My naturally rosy complexion is so normal to me that I’d never considered it a problem. Waking up to an angry, bumpy breakout or stepping out of a hot shower with a bright red face was just normal. It’s what I did every day and I’d never given it a second thought.
But I’ve been on a strange journey over the past year or so. I started sharing my rosacea online with make-up free photos and was amazed at the volume of messages I got (and still get!) from women saying “your skin looks like mine”, relieved that they can relate to me. I was also surprised by the amount of people who have messaged to say how brave I am for sharing something as trivial as a photo of my face before applying any make-up.
BUPA research suggests that 1 in 10 of us in the UK are living with rosacea. Yet, we’re constantly bombarded with perfect images on social media. Hence why my bare skin has become quite the controversial subject matter.
Last month I visited Dr. Stefanie Williams at Eudelo in South London and she diagnosed me with two different types of rosacea. There are four variations, which cause redness and flushing in the skin. My diagnosis is two-fold: one equates to bumpy skin flushes, and the other, a firm degree of redness even in a calm state. The main thing to note about rosacea is that a level of acceptance is needed; you’re always going to have it. However, there are steps you can take to managing it, and identifying what causes it to go bananas.
Initially, there is a lot of work you can do around identifying triggers within your lifestyle. When you document your skin alongside your habits, you’ll start to notice patterns. For me, spicy foods, sugary foods, wine, stress and extreme temperatures (hot or cold) are total redness triggers. But life is too short to cut the indulgences out, so really it’s about being clever.
Personally, I’ll avoid venturing out into the freezing cold for a bottle of wine and some chocolate cake the night before a special occasion. Lex from Talonted Lex blog has created a number of resources that you can download to effectively track and analyse your rosacea patterns.
Then there are the changes you can make to your beauty regime. For me, the first rule was the hardest: flannels are the devil. Any kind of abrasion to your skin can initiate the redness equivalent of World War Three, so removing make-up and cleansing your skin need to be simple and gentle – ideally with a cream cleanser like Cetaphil and your hands. Massage the formula into your skin gently to remove make-up and SPF, which you should be wearing every single day in as high a factor as possible. Your entire routine should ideally be fragrance-free and fuss-free.
Moving onto your make-up, nailing your coverage is key. For me, the ultimate remedy is the IT Cosmetics CC Cream, which gives a completely flawless finish but looks like you’re barely wearing anything because it has a dewy sheen. The right brush when applying will also do the work for you – work it in with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, taking circular motions all over and then patting product on to build cover in those extra-angry areas.
I’m on a journey with my skin and am still learning new tricks. It still impacts how attractive I feel in myself, especially when it flares up. When it comes to sharing make-up free photos with like-minded women in the name of challenging the perception of what we see as normal, I’m all for it. But sitting make-up free in front of a guy I am dating? At this point in time, it is something that is never going to happen.
For now managing my triggers and taking pride in my make-up is a confidence boost, and in time I hope I will grow to love what is an everyday part of my appearance.