and just discovered your blog. I love you!!

    I have been dealing with Rosacea since my early 20s (am 51 now). I am of pasty-white Scandinavian descent, surrounded by others of the same but one would think I have some bizarre contagious pox because no one seems to have heard of Rosacea.

    I struggle to find primers, concealers and foundation that successfully cover the redness. Plus, I am super sensitive to heat therefore, my face sweats so easily and my makeup slides right off. I am looking forward to digging into your blog for tips!!

    Just last week a work colleague asked if I had fallen asleep in the sun with my sunglasses on, because of the raccoon-eye look. Nice. And fucking shut up!

    • Lex
      24th June 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Oh thank you Wendy, I love you too! It’s crazy how many people have never heard of rosacea, it’s so frustrating. The ignorant comments are irritating, I find it really hard to bite my tongue!
      I have super oily skin so most of my make up recommendations would be great for those who struggle to keep the make up on the skin – have you seen my YouTube channel? I review make up on there so you can see just how well they cover redness. You can find it here – http://www.youtube.com/talontedlex 🙂

      • 24th June 2016 / 3:54 pm

        Thank you again! I will definitely be watching your YouTube channel!!

  5. Rachel
    14th May 2016 / 3:15 pm

    I just want to say that women should never judge each other for choosing (or not choosing) makeup. If it makes you feel confident and happy, go for it! And I love your blog and think you’re amazing. I’ve struggled with acne my whole life & now suspect I am developing rosacea. It makes me sad, but I know I have more to offer than my face and if I learn to use makeup as well as you do I know I’ll be okay 🙂

    • Lex
      24th June 2016 / 3:36 pm

      Hi Rachel, I totally agree. Our faces are our own to do with what we will! Whatever people do to make themselves feel their best is all good with me.
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, it really made me smile 🙂

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