Lupus-suffering teen spends up to 90 minutes covering up rash

Teenager dubbed ‘tomato girl’ by bullies because of a huge red rash on her face reveals the 90 MINUTE make-up routine she uses to cover it to help other lupus sufferers

  • Chloe Boweren, from Stanwell, Surrey, developed malar rash three years ago
  • Bullies cruelly branded Chloe, now 18, ‘butterfly girl’ and ‘cherry tomato face’ 
  • Now she is sharing makeup tutorials online to help others with lupus symptom 

A teenager who spent up to 90 minutes applying makeup to cover up a giant red ‘butterfly’ rash on her face has bravely filmed her routine to help others with the same condition.

Chloe Boweren, 18, from Stanwell, Surrey, was cruelly bullied when the malar rash first appeared across her eyes, nose and cheeks three years ago.

The rash, which doctors believe is caused by the autoimmune disease lupus, saw Chloe reluctant to leave the house after being branded ‘butterfly girl’ and ‘cherry tomato face’. 

Now the checkout assistant has learned to embrace her condition and has filmed her laborious makeup routine so others can learn how they might be able to cope with the condition.

Chloe said: ‘When I was 15, I woke up one morning with this face rash. People called me butterfly girl or cherry tomato face – it was awful.

Chloe Boweren, from Stanwell, Surrey, woke up with a large red butterfly rash (pictured) on her face three years ago

Her makeup routine can take up to 90 minutes and she has now started posting videos of her routine online to help fellow sufferers

She was branded ‘butterfly girl’ and ‘cherry tomato face’ by bullies and turned to makeup to cover up her condition

‘I fell into depression. I was going through my GCSEs and it was hard. I made the video because I just want to show people that they can love themselves and not to worry about other people.

‘Sometimes I even like to go out without makeup now and embrace my face rash. It’s interesting to be different.


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‘Three years on, my message to my bullies is this – just look at me now. I don’t care what people say about me. There’s more to life than worrying about other people’s opinions.’

Doctors initially believed Chloe was suffering from an allergic reaction or hormone imbalance. Specialists are now confident she has lupus, but she is still waiting for formal confirmation.

Day-to-day, Chloe suffers symptoms including extreme fatigue and arthritis.

Doctors believe the malar rash, pictured, is caused by the autoimmune disease lupus, but she does not yet have official confirmation

The 18-year-old checkout assistant said: ‘There’s no makeup videos to show people to cover their rash, yet there’s videos to show people how to cover spots or wrinkles. There’s probably a girl out there aged 15 like I was, looking for someone like her’

Chloe’s long-term boyfriend Jack Rose, pictured together, has been with her since before the rash appeared. She says he is incredibly supportive and she does not have to cover up around him

Chloe said: ‘I woke up one morning in 2015 and had this malar rash across my face.

‘I felt disgusting. I didn’t know what it was. I’d thought I’d used a face cream that had brought me up in the rash.

‘My mum thought it was sunburn and I was baffled – it was September and freezing. It made me feel really concerned.

‘I went to the GP and as soon as I walked in she was like “oh my god, what has happened to you?”

‘Lupus is really bad. It can even attack your organs. Selena Gomez, the singer, has lupus and she recently had to have a kidney transplant.

‘My rash is very hot and itchy on the first day it comes up. It feels like a football has hit me in the face on a cold day, but after a few days it doesn’t feel like anything – it’s just there.

When she first developed the rash, doctors thought it was caused by an allergic reaction or hormone imbalance

The condition affects her whole body and when she is suffering from her face rash she can sleep for 15 hours a day

The incurable autoimmune disease sees the body’s defence system attack healthy cells. Selena Gomez also has the condition and had a kidney transplant in 2017

‘Doctors thought I was allergic to progesterone to start with, but lupus has many different triggers.

‘It comes and goes but the only thing that is worrying for me is that it doesn’t just affect my face, it’s my whole body.

‘I get arthritis, and lupus and fibromyalgia come together. When I get my face rash I sleep for 15 hours a day.

What is lupus? 

Lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease that sees the body’s defence system attack healthy cells. Most sufferers are female, and the disease can affect any part of the body, making it incredibly dangerous.

It can be triggered by puberty, menopause, childbirth, viral infections, sunlight, trauma or medication.

Symptoms of lupus include rashes from sunlight/UV, including a butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks, joint and muscle aches/pains, extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, depression and internal organ problems. 

Lupus sufferers are treated using anti-malarials (such as hydroxychloroquine) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but immunosuppressants are used in more severe cases. 

‘The fibromyalgia affects my mobility, makes me tired and forgetful, then the lupus affects my organs and my face.’

After being encouraged by her mother, Chloe decided to use her newfound self confidence and make-up skills to help other sufferers with her tutorials. 

She said: ‘I know makeup boosts my confidence. There’s no makeup videos to show people to cover their rash, yet there’s videos to show people how to cover spots or wrinkles.

‘There’s probably a girl out there aged 15 like I was, looking for someone like her.

‘I wanted to be that person to give other people a voice and a chance to boost their confidence and self-esteem.

‘Each look takes around 20 minutes if I don’t do my eyebrows. My whole face will take 45 minutes.

‘I just use makeup from high street stores like Boots or Superdrug, but I do also order some products online such as NARS.

‘It really is all about finding confidence in yourself. Everyone’s rash is different.’

Shortly after Chloe met her boyfriend, she developed the rash, but says he has been incredibly supportive throughout.

Chloe added: ‘I have a boyfriend and we’ve been together since [before] I got the rash. He’s really understanding and knows all about it.

Chloe, pictured with Jack, added: ‘I know that around him I don’t have to cover it up. But I don’t really go out. I only go out if there’s a reason to’

Chloe said she fell into depression after the rash appeared when she was 15 and struggled with her GCSEs

‘I know that around him I don’t have to cover it up. But I don’t really go out. I only go out if there’s a reason to.

‘Most of my friends go out almost every weekend.’

A spokesperson from Lupus Trust said: ‘Most symptoms of lupus are invisible – two symptoms which are visible are rashes and hair loss.

‘Patients have often said that they find both of these symptoms very distressing.

‘Patients have apologised to me saying they shouldn’t be complaining about something they often refer to as trivial, but the way we look affects our confidence and sense of well being.

‘It’s totally understandable that people would find rashes and hair loss upsetting, especially in this day and age where we’re constantly bombarded by photographs of perfect hair and skin.

‘It’s really great to hear that Chloe is tackling the subject.

‘There are plenty of online tutorials about make-up that feature ladies with perfect skin, so to have one that specifically shows how to deal with lupus rashes will, I’m sure, be of interest to lupus patients and many others that suffer from rashes.’ 

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