Time to Get Real

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

Coco Chanel

Hello Everyone, hope you are all keeping safe and healthy! πŸ™‚ Welcome to my little safe space where I will “get real” with you all. For me getting real is just digging a little deeper and talking about the issues that I have faced with my skin condition. I feel like there is such a big community with many people who suffer from the same condition I do, it’s great to feel like you aren’t alone!

I want to talk about the mental stress I personally went through with my skin condition because it is visible to see, you can’t really hide it especially if it is facially affected.

So in my introductory post about my Rosacea journey, I mentioned that it can be very damaging to your self-esteem when people point out that “OMG! Your nose is all red” “You should get that seen to” LIKE YES NO SHIT SHERLOCK!! I mentioned that people constantly telling you, can wear you down. We live in a society where you have to look, act and be a certain way – girls are expected to be flawless and that can mount a serious amount of pressure inside a young person’s mind, I am speaking from personal experience: I am a very bubbly, happy-go-lucky, and down to earth person and always will be, however for a time I didn’t even recognise myself – there were other issues I would like to discuss, however that is for a different blog post!

“You would be really pretty, if you didn’t have the redness” Well geeee thank you to the lovely person who said this to me when I was 20 years old and very impressionable, for a 20 year old girl who was obsessed with every little imperfection she had on her body and face, this hit me like a brick to the face…a brick which left a rather horrible red mark on my face…the irony!! Honestly, people think that they can point out other people’s imperfections and not expect it to hurt, sorry forgot these people who say these things were totally God’s gift to the world…pfft I THINK NOT. The redness probably got even worse when someone mentioned it, LIKE HELLO YOU HAVE JUST MADE IT WORSE BY EMBARRASSING ME YOU COMPLETE IDIOT. So after all this, I point blank refused to leave the house unless I had make-up on my face even if it was just going to the shops for household essentials, I have mentioned in a previous blog post that I would try different products to attempt to get rid of the redness but nah the little beeeech was still there, make-up doesn’t always help as you have to research products that contain certain ingredients, you are looking for non-comedogenic (basically meaning that it does not clog your pores) products. I found the skin on my nose becoming dry and flaky after it had scabbed over from the initial breakout, so adding foundation to the mix just completely annoyed the hell out of me and I would scrub it all off in a rage and refuse to go out, very mature well done Emma!!

A factor which can trigger rosacea flare ups is S.T.R.E.S.S. Think about it when you put your body through a severe amount of pressure, it kicks back at you causing an overreaction making you unwell or causing breakouts, so as rosacea is already a reaction to something irritating the skin, stress can make it even worse. I know in my experience, I was at University at the time I noticed my first ever rosacea breakout and I was under a fair amount of pressure from deadlines, exams, etc. The added stress of people constantly referring to my red nose, caused me to develop a social anxiety complex which yup you guessed it…caused further stress and even more flare ups to take up residence on my face…YAY 😦 . Like guys give a gal a break huh??? Let my face chill out for once please. Skincare is bloody hard, and is a full time job in itself, adding a skin condition into the mix completely blows it up.

Waking up in the morning was awful whilst in flare-up territory, I would touch my nose and it would feel sore to touch. The small pus-filled bumps would sting like hell and I would be so red. Just awful. So that little episode would set the tone for my day, that day was going to be a complete write off, which is totally ridiculous thinking back because I was always taught to seize the day and be positive, yeah that wasn’t a day to be seized…sorry Dad!!! It would be a case of avoiding any reflective surfaces, hiding mirrors and walking quickly passed shop windows, car doors, etc. I would cry and cry until I had no tears left in me, I would phone my Mum pleading with her to take it away, UGH JUST AWFUL. My quality of life decreased as I would refuse to go out and would stay in my room until I felt better which might have been a couple of days later depending on the severity of the flare-up. Sad times guys. I was reading about a study on the the-dermatologist website they investigated the Psychosocial Impact of Rosacea and one particular fact shook me to my core “52% of people said they refused and avoided face to face contact because of their condition”. I wept when I read that, the amount of times I didn’t answer my front door because I had a bad flare-up, I would hide my nose when I was talking to people, rosacea does isolate you because we do live in a society sadly who cares too much about what other people think. I wish it was different.

I have uploaded a picture I took of myself after I had cried for a good half an hour because I had a flare-up of my rosacea and literally wanted the ground to swallow me up, I thought I would take a photo to remind myself that I had the balls to pick myself up when I felt like I was at a low-point, probably that evening I stuck a face on along with a cute dress and went out for a lovely date night with my man πŸ™‚

Jeeeez, I am an ugly crier!

So, what have I learned about myself throughout this journey? I have learned that it is okay to cry when you have a flare-up, it is okay to admit you feel frustrated and upset by them. What is not okay, is to feel like your skin condition is in control of YOU and YOUR LIFE!! Don’t sit inside hiding away from the world….the world needs you to show it who is boss!! My one piece of advice is DO NOT BE A BYSTANDER IN YOUR OWN LIFE, BE THE STAR OF THE SHOW!

I have rambled on enough but I wanted to share my experiences as I think it is important to share the bad with the good. Hope this helps in some small way! Thank you all for reading my little safe space and hope you join me for more chats soon!

As always guys, stay safe and stay healthy! Speak soon!

Lots of Love,

Emma Ashley