A pageant queen who was crowned Miss Global England 2019 has spoken out against the unrealistic body image ideals portrayed on social media a week after completing treatment for severe acne.
Ashleigh Wild, 22, from Poulton, Lancashire, who last year shared a powerful picture of her acne-covered skin after being trolled online, decided to seek Roaccutane treatment for her acne just under six months ago.
The medication, which is also known as Isotretinoin, can only be prescribed and supervised by a specialist doctor and is said to work well on four out of five people, but has been linked to suicide.
Before starting treatment, Ashleigh admitted: From not being able to touch my face without it hurting, to not wanting to leave the house in fear I’m ugly, my acne has taken over my life’.
But now that she’s completed her treatment, Ashleigh – who recently returned home after two weeks in Mexico where she competed for Miss Global and placed in the top ten of 57 contestants – said it was the ‘best thing’ she’s done.
Ashleigh Wild, 21, from Poulton, Lancashire, who was previously trolled online for her severe acne, has revealed that she’s completed a six-month course of the drug Roaccutane
The pageant queen took to Instagram this week to share a picture of her skin after nearly 6 months of Roaccutane treatment
Ashleigh (left and right while at the start of her acne treatment), who was previously taunted by trolls for her skin condition, decided to seek roaccutane treatment just under six months ago
Ashleigh has always been a fan of natural and organic remedies, and thought long and hard before trying the drug.
‘It’s something I had considered in the past, but I just kept putting if off because of all the horror stories that you do hear and because everyone responds differently,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘But I just got to a point where I thought, “Try it and see what happens”, and it’s been the best thing I’ve done’.
The pageant queen, who first developed acne at the age of 12, said she decided to embark on the treatment after years of trying alternative high street creams and natural remedies.
She continued: ‘It is a last resort. You have to go to your GP and try numerous other medications that they have, such as creams and other forms of medication, which I did.
‘I went to the doctors and I tried all these other treatments and none of them worked. I got to about 14-15 and I thought, “You know what, I’m just going to try and find some of my own remedies”.
The 22-year-old, who first started developing acne at the age of 12, was prescribed the treatment by her doctor and has noticed a change in her skin (left during treatment and right after treatment)
Ashleigh (in Mexico wearing her national poppy costume in tribute to the armed forces), who earlier this year represented England for the international Miss Global competition in Mexico has continued to question the mainstream beauty standards presented online
‘I got natural products off the high street that I’d looked into buying that were really really good.
‘It worked for a while, but it got to a point last year where it was just got too much.
‘And I thought, “I need to do something about it”, because it was getting worse as I was getting older, which is something that shouldn’t normally be happening’.
After starting the drug, Ashleigh, was met with a range of side-effects including dry lips, nose bleeds, and sore joints and muscles but now believes it was ‘all worth it’.
She continued: ‘Now I’ve finished Roaccutane my acne could come back. There is a very slim chance it could come back. But if it does come back you get put on the medication again, but only for a short period of time.
‘You can relapse. But it’s like any medication, everyone responds to it differently. which is why there is no guarantee. So, fingers crossed I’ll be OK.’
Ashleigh said she was initially put off the idea because she’s always preferred natural remedies.
‘I put it off for years because of how severe it was, but I wish I’d gone on it sooner. I’m not one to take medication,’ she explained.
Ashleigh (at the Sheraton Mexico City Santa Fe hotel) said she got to a stage where her acne became ‘too much’ and she needed to do something about it
The 22-year-old (pictured at Manchester Airport before flying to Mexico in January) realised she was able to help others by documenting her acne journey online
‘When I have a headache or a stomach ache I don’t take a pain killer. I’d rather just ride it out until I feel better. It’s not that I’m against medication, I’d rather just not take it. I’ve always just be the same.
‘I think its because my mum’s someone who is into all her organic remedies, her natural foods and things like that, so taking Roaccutane was a big thing for me.
‘Not just because of the side effects but because I don’t normally take medication. But I wish I’d done it sooner and the side effects were all worth it.’
It comes months after Ashleigh took to Instagram to speak out against the comments sent to her by online bullies after she shared images of her severe acne in September.
The post, which went viral in less than five hours and which has now received more than 13,000 likes on Instagram, gathered the attention of Love Island’s Amy Hart, Amber Turner and Georgia Kousoulou from TOWIE, who shared her post on their Instagram Stories.
It also showed Ashleigh the impact she could have on others battling with the same skin condition.
Ashleigh said: ‘When I put that original post on so many people reached out to me that I was so shocked about saying I had helped them speak about their acne.
‘Throughout the whole treatment I spoke about it on my Instagram I was really open about the side effects and how I was feeling. I did weekly reviews on how my skin had improved but also the down side of it as in the side effects I was experiencing.’
‘Social media isn’t life. We all have our flaws and our imperfections and things we’re really conscious about and I wanted to use my platform to say that because it’s not spoken about enough and that’s what motivated me in the first place.
‘The response showed me how much I’d helped people and I thought why would I stop there? I wanted to carry on and I will carry on doing that.’
Last year, Ashleigh hit back at the trolls who insulted her severe acne by defiantly sharing an image of herself without make-up on social media
Ashleigh was crowned Miss Grand England in June last year, however, due to the international competition being held in crisis-ridden Venezuela, Team UK (which includes Scotland, Wales and England) decided to withdraw from the competition
Following talks with pageant officials, Ashleigh was then put forward to represent England at the international competition of Miss Global and flew to Mexico in January for the international pageant where she placed in the top ten.
Now back in the UK, Ashleigh, who graduated with a degree in Law from Lancaster University last year, will continue documenting her acne journey and hopes to inspire others.
She added: ‘Don’t let it define you at all. Now my skin is clear I barely wear make up.
‘Throughout my whole treatment I barely wore make up because it was me embracing me.
‘Those suffering with acne, don’t let it knock your confidence because everyone suffers with something and whether it’s acne or mental health or other things I always say some people have allergies some people have acne it’s just part of you.
‘If I can give a message to them and let it be passed on that’s my goal.’