Student suffering from severe acne reveals how she was bullied by trolls who said she ‘looked like a man’ – and needed a ‘warning’ for photos of her face
- Trolls bullied a student who suffered from severe acne for looking ‘too manly’
- Shauna Murdie, 22, from Scottish Borders, has suffered acne since she was 15
- The agriculture student said people wrote that her face looked ‘disgusting’
- Yet she hit back at them and said her skin and appearance did not define her
A student with severe acne caused by high testosterone levels became the victim of online trolls bullying her for looking too much like a man.
Trolls said agriculture student and farm helper Shauna Murdie, 22, from the Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, looked ‘disgusting’ and said photos of her face should come with a warning.
Shauna, who has suffered from acne since she was 15, said it was ‘incredibly challenging to deal with but I always tried my best not to let it drag me down’.
She said: ‘I had online trolls bully me based on gender, sexuality and my skin.
‘I had someone comment on my posts saying I shouldn’t be allowed to post my face online and it should have a warning on the post because no one should have to look at something like that.
Trolls said agriculture student and farm helper Shauna Murdie, 22, from the Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders, looked ‘disgusting’
‘Someone told me my face was disgusting and I should be ashamed of myself and deserve to have my skin the way it is.
‘They told me it was my own fault my skin is the way it is and if I simply washed my face and stopped being dirty my acne would go away.
‘It was distressing as my skin was so sore and uncomfortable and I was doing everything in my power to try to clear my skin from skincare, diet changes and speaking to my doctor.
‘Nothing was working for me. My hormones were out of control and having someone accuse me of wanting this for attention was incredibly hurtful.’
The trolls even suggested that photos of the agricultural student’s face should come with a warning
At first, her acne started mildly and only on her chest and back, causing minimal issues.
After six months Shauna got breakouts on her chin, under her eyes, above her lip and on her nose.
She said: ‘I found myself crying regularly, hating the way my face looked.
‘Acne was never a concern for me up until I was in my teens.
‘I was bullied on and off in high school. Often people mocked me because of my height as I am very short, or men often bullied me due to my small chest and my upper lip hair.’
Her breakouts became so painful in 2016 that Shauna visited the doctor, where she was prescribed Duac cream and lymecycline antibiotics.
They suggested she looked too masculine to be a woman in a barrage of vicious online attacks aimed at Shauna
Despite the cream helping her breakouts, it caused Shauna’s skin to become dry and itchy, leading to her decision to stop using the cream and antibiotics after less than a year.
The breakouts continued, slowly getting more severe, particularly in relation to her periods, causing massive insecurities for Shauna throughout her school and college years.
Shauna started to pick her skin because of her stress.
In December 2020, Shauna had her most severe breakout yet that covered her face, back, neck, shoulders and chest and caused acute pain.
It also left her with severe social anxiety.
Blood tests revealed Shauna had high Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and testosterone levels.
If AMH is too high in a woman it can prevent the development of female reproductive organs and promote the formation of male reproductive organs instead.
She said she was ‘very fortunate’ to have the support of her friends, family and her boyfriend (pictured with Shauna earlier this year)
She said her boyfriend made it his biggest priority to make sure she knew ‘just how beautiful’ he thought she was
Doctors suspected raised her testosterone level could be the main cause of the acne.
Posting about her experience online helped boost Shauna’s confidence as she received support from followers and racked up more than one million views on her Instagram.
Shauna said she was ‘very fortunate’ to have the support of her friends, family and her boyfriend.
She said: ‘My sisters have struggled with skin-related issues so we had each other to talk to about our worries and insecurities.
‘It has never affected my romantic relationships. I have been in a long-term relationship with my current partner for almost five years now.
‘He’s been there through all my ups and downs in life, including my struggles with hormones and my skin.
‘My skin never bothered him. If I cried, he would comfort me. He made it his mission to make sure I always knew just how beautiful he thought I was.
‘He would show me off any chance he got and he was always proud to say I was his partner.
‘He always told me my skin would never matter to him and it would never change how beautiful I was.
‘He has always been my biggest supporter through thick and thin. I have been so lucky to have such a loving and supportive partner.’
She added: ‘The most difficult obstacle for me to overcome was my own insecurities about my skin.
The 22-year-old has suffered from severe acne that has caused her pain and irritation for almost a decade
The Scottish woman said the support of her friends and family helped her overcome her anxiety. She added that her boyfriend of five years had been her biggest supporter when she shared her experience online
Although Shauna has tried numerous skin creams and treatments her acne has not cleared up. However, she said her skin and appearance did not define her
‘When my skin was at its worst my self-esteem was so incredibly low, I felt so unattractive.
‘My skin was inflamed and I was in so much pain. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror.
‘I kept posting online in the hope that eventually I would be able to look at myself and see someone beautiful.
‘It is an ongoing obstacle as I do struggle from time to time.
‘There are days I feel discouraged when I see the scars on my face or I get a new breakout but I keep reminding myself that my skin and my appearance do not define me.
‘As long as you are happy and you love the way you look that’s all that matters.’
WHAT IS CYSTIC ACNE?
Cystic acne – the most severe form of the skin condition – occurs when oil and dead skin cells build up deep within hair follicles.
If these become infected, it can cause boil-like blemishes.
Spots occur when a pore in the skin gets clogged, usually with dead skin cells. If bacteria enters the pore, it can become red and swollen.
Cystic acne takes place when this infection goes deep into the skin, creating tender bumps that are full of pus.
If the cyst bursts, it can spread the infection, causing more break outs.
Sufferers are usually in their teens or early 20s, but can be as young as eight or as old as 50. Cystic acne is more common in men.
The face, chest, back, upper arms and should are most often affected.
Cystic acne’s exact cause is unclear but is thought to involve the hormones androgen.
Androgen increases during puberty and can result in pores getting clogged.
In women, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause or polycystic ovary syndrome can also worsen acne.
Over-the-counter medication that can ease milder acne often have no effect on cystic forms.
A dermatologist may prescribe oral antibiotics that control bacteria and lower inflammation.
Creams and gels containing retionoid, a form of vitamin A, can also help to unclog pores.
Birth-control pills may also help women to regulate their hormones.
It is important to seek treatment to prevent scarring.
Acne sufferers should not pick at their blemishes as this may push the infection deeper and make it spread.
They should also lead a healthy lifestyle. Research suggests sugary diets can worsen acne.
Sufferers should also try and relax due to stress causing the body to release more hormones.
Source: Web MD
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