For many people, having the odd spot or two can be irritating, but bearable. However, dealing with a severe case of acne can be a lot more difficult to deal with.

Acne affects around 95 per cent of people between the ages of 11 and 30 in the UK according to the NHS, with the condition ranging from mild to severe.

For Chirk woman and Miss Wales finalist, Lauren Parkinson, 24, her acne was one of the more severe types.

After competing at an international pageant in 2018 in Myanmar, Lauren’s acne suddenly started to worsen.

The Leader:

Lauren after recovering from the acne

Competing in beauty pageants at the time, Lauren had to cover up spots on her face for events that she was attending, but in every day life, she was advised to refrain from covering up the affected areas.

She recalls receiving comments from some people about her skin and how it affected her confidence.

“I went to see doctors and they put me on all sorts of antibiotics which just didn’t work,” Lauren explained.

“Then they sent me to Wrexham Maelor Hospital to see the dermatologist there, and I was put on roaccutane, which is a very controversial drug. It can cause severe depression and psychosis among other harsh side effects – it’s a horrible drug.

The Leader:

Images above and below showed the extent of Lauren's acne

“I was on that between January and August, and during that time I was advised not to wear make-up to cover the acne because it can make it worse. So I was avoiding it in my every day life, unless I was going to an event which meant I would have to wear it.

“I was working without wearing make-up and some of the comments I received from people were quite nasty. I remember over-hearing a woman saying to her young daughter something like ‘look at her face’.

“The medication works by bringing the acne out more before it gets better, so I had to just deal with comments like that. It can knock your confidence at times.”

After having to deal with the difficulties posed by acne and the medication, Lauren decided to take a different approach to dealing with the condition.

The Leader:

Using her platform on social media, she wanted to share her story with younger people online, in a bid to encourage people to not feel ashamed when suffering with acne.

She said: “When competing in beauty pageants, you’re doing things where you have to present yourself to a certain standard, so that was difficult.

“It can knock your confidence when you have to face every day with acne on your face.

“I’ve shared through social media some before and after pictures and kept people updated throughout the progress.

“A lot of parents of younger girls got in touch with me to say their daughters had been struggling with acne, and seeing me being so open about it and honest has helped them to deal with it.

“It’s not something that you have to hide behind, it’s something you just have to learn to embrace because it does get better.

“Embrace the skin you’re in – with acne there are ways to treat it and it will get better.

“You shouldn’t have to hide away from it. I’m very guilty of over-editing pictures and feeling like I need to airbrush pictures to be at a certain standard for social media, until I just decided one day that I couldn’t carry on doing that.

“Social media makes it quite difficult for younger people, because they can often feel there is such a high standard that they have to achieve.”

Lauren was able to see a huge improvement in the condition of her skin after medication and help from those close to her.

She added: “My friends and family, in particular my mother and two best friends, helped me to get through the difficult periods of having acne.

“Being on the medication meant I wasn’t an easy person to deal with at times, but knowing they were there to talk to helped me to come to terms with it.

“Having people say to me how much better my skin looked over time helped my confidence to grow so much.

“Everyone’s different and some people might be more comfortable being open than others, so I wouldn’t recommend opening up about it until you’re ready to do that.

“But there are support pages on social media, and if people want to reach out to me on social media, I’m always happy to help.”