Learning to accept my skin, rosacea and all

Rosacea was something that I started to suffer with when I came into my early teens and I started to notice that my skin was becoming oilier. Rosacea is acne’s lesser-discussed sister, a long-term skin condition that causes redness across the face, particularly the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose. Mine seemed to worsen and my skin became a real insecurity. I always wore makeup at school, even if that meant getting up half an hour earlier to apply it. I wore makeup to the gym (I know, horrific for your skin) because I was worried that people would be looking at my skin and wondering why it was uneven. I didn’t want it to be something that bothered me, but I just couldn’t get over how I felt about it.

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It was at this point that I decided to take the bull by the horns and go to the doctor. I explained to my GP that the redness and the spots in my T-zone (forehead, nose area and chin) were bothering me. She had a look at my skin and told me that she didn’t think it severe enough to be classed as acne, but that the oiliness of my adolescent skin was causing the spots, and the redness was actually something called Rosacea. I hadn’t really heard of Rosacea before, but when I did a little bit of research, it made total sense. The doctor prescribed me some prescription cream to apply at night to the inflamed areas and a round of Tetracycline – an antibiotic used commonly to treat symptoms of acne. She said that it was unlikely to cure the redness, but it was worth a try. I took the pills for a while and used the cream and the texture disappeared, but, to my disappointment, I was left with the redness.

This was something that I really had to face if you pardon the pun when I started university. Moving in with new friends meant I knew that there would be a point, in either the morning or the evening, where I would have to take my makeup off and be bare-faced around new people. This is something that worried me initially as my skin was something that I felt embarrassed about. Luckily, I have really lovely flatmates who didn’t bat an eyelid. As much as it worried me, to begin with, moving into a flat with a new group of people has actually really helped me start to accept my skin and not hide behind a makeup mask. As a teen, I always felt comfortable around my family without makeup on, but I wouldn’t have dared go into school or go shopping without it on for fear of what people might think or say. But living with friends forced me to throw caution to the wind and grab the micellar water, even if it was only in our flat!

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I’ve always loved makeup, but I found that makeup had a whole new purpose and advantage for me, as I was able to use it to even out my skin and conceal the spots and uneven skin tone the best I could. It has become my armour even as my skin has started to clear up as I’ve gotten older. It’s also completely okay if you’re not quite ready to go makeup-free in public. I have tried and tested loads of makeup and skincare practices and products over the years and have landed at a few that are my ride or dies:

Clean skin

Keeping your skin clean is really important, especially if you’re experiencing breakouts. A cream cleanser such as the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is really effective in removing makeup. Simply apply two pumps into your fingers and massage into a dry face; then use a warm damp muslin cloth to remove the balm and any makeup. This saves dragging any delicate skin on your face with a makeup wipe and is also better for the environment as there are no cotton pads involved, simply pop the muslin cloth in the washing machine and use time and time again! To keep your pores clear, go in with a balancing toner or a second cleanser, such as my favourite, Paula’s Choice Pore Normalising Cleanser to ensure there is no residue left on the face before you apply your eye cream and moisturiser. It can be tempting to sleep in your makeup after a long day, but trust me, this only exacerbates any skin issues you are having!

Cleanse & Polish 100ml pump

Smoothing primer

If your redness is particularly bad you can try a green primer to counteract the discolouration, although I always found that they were too thick and didn’t lay smoothly under my foundation. Instead, I always opt for a smoothing primer as acne-prone or troublesome skin can often show itself in enlarged pores or a bumpy texture. Revolution’s pore-reducing primer which retails at £6.99, is a great first purchase if you’re new to the world of primers and want to explore your options without breaking the bank!

Revolution Pore Blur Primer

A seamless base

Foundation is the obvious choice for someone with problematic skin. If your skin is oily like mine, it can be tempting to go for an oil-free, super matte foundation. However, I have found that a very drying foundation has clung to any breakouts I might have and accentuates them. Instead, I opt for a foundation with a satin finish, such as the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Foundation and then conceal any red areas which are peeking through the foundation and lightly powder over the top with the NO7 Perfect Light Loose translucent powder.  

Finishing touches

Once I have evened out my skin tone, I like to bring it back to life with cheek products. Although cream products create a natural summery look, I find that with the oiliness of my skin, they tend to slip and slide around and make my face look very greasy by the end of the day. Instead, I apply a powder bronzer in the shape of a ‘C’ – around my temples and along my cheekbone. I then will apply a light dusting of powder blush, as long as I feel that my foundation has adequately evened out my skin tone and am confident that blush won’t exacerbate the appearance of the rosy undertone of my skin. I adore highlighter, but with oily skin you should apply it sparingly. I avoid my forehead or above my brows and simply apply a small amount to the top of my cheekbones and my brow bone.

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This list is by no means exhaustive but it’s a few tips and tricks I have picked up in navigating my way through my journey to accepting the skin I’m in! You don’t have to go makeup-free overnight.  If you want to become more confident with bearing all, you could pick certain places where you feel more comfortable losing the makeup. This may be going for a run with a close friend or even in the living room of your uni house. It may be daunting initially, but nine times out of ten, your friends haven’t thought twice about your skin. These things are often a much bigger deal to you than they are to anyone else, but there’s no rush to change how you feel overnight. If your friend is the one dealing with Rosacea, be sensitive in how you discuss their skin with them. Be a listening ear and a voice of encouragement as they navigate through their skin troubles.

If you feel like applying makeup isn’t quite cutting it, I would really recommend that you see your GP. It can feel scary initially to walk into a room with someone you don’t know, completely bare-faced, but they can offer treatments that they think will help and can also talk through how you’re feeling with you. I still have a little way to go in fully accepting my skin, but I know I’m not the only one who has dealt with these kinds of insecurities before, and I know my trusty foundation and beauty sponge are there if I need them!


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