Would You Be Friends With A Red-Faced Woman? #ExperienceMyRosacea


If you saw someone in the street with a red and blotchy face, what would you think? That they were embarrassed, suffering from some kind of disease, or simply weren’t looking after themselves properly? Shockingly, a recent nationwide study by dermatology experts Galderma has found that we’re collectively less likely to believe a person with a reddened face would be married, have a lot of friends or held a managerial position at work than a fresh-faced counterpart, purely because of our perception of their skin. Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition that’s known to impact around 10% of people in the UK – but even with it affecting such a huge percentage of the population, it still carries with it negative connotations and a huge amount of stigma. Symptoms of rosacea include persistent facial redness, small visible blood vessels, bumps and pimples on the skin’s surface, dryness, skin thickening and a burning or stinging sensation, but they can differ from person to person. Although the exact cause is unknown, there are certain triggers (including sunlight, changes in temperature, stress, exercise, alcohol, caffeine, spicy food and ingredients in certain skincare products) which can be controlled in order to manage the condition, but it’s never fully possible to prevent a flare-up. As the symptoms associated with rosacea appear predominately on the face, the psychological impact can be far greater than the physical; those diagnosed with the condition are often impacted emotionally and experience social stigmas, such as those outlined above. So, would you make friends with a red-faced woman – or would you just pass her by?

Unfortunately rosacea is a poorly understood condition and one that often gets
misdiagnosed as acne, eczema, allergies or sunburn; this leads to a real
lack of conversation or sense of community, where sufferers can turn to for support and advice. It’s much easier for those with chronic acne, eczema or dermatitis to connect with others online, but for individuals dealing with rosacea it’s often a journey they have to make alone. Thankfully, a new hub from the people behind Cetaphil (the best-selling skincare range that’s been designed with sensitive skin types in mind, including those with rosacea) aims to make that a thing of the past: experiencemyrosacea.co.uk is a brand new online destination where anyone dealing with rosacea (or wanting to find out more about the condition) can visit to share and discover content by others in a similar situation. Experience My Rosacea (supported by Dr Dawn Harper who you may recognise from Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’) is an incredibly positive campaign that aims not only to raise awareness and challenge common misconceptions, but to provide support where it’s often needed most.

Right now the hub includes some great pieces of content, advice and storytelling from bloggers that are dealing with rosacea themselves on a daily basis – but the aim is to make it a complete destination that includes all the information anyone may need, both pre and post diagnosis. I love the idea of this hub and think it’s long overdue, which is why I’m supporting it wholeheartedly. You may spot the post that the fabulous Lex wrote for me a little while ago, as well as some of her other great pieces which share her struggles in an incredibly helpful way. To celebrate the launch of the campaign, makeup artist Sarah Jagger (who also suffers from rosacea) took to the streets of London with her rosacea symptoms on show (she actually exacerbated them a little to demonstrate a ‘bad’ day) to see what the impact would be. Would people stare or snigger? Would she feel self-conscious and embarrassed? Or would nobody actually pay any attention whatsoever, proving that we can look beyond the surface and concentrate on the skin beneath? In summary, people really didn’t notice as much as you may think they did – and interestingly very few had a clear understanding of what rosacea is, demonstrating that there is a really low level of public awareness.
I can’t wait to share the video of Sarah’s experience with you soon (I’ll add it into this post as soon as it’s available!) but in the meantime Dr Dawn Harper has provided some great advice if you’re suffering from rosacea:
1. BOOK AN APPOINTMENT. There’s such a misunderstanding of the different types of skin conditions; Dr Google is not your friend, so make sure you visit your GP and discuss it with them directly.
2. SEE THE RIGHT PERSON. It’s important to see someone in your doctors surgery with a specific interest in skin conditions. Receptionists are bound by the same confidentiality standards and they will know the best person to see in your GP practice; speak to them!
3. GO BACK FOR MORE. Your GP will assume treatment has worked if you don’t come back. Always book a follow up appointment if the situation hasn’t changed. Also, treatments are changing all the time; just because something didn’t work five years ago it doesn’t mean there’s not an alternative today.

