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Mum who was too embarrassed to take her son swimming due to acne celebrates her clear skin with a trip to the pool

A mum who “didn’t want to be seen by anyone” and was too embarrassed to take her son swimming after suffering from acne all her adult life has celebrated her clear skin by taking her three-year-old to the pool.

Clare West, 31, a nurse, from Leicester, said she has struggled with breakouts on her face since she was 13 and admits that it even started to affect her marriage to Tom West, 33, a building site contractor.

Clare’s only respite was when she was pregnant with their three-year-old son Ethan, when her acne was replaced with a “pregnancy glow” – but the acne soon returned after she gave birth.

Clare West
Clare struggled with breakouts on her face for years before finding Bedew Skin (Collect/PA Real Life)

Her condition is made worse by having to wear a mask at work in the hospital but, since discovering a new cleanser, Clare said she has regained her confidence and got her life back – booking swimming classes with her son.

“My breakouts are usually around my mouth and chin,” said Clare.

“I have to wear a mask at work so that probably irritates my face even more.”

Clare West
Clare no longer struggles with severe acne (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “It’s such a big insecurity because, when I’m not on shift, my face isn’t really something I can hide, and I find makeup just makes things worse.

“It really affected me and it started to affect the people around me too because I just didn’t want to be seen by anyone.

“Getting in the pool with Ethan was a wonderful moment because it shows just how far I’ve come.”

Clare West
Clare first experienced acne when she was 13 (Collect/PA Real Life)

For Clare, her problems with acne started at an early age.

“Ever since turning 13, I’ve struggled with bad skin and hormonal breakouts on my face,” she said.

“I remember my mum taking me to the GP and they put me on the pill to try to calm down the flareups.”

She added: “I’ve been on different antibiotics too, some have worked better than others.”

As an adult, Clare found using a contraceptive pill helped to clear her skin.

“I was on it for 10 years and it worked really well but eventually my GP said I’d been on it too long and needed to try something else,” she said.

Clare West
Clare says she has regained her confidence (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “When I fell pregnant with Ethan, I was really worried about my skin getting worse, as I’ve heard of that happening to women, but I was really lucky – I had the pregnancy glow and didn’t have any acne throughout my pregnancy.”

But, after giving birth in 2019, Clare said her skin started to break out again.

“It was really difficult to get under control,” Clare said.

Clare West
Clare says her acne affected her marriage (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I was using all sorts of different products I’d found online as well as antibiotics to keep the spots at bay (in preparation) for my wedding in September 2021.

“My skin problems were starting to affect my marriage because my confidence was completely knocked, I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere.

“I really wanted to take my son swimming, but I didn’t have the confidence to do so.”

Clare West
Clare now takes Ethan swimming (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I’ve been with Tom since I was 17 so he’s been there throughout all my ups and downs, and he knew how much my skin bothered me. He’s always been my biggest supporter.”

It was not until January 2022 that Clare discovered Bedew Skin.

“I was scrolling through Instagram when I found their account, I saw a lot of products for keeping your skin clear, so I decided to give it a go,” she said.

Clare West
Clare now has clear skin (Collect/PA Real Life)

Clare began using Bedew Skin’s £8.99 cleanser twice a day and its moisturiser, which also costs £8.99.

“I didn’t expect much because I’ve tried so many things in the past but, by March 2022, my skin was really clear,” she said.

“Since then, I’ve stuck to my daily routine and while my skin isn’t perfect, it’s so much better.”

Clare West
Clare says Tom has always been her biggest supporter (Collect/PA Real Life)

Now Clare’s skin is clear and she says it has given her the confidence to book swimming sessions with her son.

“I still get the occasional spot here and there but it’s nowhere near as bad as it once was,” she said.

“I booked the pool sessions with Ethan and I think my husband Tom was quite shocked because it’s something I never would have done before.”

Clare West
Clare now has the confidence to take her son swimming (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “It feels so nice to have that bonding experience with my child and Ethan loved the water.

“I’ll always have some insecurities when it comes to my skin but now that it’s clearer, I feel able to do things without a second thought.

“I’ve regained my confidence and I’m making memories with my family, I couldn’t ask for more.”