Beauty Influencer Suffering From Rosacea Has Photo Removed From Instagram

Lex Gillies’ photo removed from Instagram after being deemed undesirable – gives birth to new campaign, forcing Facebook to change policy.

Skin conditions can be hard to deal with for most people. But, beauty influencer Lex Gillies has made her brand and name surrounding her chronic skin condition.

Lex has suffered from rosacea for the majority of her life, causing it to turn bright red, irritated and hot.

Gillies who has 19.9k followers on Instagram started her beauty blog six years ago. Using her platform to talk about makeup but later moved on to share her daily struggles with rosacea and to promote skin positivity.

Posing for Sophie Harris-Taylor’s Epidermis series, the beauty influencer decided to post the photo to her Instagram. But she was in for a surprise as Instagram decided to remove the photo considering it ‘undesirable’ leaving the influencer hurt and bewildered.

View this post on Instagram

This portrait was taken by the incredible @sophieharristaylor for her Epidermis series. I've followed Sophie for a while and love her work: she shows real skin in such a gentle and soft way. So when she asked me to be a part of her upcoming exhibition I was over the moon.⁣ ⁣ When I saw this photo I cried. Hard.⁣ And I still feel very emotional looking at it. Seeing your skin through someone else's eyes is a bizarre experience. But I truly love this photo and am so excited/nervous to see it in all its glory, along with the other portraits in the exhibition.⁣ ⁣ If you are in London and would like to see the Epidermis exhibition in person, it's going to be at the @francescamaffeogallery from the 6-13 of September.⁣ ⁣ I've put a direct link in my Stories where you can read more about the series and the exhibition ?

A post shared by Lex Gillies – Rosacea/Beauty (@talontedlex) on

Talking to Refinery29 she said: “I was proud to feature in such an empowering and emotional project, so I tried to turn my post into an advert on Instagram.”

“In simple terms, I paid money so that Instagram would show my photo to people who I thought might be interested. This is something that happens every day on social media.”

The photo was immediately taken down by Instagram stating that it contained ‘images that excessively focus on body parts or depict unlikely before-and-after results. This can make people feel bad about their state of health.’

Disgusted over the removal of her photo Lex appealed to Facebook, two weeks later she got a reply from Facebook: “Here’s what’s preventing your ad from running: We don’t allow ads that focus on aspects of a person’s body to highlight an undesirable or idealised body state.”

The messages continued by highlighting things that were considered ‘undesirable – eczema, acne, and dermatitis. She was shocked to read that the guidelines that blocked her image took into consideration things like ‘eating live animals’.

Angered, Lex expressed her feelings in a blogpost, giving birth to the hashtag #undesirablesofinstagram movement. ‘Undesirable’ people started sharing images of their faces in support of her along with the hashtag.

View this post on Instagram

Yesterday Instagram rejected a photo of my bare face for an ad because – in their words – it promotes an "undesirable" appearance. In the 6 years that I've been publicly talking about my rosacea, I've seen the skin positivity movement go from strength to strength. So to hear something so cruel and thoughtless from one of the most influential companies in the world was shocking. How are we meant to normalise real skin when we're being deemed 'undesirable' and hidden away?⁣ ⁣ I've written a blog post about Instagram's treatment of various skin differences that it views as 'undesirable' (including acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, birthmarks and more…) and I would really appreciate if you read it; sent it to a friend; shared it on social media; or used the hashtag #UndesirablesOfInstagram to share your story or 'undesirable' face. I've put a direct link in my Stories (just click my profile picture to view) or go straight to to read the post ?⁣ ⁣ #skinpositivity #rosacea #normalizeskintexture

A post shared by Lex Gillies – Rosacea/Beauty (@talontedlex) on

Just after the #undesirablesofinstagram hashtag started trending, Lex was contacted by Facebook, issuing an apology.

“As a direct result of the #UndesirablesOfInstagram campaign, and the incredible support of the skin positivity community, the word ‘undesirable’ no longer features at any point in their guidelines,” said Lex.

View this post on Instagram

? WE FLIPPING DID IT!! ⁣? ⁣ I can't really believe I'm saying this, but as of earlier this week Instagram/Facebook have officially rewritten their guidelines. The word 'undesirable' no longer features ANYWHERE. ⁣ ⁣ I've written a blog post where I've tried to express my thoughts on the whole thing but this is the key outtake: ⁣ I wanted to thank every person who posted an #undesirablesofinstagram selfie, who shared my post, used the hashtag, commissioned articles, sent me messages of support, and helped to spread the word.⁣ ⁣ This change happened because of YOU and I am so proud of every single one of you.⁣ ⁣ The #skinpositivity community (and the #rosacea community in particular) is fairly small, so the fact that our campaign has resulted in meaningful change and a reconsideration of terminology internally at one of the world's most influential companies is incredible and so overwhelming.⁣ Putting your head above the parapet can be scary. There were moments in the past 6 weeks when I wondered why I'd started this, why I'd opened myself up to trolls and ignorance, and whether the eventual impact would be worth the effort. But the support from the community, the new people I've discovered through #undesirablesofinstagram, and this actual, tangible result is better than l could have ever imagined.⁣ ⁣ THANK YOU.⁣ ⁣

A post shared by Lex Gillies – Rosacea/Beauty (@talontedlex) on

“The wording is now much clearer: “We don’t allow ads that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products.”

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Written by Armaghan


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