Like many teenagers, Lexi Thomas started struggling with bad skin at 14, and hated her severe acne.
But while her friends' faces started to clear up as they got older, her spots refused to budge leaving her insecure and lacking confidence.
Now aged 20, Lexi, from Salisbury, has spent the last five years desperately trying to improve her skin, experimenting with 30 different treatments and seven courses of antibiotics.
She would get up at 5am to start her hour-long full coverage make-up routine in an attempt to cover her cystic spots.
She explains: "I got acne when I was fourteen like many teenagers do, but after everyone else’s spots cleared up, mine just carried on.
"I hated being the only one with acne as I got older. It made me feel so insecure and different to everyone else.
"I couldn’t leave the house without wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer just to hide it while my friends could breeze in wearing just their tinted moisturisers without any worries.
"I first saw a doctor about my acne when I was 15.
"Over the next few years I was put on seven different courses of antibiotics and tried 30 different topical treatments either prescribed by my doctor or that I found online or at the chemist."
She was then prescribed the roaccutane acne drug aged 18 - but said the results were short lived as six months after finishing the course, her acne returned even worse.
She said her acne got so bad that sometimes she thought the huge red cysts looked like bug bites.
Lexi added: "When I was 18, I was put on a course of Roaccutane for four months by a dermatologist. It worked and my skin was clear for the first six months.
"But then my acne returned worse than it had been before. Nothing really worked for me and my acne progressed from normal hormonal acne to cystic acne.
"I used to wake up for school and college at 5am to start my makeup routine which now sounds ludicrous.
"I even remember being told “it’s not that bad, it’s just acne” by a doctor when I was sitting in front of them crying due to anxiety caused by my acne.
"It’s very alienating when even doctors do not seem to understand how insecure acne can make you feel.
"I would say looking back now that I have suffered from bouts of depression due to my acne."
Lexi said her red cystic spots and bumpy skin got so bad that it affected her mental health and shattered her confidence.
As she got older, she felt she had no other choice but to call in sick to work when her acne couldn’t be covered with makeup and she felt too insecure about her skin to be out.
Some of the worst skin outbreaks she had happened once she turned 18.
She said: "The worst acne outbreak I’ve ever had was on a family holiday to New York when I was 18 and my first acne cyst appeared on my cheek under my eye.
"I initially thought it was a bug bite of some kind due to the size and nature of it, but upon visiting the doctor when I returned home, I learned that it was a huge acne cyst.
"At my previous job I used to have to ring in sick sometimes when my skin was at a certain stage as no makeup could conceal my cysts and I felt too insecure to be in public.
"My acne has had a tremendous effect on my life in general. It affected me mentally as I felt I couldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup which took me over an hour to do."
More recently during Covid and when working from home, Lexi refused to turn on the video camera during Zoom meetings as she couldn’t bear for anyone to see her skin.
Then her mum suggested she tried Clarol Silver Serum after reading about it in an article - the product is made in a neighbouring town.
For the first few weeks, Lexi’s skin went through a ‘purging phase’ where it temporarily worsened before suddenly dramatically improving.
She said: "I have been working remotely from home and a few times I refused to turn my video camera on and would make an excuse that I had a messy room or was with family when I couldn’t bear for anyone to see my skin in the stage it was in.
"I just found it too embarrassing that everyone would have a close-up of my face covered in acne on their screens.
"Despite all the doctors I have seen it was my mum who finally found something to help me clear up my skin.
"She was one of the few people who understood just how much my acne was affecting me so she was always on the look-out for anything new that I might be able to try."
Lexi used Clarol Silver Serum alongside two other Clarol products and after four weeks, her live acne had virtually vanished and the rough red texture on her cheek had disappeared.
Lexi now happily goes out without wearing makeup and keeps her video camera turned on for Zoom meetings; she believes her skin has dramatically improved and described it as ‘life-changing.’
She said her mother thought it ‘seemed like fate’ when she saw the product was made in the neighbouring town to where the family lived so was desperate for Lexi to try the range.
She said: "During the first few weeks of using the Silver Serum, my skin did go through a purging phase where it became temporarily worse.
"I patiently continued with the routine, and after four weeks I started to see a dramatic improvement in my acne, which I had never seen with any other topical product I had tried.
"Not only did my live acne virtually go, the rough red texture on the cheek area of my skin almost vanished. This is something I have struggled with for a long time and nothing seemed to make any difference."
Unlike the other harsh products Lexi had tried - which seemed highly chemical and strong - the serum felt nice on her skin and didn’t ‘sting’ or ‘dry her out’.
She has hailed the serum as ‘life changing’ and said she cannot believe the drastic improvement the product has had on her previously acne-prone skin.
Lexi has been left with some scarring after suffering with severe cystic acne for a number of years but is hopeful the scars will fade over time.
She added: "Overall I would say my skin has improved dramatically and now I can happily go out without any makeup on at all and turn my video camera on in Zoom meetings with no worries that my skin looks bad.
"This might not seem that big a deal to some people but to me it's life changing.
"My confidence has improved massively and for that I am forever thankful to the people who make these products who, as it turned out, happen to be just down the road."
Dr Elena Arias, aesthetic doctor and director of the Graal Clinic Marbella commented on Lexi’s dramatic transformation.
She said: "Low levels of good skin bacteria caused by damage from cosmetics, harsh skincare products, skincare medications and environmental damage makes room for higher levels of bad skin bacteria.
"This bacterial imbalance leads to a number of issues, including acne as well as contributing to skin sensitivity and dryness.
"The silver ingredient in Silver Serum helps replenish good skin bacteria and is repellent to bad skin bacteria.
"This readjustment of skin bacterial balance builds the skin’s natural resilience to fight acne and breakouts while also reducing dryness and sensitivity.
Lexi Thomas has been using Silver Serum Re-Balancing Serum by Clarol to treat her acne, £12.95 for 50ml, from www.clarol.co.uk