"I truly believe sharing my story was instrumental in my healing," the news anchor tells PEOPLE

By Julie Mazziotta
September 18, 2020 02:12 PM
Frances Wang
| Credit: Courtesy Frances Wang

One year after CBS Miami’s Frances Wang made the brave decision to reveal the painful skin condition she had been hiding under layers of makeup, she feels like a changed person. Her skin has healed, sure, but the news anchor has also found a level of confidence she didn’t have, even before she developed perioral dermatitis.

Wang's perioral dermatitis, or skin inflammation, spread across her face after she was incorrectly prescribed topical steroids in May 2019 for her eczema. For months, she covered up the itchy, painful bumps with thick layers of makeup, hiding it from viewers and even her coworkers, but in September, decided it was time to come clean. In an honest message, shared on Instagram and with PEOPLE, Wang bared her face, dermatitis and all.

“I can still remember so clearly how low I felt during that time. I was emotional, scared, confused, in pain, itchy, insecure,” Wang tells PEOPLE now, reflecting on that Instagram post from a year prior. “I also felt a lot guilt for being so upset about my face when so much worse was happening in the world.”

Though she was terrified to share the photos, Wang says she “truly” feels it was “instrumental in my healing.”

“Stress is a huge trigger of skin issues...and sharing felt like taking a huge breath after being underwater for so long,” she says. “Once people knew, I felt more comfortable going out and doing things that brought me joy!”

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Wang says that “less stress and more confidence, with a mix of skincare” were the keys to recovery, along with patience.

“I realized it just took time, since the condition was caused by a steroid withdrawal,” she says. “I was instructed to put those topical steroids on my face for about 2 months and the noticeable part of my withdrawal process was about 16 to 18 months.”

Wang posted side-by-side photos of her skin — one from September 2019, and the other a current shot — on Instagram Wednesday. She says that looking at the two images “feels a bit surreal.”

Frances Wang
| Credit: Courtesy Frances Wang

“I still have some physical scars and 'maskne' is now a thing, but I'm so happy with where I'm at skin-wise,” she says. “Now I just want to get my skin back to its old texture, rid of the scars as much as possible, and raise awareness so others can avoid this!”

Wang says she’s learned that “positivity can come from vulnerability” and she’s now “empowered and inspired to do more good.” Along with continuing to post updated on Instagram, she’s sharing photos on TikTok and loves the “good energy” on the platform.

“Skin conditions are painful and debilitating — it’s not always just a skin issue, but a health issue. It can also be confusing and emotionally exhausting,” she says. “I always want to do more to make others feel comforted, remind them they’re not alone and to feel better about themselves!”