A skin condition can have all kinds of effects on one’s self-image, both good and bad. Beth Mhairi Webster talks about her relationship with makeup after being diagnoses with psoriasis.
Skin ‘imperfections’ can be extremely difficult to deal with. Having a visible difference can be draining, and it’s easy to become insecure about your scars, skin condition and/or other marks on your skin.
I’ve been a big believer in promoting psoriasis awareness since I was diagnosed with it three years ago. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in bright red, flakey patches of skin and, like many other people with psoriasis, I was mortified that my psoriasis was taking over my face.
There’s definitely something worse about having the thing you’re most self-conscious about on your face. The majority of my psoriasis is covered up by my clothes, but I can’t cover up my face. It’s the one place that I really struggle to accept when it comes to my skin. Your face is generally the first thing people see and judge about you before they know you, and I don’t want the first thing people see to be my psoriasis.
When I was first diagnosed I adopted a, quite frankly, ridiculous makeup and skincare regime to try and hide any inkling of psoriasis on my face. This involved mixing moisturiser with liquid foundation, four different green and nude concealers, layers and layers of powder foundation and then to heavy brows and eye makeup to balance out the caked on base. It was expensive, time-consuming, impractical and if I’m honest, I didn’t really feel any better about myself.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’ve stopped the layers of makeup. I now opt for a mineral powder foundation and one concealer. If my psoriasis shows through then I just let it. I’m much more accepting of my face now, and I’m used to adjusting my regime every day to suit my temperamental skin. I’m working with it, which is helping my skin and resulting in a smoother base.
But this poses the question: as a big psoriasis advocate, should I be covering up my skin at all?
I follow a lot of psoriasis Instagrammers who often post makeup-less selfies, rocking their red ‘leopard spots’ which make me think about whether I should be doing the same. I’m quite happy to post pictures of my legs and arms but when it comes to my face, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
Would I enjoy wearing no foundation and maybe just a touch of mascara in my day-to-day life? Probably–it would certainly make getting ready in the mornings easier! But I know my skin is so uneven in colour and blotchy that I would just feel uncomfortable.
I think the thing to remember is that if makeup gives you back the confidence that psoriasis or another skin condition may steal away, then wear it. If you don’t want to embrace the bare skin yet, then don’t.
I’ve come so far confidence-wise and it’s only going to grow, to the point where I can go about with my facial psoriasis on show and not worry what people think. Some people have had skin conditions or marks on their skin for years, and they’re still growing in confidence and learning to accept themselves just as they are.
Makeup is all about self-expression, and shouldn’t be so heavily rooted in hiding all our imperfections. It should be about enhancing what we’ve already got, being creative and feeling full of confidence.
So am I still an advocate for psoriasis? Of course. Just taking part in the conversation around psoriasis and increasing awareness is so important to spread knowledge about the condition. And none of that changes if I wear foundation in my pics or not–no matter how much I cake on, I will always be shouting out about my psoriasis and super proud of the community I’m part of.