Personal trainer who had the ‘worst acne ever seen’ shares her striking before and after pictures | Daily Mail Online

by fitness journalist

A personal trainer who was told by a doctor she had the ‘worst acne he’s ever seen’ has shared her incredible transformation after trying a new regime. 

Emily Keel, 25, from Portsmouth, had suffered with severe cystic acne since the age of 12, causing bouts of depression.

She felt like doctors were insensitive about her crippling skin condition, which was made worse by polycystic ovary syndrome.

Over the past few years, Miss Keel has tried everything from a gluten and dairy free diet, light therapy, antibiotics and chemical peels – but saw little improvement.

But after being prescribed a drug known as isotretinoin, branded as Roaccutane, in February, and trying a range of products, her skin has cleared up.

Emily Keel, 24, from Portsmouth, who was told by a doctor she had the ‘worst acne he’s ever seen’ has shared her transformation after trying a new regime

Since being prescribed a drug known as isotretinoin in February, and trying a range of products, Miss Keel’s skin has drastically changed (pictured)

Miss Keel pictured left, in February, when she first started taking medication, centre, in May, at the end of her medication journey, and right, in July

Miss Keel wrote on an Instagram post: ‘I feel like me again and it’s the best feeling in the world.

‘I still can’t quite believe that there is only six months between the first and the last photo.

‘I rarely look back at photos of my skin at its worst because it’s like looking at a different person. 

‘I tried so hard to be strong and brave but it took so much of my energy. I was a shell of who I am now.’

Miss Keel has spent her teenage years and early twenties living with cystic acne, a condition that caused aggressive boil-like spots to erupt across her entire face.

When her acne flared up, hard boil-like lumps formed underneath the skin on her face. 

‘I was called names at school and I’ve always felt like the “ugly, spotty” one,’ Miss Keel said in January.

‘Complete strangers in the street have asked me what’s wrong with my skin. Even with my partner Charles, I sometimes lose my confidence when my skin is really bad.’   

Miss Keel has suffered with ‘angry cystic acne’ since the age of 12 which was very ‘painful and sore’ and left her ‘in a very low and dark place’

 ‘I was called names at school and I’ve always felt like the “ugly, spotty” one,’ Miss Keel said

Miss Keel, pictured at her home in Portsmouth, felt like doctors were insensitive about her crippling condition, which was made worse by polycystsic ovary syndrome

Miss Keel, pictured in June, said she feels herself again since her skin has cleared

Miss Keel visited dermatologists seeking treatment for her skin, and it was at one appointment when she was told by a doctor she had the worst skin they’d ever seen.

The tactless diagnosis, Miss Keel confesses, was her lowest point. She said: ‘It was really hurtful coming from a medical professional; I was really disappointed.

‘I thought you should be able to handle situations better or know that it’s going to affect someone’s mental health.

‘I think at that point I just felt really rubbish about my skin.’

Miss Keel attended the appointment with her father Stephen Keel, something he admits was shocking to be told.

He said: ‘That was quite hard to hear.

‘Through the worst time and everything I really just felt that we’d lost her and lost the personality that she had.’

The emotional stress of living with the skin condition had previously led the personal trainer to quit her job at her local gym.

Miss Keel said: ‘Working in the gym when my acne was getting worse, I think I was really conscious I wasn’t being a good role model.

Miss Keel, pictured in June, had to quit her job as a personal trainer because she was embarrassed about her condition

Miss Keel’s father, Stephen Keel (pictured), said: ‘I really just felt that we’d lost her and lost the personality that she had’

Miss Keel said acne is a vicious cycle because it makes you stressed 


Miss Keel was prescribed isotretinoin, which is also marketed under Roaccutane.

Miss Keel said she has been using Banish products

The drug reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and therefore blocked pore, kills bacteria and relieves redness and soreness.

Roaccutane capsules start to work after a week to ten days, with four out of five users seeing clear skin in four months.

