Last Tuesday I appeared on Channel 4 on Katie Piper’s Face To Face, a programme dedicated to raising awareness of different facial conditions and talking about the empowering and supportive side of make up and beauty. I was so thrilled to take part and wanted to chat a little bit more about it.
When the team from Remarkable and Channel 4 got in touch with me to ask me to take part in the programme, I wasn’t sure whether I could do it. There are a small number of people who have seen me without make up in person, so the thought of removing my make up on national TV made me want to throw up. But I remembered how I felt when I was first diagnosed with rosacea, and how I still feel now: under-represented, lonely, misunderstood and confused. Although it’s estimated there are 3 million people in the UK and 16 million people in the US with rosacea, so little is known about it. It shows itself in the lack of information and products available, the absence of sympathy and support from some GPs, and the ignorance shown by other people. A survey undertaken by the National Rosacea Society earlier this year found that 74% of people surveyed had received comments or questions about their appearance, and over 85% thought that making the public more aware of rosacea would reduce the unwanted questions and comments they received.
The massive reaction I’ve had since the show from total strangers has been incredible. As soon as my segment started, the emails began to pour in, as did the new followers, tweets, FB messages. In the hour after the programme aired, my blog was viewed over 5,000 times. That. Is. BONKERS. So many people contacted me to say that they’d never seen anyone else with rosacea before, that they thought no one else understood, that they’d given up on wearing make up, stopped trying to find skincare because they were lost and fed up of spending money on products that left their skin in a worse state than before. They told me they felt inspired and empowered, that they felt hope. I cannot begin to explain how incredible that makes me feel. I was petrified to appear on the programme and was worried about the response to it, but those messages made me see that it didn’t matter. It was bigger than me.
Face To Face showed that yes, living with a skin condition or a facial disfigurement is awful and can affect your self-confidence every single day. But it also showed that you have options available to you if you want them. I’m so pleased that it was a programme that avoided the extremes. Although I never leave the house without make up and don’t feel comfortable in my bare skin, I would never tell other people that they have to cover their skin as it’s a personal choice. But I’m also fed up of the endless ~hot takes~ telling me that I should ‘love the skin I’m in’, that I’m not a feminist for wearing make up, that men don’t like make up (can you hear my eyes rolling from where you’re sitting?) It was very much a programme that said ‘you’re fine how you are, but if you do want some advice here you go’ which is what my blog has always been about.
If you watched the programme – thank you. If you sent me a message – thank you. If you know me in real life and kept me calm (ish) and reassured me about taking part – THANK YOU. Especially my poor husband who dealt with all of the sleepless nights and rosacea flare ups due to constant fretting!
If you haven’t seen Katie Piper’s Face To Face and would like to, you can watch it HERE (it’s only available until the 10th of May so get your skates on!)
If you would like more information about rosacea then my FAQ post is a great place to start. It contains every question I’ve ever been asked about rosacea along with some really helpful links.