As a makeup artist and rosacea sufferer, Sarah has also shared some of her top tips for looking after rosacea prone skin:
1. Use cleansers and moisturisers suited to sensitive skin types. I recommend using a fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser and a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (doesn’t block pores) moisturiser
2. If you do feel more comfortable using foundation to minimise redness, look for a foundation that is suited to your skin type. I recommend looking for formula’s that offers medium to full coverage (this will help minimise the visual symptoms of rosacea, ) are hypoallergenic, oil-free, fragrance-free and contain sun protection 3. My advice for applying foundation on rosacea-prone skin, is to use a clean foundation brush and gently apply a light layer of foundation all over face. For particularly red areas (such as the nose and cheeks,) use a small dense brush to gently apply more foundation or concealer over the affected areas. Softly blend into the skin using your index finger being careful to blur out the edges. Set using a translucent, non-irritating powder for longevity. 

If you suffer with rosacea and want to share your story, please do submit any blog posts to the experiencemyrosacea.co.uk hub, or start a conversation across social media using the hashtag #ExperienceMyRosacea. Until we normalise rosacea, raise awareness and beat down stigmas, men and women across the UK will be worrying that all you see is their redness – rather than the fabulous person beneath. To those of us that don’t have rosacea it can be hard to understand, but this quote from Dr Dawn sums it up perfectly: “Never trivialise a skin condition. To the individual, it’s confidence draining as they have to wear their face daily. It doesn’t matter if people are staring at you, or you feel people are staring at you; the impact is the same.”

For more information on rosacea, and to discover more posts from those suffering with the condition, check out the new hub: experiencemyrosacea.co.uk

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Galderma; all opinions are my own. Rosacea is still an incredibly important topic to discuss and I hope this helps open up conversations.

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  




  1. Wonky Jen
    April 21, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Why on earth would someone judge a person on a skin condition…?

    • Hayley Carr
      April 22, 2016 / 7:02 am

      The million pound question! I was shocked to find out that we (as a society/collective) still does this so much to be honest.

    • Anonymous
      April 22, 2016 / 8:23 am

      I suffer it, and in every work, superiors told me to do full cover make-up, because the clients at chastise my terrible appearance.

    • Hayley Carr
      April 22, 2016 / 3:52 pm

      That's absolutely horrendous and not acceptable at all. I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope you've gone to HR to report the comments.

  2. Missionary
    April 22, 2016 / 5:52 am

    She is so beautifull!!!

    • Hayley Carr
      April 22, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      Sarah is a stunner – with or without rosacea.

  3. Pam Scalfi
    April 22, 2016 / 8:56 am

    people being judged for their skin condition is beyond me!!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfiā™„

  4. Tetyana Chemerynska
    April 22, 2016 / 11:42 am

    pHformula is a fantastic pharmacy cosmecuical skincare bran that helps to maintain rosacea and keep it under control. Made dramatic difference to my friends skin. http://www.skinglowbeauty.co.uk

    • Hayley Carr
      April 22, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      That's a great tip, thank you. I'm sure lots of sufferers will be sharing what has worked for them on the hub too, so make sure you check it out in the coming weeks/months.

  5. Roberta Menez
    April 22, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    Amazing, loved it!

  6. Becky Smith
    April 22, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    I'm not sure if I do have Rosacea or not but I do match all the symptoms and the redness across my cheeks never goes away completely. I went to the doctors years ago when it first started up but as far as I remember I was told there was nothing they can do. It does improve, but as I said it never goes away completely, and it does seem to get worse when I stay at my boyfriends. I'd hope nobody thinks bad of me in any way when I go out without makeup on when it's reasonably bad, but I expect they probably do x Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  7. C Leiper
    April 23, 2016 / 1:51 am

    La Roche Posay's Roseliac range is supposed to be good, also an American product called Prosacea, which you can find on Rose's Beauty Store or Amazon. I personally don't like Cetaphil, it doesn't suit my sensitive, breakout prone skin. I have had bad spots for years, partly because of medication for Crohns and partly because of poor digestion so I can sympathise with Sarah. I'd be friends with her or any other rosacea sufferer, how they look as friends has never been important to me.

