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Woman Who Caked On Makeup Since Age 10 To Hide Her Severe Acne Documents Her Journey On Instagram

Miranda Morris doing yoga on the Cayman Islands (Collect / PA Real Life)

A young woman told how moving 1,500 miles to teach yoga on the idyllic Cayman Islands in the Caribbean gave her the courage to document her bare-faced journey on Instagram, as she tried a radical treatment for severe acne.

Plagued by painful cystic acne since she was 10, Miranda Morris, 23, spent a decade “caking makeup" on her face to hide her often bleeding spots, which had drawn hurtful comments and shattered her confidence for years.

Rather than hiding away, as she started using Accutane in March this year – a powerful medication used for acne and sometimes cancer – encouraged by her stay-at-home mom Jodie, 48, Miranda, of Columbus, Ohio, shared unedited snaps of her progress, spots and all, online for all to see.

She said:

“Social media creates this idea that we all need to look and be perfect."
“But it's just not the case. If you're honest about yourself and your imperfections and don't try to filter them out, eventually that will shine through."
“By documenting my journey to better skin for all to see, I've learned that rather than caking myself in makeup and pretending to be happier than I am, it's better to embrace the real me, complete with acne. Being honest has given me more confidence."

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

She added:

“Now, when I share a post online, I don't think, 'What do I look like?' I think, 'Right, what have I got to say?'"

Miranda insists that posting honest pictures of herself on Instagram helped her to accept herself.

She continued:

“Yes, I'm having treatment for my acne, but by sharing my story it's really helped me to embrace what I'm doing and to be confident in my own skin. I'd been caking my face in makeup since I was 10 years old, but since I started my Instagram, I've not put a shred of makeup on."

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

Miranda added:

“Before this, I wouldn't dare leave the house without makeup on, but now, I'm confident enough to share my bare skin for the world to see."

Suffering with cystic acne since she was 10, Miranda, whose boyfriend of four years, Ryan Druss, 28, is an engineer, did everything she could to hide her blemishes until she started taking Accutane in March.

“I've had really bad acne for more than half my life," she explained.

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

“I remember when I was 11 stealing my mom's powder compact, taking it into school and just caking it all over my face."

“It probably looked completely ridiculous, but it made me feel better about my face."

But sometimes, when her spots bled profusely, there was nothing Miranda could do to hide them.

“When the spots bled it was awful, because I'd have to walk around with bits of tissue stuck to my face, like men do when they've cut themselves shaving," she said.

“People would do a double take and be like, 'What's going on with your face?'"

Her confidence at rock bottom, Miranda was horribly conscious of people staring at her skin.

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

“If someone wanted to say something cruel, they'd say, 'Have you seen your face?'" she said.

“Thankfully, no one said anything worse than that."

“But my confidence was at an all-time low and I stayed in my own bubble, never going up to people and saying, 'Hey, I'm Miranda.' I was too self-conscious."

Miranda Morris on the Cayman Islands (Collect / PA Real Life)

Her own harshest critic, she hated having her photo taken at school dances and proms.

“I'd just look at the pictures after and think I looked disgusting," she said.

“My friends would tell me I didn't look that bad – but I didn't believe them. I thought they were just saying it to be nice."

With the help of her supportive parents, Jodie and Paul, 48, who works in IT, Miranda tried treatments costing up to $500 a year.

“There are so many different things you can try. " she said. “I used all sorts of different creams and oils and saw a variety of different dermatologists, but all to no avail."

“I'd even had steroid injections in my face to try and shrink the cysts once a month – but they always came back."

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

With nothing working, Miranda decided to instead focus more on her yoga career and started applying for teaching jobs internationally.

Securing a position as an instructor on the Cayman Islands, she left her hometown in January this year.

“I wanted to do something different, for me, rather than just thinking about my acne," she said. “But I was also super hopeful that the sun and the salt water would help clear my skin."

Miranda Morris doing yoga on the Cayman Islands (Collect / PA Real Life)

Ironically, the stress of living alone for the first time had the opposite effect and Miranda had a serious acne flare up.

She said:

“My face just blew up. It was devastating."

That was when she decided to try Accutane – a strong medication used predominantly to treat severe acne.

“I was running out of options so this was very much a last resort for me because the side effects, such as making your body ache, can be very extreme," she said.

Speaking to a doctor on the island, after some initial tests she was prescribed a four-month course to see if it would finally banish the painful skin condition.

“The side effects of the drug basically mimic chemo," she said. “Your joints start to ache, your body dries out, you get dry eyes and nose bleeds and your hair starts to fall out. My hair doesn't fall out to the point where I'd need to shave my head, but when I brush it clumps do come out."

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

She added:

“And, as I was on the island by myself, I was absolutely terrified of how it might impact on me."

It was her anxiety that prompted Miranda's mom to suggest she create an Instagram account dedicated to sharing updates about her acne journey with her family and friends.

“At first I was like, 'You're completely crazy. It would mean the entire world would see my bare acne-covered face,'" she said.

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

But, with a little coaxing and after having a few days to think about it, Miranda finally took the plunge and created an Instagram.

She said:

“It helped me to start putting things in perspective. I was way more scared about being on an island by myself and having this treatment than I was about people on the internet saying, 'You have acne.'"

So, on March 24 this year, she posted her first ever unfiltered image.

Miranda Morris doing yoga on the Cayman Islands (Collect / PA Real Life)

“It was a particularly bad day where my skin had cysts all over it," she said. “Only my mom was following the account at the time, but putting the true version of myself out there finally felt like a huge relief. I could finally say, 'This is me.'"

Then, a few days later, feeling brave, Miranda decided to invite her followers from her usual Instagram to follow her acne journey.

“Overnight I gained 50 followers and it felt so supportive," she said. “I felt like they were following me because they cared, not because they wanted to make fun of me or my acne."

Encouraged, Miranda vowed to continue to share her story and to post unedited snaps.

Since then, she has gained almost 200 followers, who she regularly shares makeup free snaps with.

She said:

“At first I was like, 'Oh God, this is all a bit embarrassing.' But then, people started messaging me and thanking me for sharing my story and saying it made them feel better about themselves, which inspired me to keep going."

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

She continued:

“I try and make every post as honest as possible – no filters, no good angles, no pretend."
“I'm honest about how I feel about my acne and I'm honest about my treatment and how it's affecting me. I'm not whining, I just want to tell it how it is."

Now living back in the US, flying back earlier this month as the pandemic meant work as a yoga teacher dried up on the island, Miranda is continuing her treatment.

Miranda Morris shares unedited images of her acne on Instagram (Collect / PA Real Life)

She said:

“My cysts have shrunk, and my forehead is looking a lot smoother. I'm hopeful that my acne will go eventually."

But, for now, she is happy to enjoy the confidence she has gained by sharing her story on social media.

“I feel empowered that, after almost a decade of hiding my acne, I can now be honest about it," she said. “I feel so much lighter now that I've finally accepted who I am. I think if everyone's honest like this, they'll feel so much better about themselves."

“When [the virus] finally goes away, I can't wait to get back to teaching yoga, because that's my way of helping people to feel better. In the meantime, I'll continue to share my story on social media, not just to help others, but to continue to help myself, too."

You can follow Miranda's acne journey on Instagram here.