Hi Rosy Friends!
Yup, you heard right, I take my rosy cheeks with me everywhere I go, and I’ve stopped hiding what they look like. Even if I’m having a flare-up and one side is deep red and blotchier than the other. Even if I have little whitehead-looking pustules on my face. I’m still not adding makeup to the mix anymore.
There’s a reason for it, but before I say anything else, I do want to preface this with a small statement. My decision to stop wearing makeup to cover my rosacea does not mean that I’m judging anyone else for doing it. It’s just the choice I’ve made. It has nothing to do with anyone else. If you cover your rosacea when you head out, that’s awesome. I did it for years. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Also, I just want to point out that I’m a book author and freelance writer “in real life.” I work from home. If I worked outside the house, I’d like to think that I’d have made the same decision to stop covering my rosacea, but I have no idea if that would be the case.
What Do I Mean?
My decision to stop wearing makeup to cover my rosacea symptoms also doesn’t mean I’ll never wear makeup or that I’ll never cover my rosy cheeks. When I say that I’m not doing it anymore, I mean that I’m not wearing mineral powder around the house in case someone comes to the door. It means that when I go to the grocery store, shopping, out for a walk, to a movie or to get my hair cut, I don’t cover my rosacea symptoms in advance. I just go with a clean, moisturized face.
When I attend important social events – parties, weddings, etc – or business events – newspaper/TV interviews, writers workshops, book clubs, comic cons, festivals, etc – I still wear makeup as I always would, including the layers I need to cover my rosacea symptoms. When I feel it’s important that I “put my best face forward”, I’m still wearing makeup on my whole face. I’d do that regardless of whether or not I had rosacea.
Why I Stopped Covering My Rosacea Redness (and other symptoms)
There are a number of reasons that I stopped covering my redness from rosacea. It’s not something I did gradually. It’s something I finally chose to stop doing for quite specific reasons. There are a lot of them, but here are the main ones:
- Makeup, even the kind that doesn’t irritate my skin, still isn’t good for my skin. If my skin is already irritated and reactive, the last thing it needs is primer, concealer, foundation, powder and blush on it.
- It’s very time consuming to put all that makeup on. I’m not great at makeup, and I take my time when I do it or I mess it all up. I’m notorious for accidentally doing things out of order or for getting my face finished only to drop the mascara wand against my cheek. Since I’ve stopped covering my rosacea, I’ve saved myself at least thirty minutes per application.
- I strongly dislike removing makeup. Products like Erase Your Face, Cloth in a Box and all those other thick microfiber makeup remover cloths have changed my life. I love how easily they take makeup off and without the need for any remover products (which, without fail, irritate my rosacea). That said, I still can’t stand taking makeup off. With all the effort I put into my skin care – cleanse, light therapy, treat, moisturize (sometimes twice) – I really don’t need to add another step to my evening.
- Makeup is costing me a fortune! The makeup that will both cover my rosacea and not irritate it isn’t cheap. I don’t mind paying that much when I’m buying it so I can look nice on special occasions, but it becomes cost prohibitive to have to keep replacing it as frequently as I was. I’m happy to pay for my skin care routine, but adding the cost of makeup every single day gets very pricey. Adding up that total at the end of the year was an eye opener I didn’t enjoy, I gotta say.
- I want to love the way I look when I look like me, as I am, un-decorated. I like feeling special when I put makeup on. It makes me feel girly and pretty (I admit it). That said, it was reaching the point that I felt like the only way I even looked acceptable was with makeup on. That’s not right. I needed to take a step back and look at my face in the mirror. It’s fine. I’m not going to win any beauty awards, but I’m not ugly either. I have a perfectly decent face that just happens to have red blotches on it (sometimes dark red or even purple). But that’s not hurting anything. It’s just blotches!
- I want to love living the Rosy Life, not feel trapped in it. I’ve made a bajillion changes to my lifestyle to manage my rosacea. I’ve changed what I eat, how I exercise, what I wear, how I clean my home, my skin care, my hair care, how I sleep, the colours I have near my face (even in my glasses frames). I do meticulous skin care every single day, including light therapy sessions. As it turns out, I’ve come to like all the changes I’ve made. They’ve all had very positive impacts on my life other than controlling my rosacea symptoms. I want to keep the Rosy Lifestyle as a positive thing. If I start to think of it as something I’m obliged to do so I don’t hate myself, then I have problems deeper than my rosacea symptoms.
- I don’t think anyone else really needs me to wear makeup. I’m nice. I’m not trying to say that I’m some wonderful or exceptional person, but I am definitely nice. I know I’m nice because I make a priority of being nice. It makes me happy to be friendly. I smile at people when I pass them. I smile at people who help me in stores. If a stranger talks to me, I’ll smile (unless they are creepy or scary in which case I’ll look terrified and back away haha). I ask to help people who really look like they need assistance. I knock on doors to tell people they’ve left their car lights on. I’ll deliver a piece of mail that was dropped on the sidewalk.
Am I some kind of superhero? Of course not. But I’m a nice, friendly person. Why am I telling you about all this? Because this is what really matters about me. Does my blotchy red face with occasional white bumps change how nice I will be to you? Nope! Should those symptoms make you treat me any differently when I’m consistently nice to you? Nope! If someone has a problem with me because I have blotchy skin, I really don’t feel that’s my problem. I feel their priorities are different from mine, and I can accept that.
- The people I see the most in my life are used to my rosy cheeks and don’t even notice it anymore. They can tell if I’m having a flare-up and they know it’s not comfortable for me, but it doesn’t change what they think of me. I feel very fortunate for this.
- It may help to show how common rosacea really is. Millions of us have this condition, and we have symptoms despite meticulous cleanliness and delicate skincare. However, many people still haven’t heard of rosacea or think they’ve never met a person who suffers from it. When I first started my YouTube channel, I thought I was the only one I knew who has it. Turns out, it’s in my family, I have several friends who have it and even a local store clerk I see a lot has it. I never would have known. They always cover it, and we never talk about it!
How would they know when we all cover it up? This doesn’t mean that I think everyone with rosacea should start marching around bare-faced and lecturing people about the condition. However, if those of us who are comfortable doing so go out without makeup, it starts to show the world that there are more of us out there than they might think. Rosacea is a problem. We deserve more research funding, more products that work and fewer products that pretend to work but don’t. I’ll wear my red cheeks with pride if it means more people will know that I’m not blushing, sunburned, cold or acne-prone.
I can’t say I’m happy I have rosacea. I’m bummed that I have permanent redness that never goes away even when my skin is healthy, and I’m not experiencing a flare-up. I dislike the flare-ups even more. I don’t like the way they look, and they feel even worse.
However, it’s a part of me and, at least for the near future, it’s not going away. I’ve decided to accept it as a part of my own unique, natural look. There’s no reason for me to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. The more I see it, the more I get used to it. It’s just a part of how I look and, dang it, I look okay.