Dr Emma Wedgeworth, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson said: ‘Roaccutane is still the most effective medication we have for acne and for some people is the only treatment that their acne will respond to.’

‘While there is no doubt that some people will experience side effects, in my experience serious side effects are rare.’ 

Miss Keel also said she has been using Banish products for the past few months, including All Mint Clear Cleanser, Banish Oil, Vitamin C Creme and the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.

In January, Miss Keel revealed her skin had started to heal within a couple of weeks with the use of a serum called Silver Serum.

It contains a patented form of silver called MicroSilver that is claimed to seek out and kill bad skin bacteria while leaving good skin bacteria intact to keep skin smoother and less inflamed. 

MicroSilver has been found in two studies to reduce inflammation and infection in skin lesions.

After a two-week trial period, it was discovered to be effective at reducing the severity and symptoms of skin infection in 70 per cent of patients 

In a longer trial involving patients with severe skin infection, 93 per cent were able to come off other medicated treatments after applying MicroSilver to their infected skin.

‘I was so self-conscious, I didn’t want to teach classes anymore, I didn’t want to be in front of people all the time.

‘I felt like people were judging me and thinking that I wasn’t living a healthy lifestyle.

‘It was a vicious cycle, especially when you have the pressure of thinking you should look a certain way in the job role as well.’

At the beginning of 2018, Miss Keel was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause acne, but claims she has had little guidance or help from a GP with the issue.

She said: ‘I’m a personal trainer and so I do all the right things everyone tells you to do to improve acne regarding diet and exercise and weight control.

‘In fact, I’d say I’ve probably gone beyond the normal bounds of investigation to try and heal my acne.’

Like most people who suffer with skin ailments, Miss Keel has searched the internet for miracle cures.

She tried a plethora of home remedies with disappointing degrees of success.

Miss Keel said: ‘I definitely used the internet a lot when I was growing up and Googled how to cure acne.

‘I think on social media and on the internet, there’s a lot of home cures like putting celery juice and apple cider vinegar on your face.

‘I’m sure they work for some people, but not for me.’

But then, a dermatologist prescribed a strong medication called isotretinoin, which is also sold under the brand name Roaccutane.

Roaccutane reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and therefore blocked pore, kills bacteria and relieves redness and soreness.

It’s known for its dramatic effect of clearing up acne. But it comes with potentially serious side effects including depressive thoughts and pancreatitis.

Miss Keel revealed she has struggled with dry skin, dry eyes, occasional headaches, tiredness, dehydration, and stiff joints.   

She also shares the products that have helped her skin transformation, including Silver Serum and Banish.

Although in recent months her skin has improved, Miss Keel shares her story online will raise awareness about the impact acne has on people’s mental health.

Passing comments about her appearance have upset her in the past, she urges people to approach the conversation around acne with more sensitivity.

She said: ‘Somebody said to me, “What’s wrong with your face?”. I knew it didn’t come from an unkind place.

A dermatologist prescribed a strong medication called Accutane, which is also sold under the brand name Roaccutane. It has had dramatic results for Miss Keel’s face (pictured in June)

Miss Keel shares her journey on Instagram after being overwhelmed with positive messages and support since she first shared an image of her acne. Pictured recently

‘It felt very insensitive and I was taken off guard. I got quite upset about it.’

A pivotal moment in Miss Keel’s life was when she first posted a picture of her acne on social media.

Overwhelmed by positive comments and support, she now devotes her time promoting skin-positivity and challenging misconceptions surrounding acne.

‘Skin-positivity is massively important to me because it’s something I’ve struggled with at times,’ Miss Keel said.

‘There’s times where I’ve hated my face and hated the way I looked.

‘The response I got from everything that I’ve posted has just been incredible.’

‘I am posting photos online and just trying to document my journey, no one’s perfect we all have our struggles – I’m trying to be honest and open about those times online.’


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. 

This content was originally published here.

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