  8. Alysha Paulsen
    April 23, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    I suffer with redness and it has caused my confidence to drop dramatically, I can't leave the house without wearing a full face of makeup. My best friends haven't even seen me without makeup I am so afraid of being judged! But, I know we can beat the stigma and one day people will realise it is pretty normal!

  9. Melanie Rose
    April 24, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    This is such a great post! I myself suffer from rosacea, mainly just on my nose, but I always get weird looks whenever I leave the house without any makeup on and it really makes me feel self-conscious… Thank you for sharing the link to the website, I will definitely have a look! x

  10. Anonymous
    April 25, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    I've been reading a few posts like this recently and I'll be honest I'd never heard of it before. So I think it's been great making it known. Since January I've had suspected eczema (not properly diagnosed) on my face meaning it's red pretty much daily. Although if I wear make up it stings so I'm forced to go bare faced to work every day and it makes me so uncomfortable. I feel like I can totally relate to rosacea sufferers atm and I'm all for spreading these posts.It's horrible how judging people can be when they have no idea why someones skin might look different. Really hope one day we can make it more normal to be barefaced even with a skin condition.Rhi x | shylittlemess.com

  11. Ramblingmads
    April 25, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    I developed rosacea a few years ago, to add to the joy of ezcema. And sadly people do judge you, people think rosacea sufferers are drunks, due to the red noses some sufferers develop. I was bullied for my ezcema growing up, because it made me different. Now I treat both conditions with medicated gels and lotions and moisturise with gentle products that don't make me flare up.

  12. mounen
    April 27, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    what an offensive title you've given this article. I have roseacea and all the suggestions you've made, as to what people may or may not be thinking about my appearance when I'm out and about is the last thing I need.

    • Hayley Carr
      April 28, 2016 / 8:39 am

      I think you've missed the entire point of the post, so give it a re-read. It's about challenging perceptions and educating those that don't understand. Of course it's ridiculous to not want to be friends with someone because they have a red face, but the research shows that was genuinely a thought that came out of members of the public. The point of the title was to make people think 'that's insane and stupid' and to read on and educate themselves, hopefully making a more positive difference in the long term.

  13. Cindy
    April 29, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    I'm glad you've highlighted the fact that having roseacea can be such a drain on a person's self-confidence. I was diagnosed with roseacea 2 years ago and thankfully it is now well under control – in fact I often now get compliments on my skin !My GP was very helpful, prescribing 1 tablet of Tetralysal 300mg daily (for 18 months) and recommending IPL to reduce thread veins & redness. Although uncomfortable & expensive, this really made a difference. In addition, I now wear a factor 50 sunscreen every day & wear a hat when I go on holiday to the sun. I know I've been lucky to get such a positive outcome (touch wood!) but at the time my confidence took a real knock. Thanks for writing about an issue that lots of people don't know about or understand.

  14. Robyn Samantha
    May 22, 2016 / 11:44 pm

    This woman is beautiful her facial structure is do die for! That image at the bottom so powerful. really dont get judgemental people *huff*Robyn | robynsamantha.blogspot.co.uk

    May 25, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    my husband suffers with rosacea which at times can be quite bad, affecting his forehead, eye,nose and cheeks. People can stare and comment as if he is not aware his face is red and inflamed! He is often worried if he is going into meetings as people don't understand the condition. I am a Beauty Therapist and will be taking on ph formula products as they have a treatment for chronic redness, I hope it works as some men (my husband!) will not wear any concealer, it will never be cured but managing the redness is all he wants. I will update as I know the impact it can have!

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