A WOMAN has revealed how her eating disorder left her with painful acne that people assume she was on fire with.
Charlie-Shannon Bedford, 20, has struggled with disordered eating habits since she was 12 but is now using her platform to share her experiences with others.
Doctors believe a lack of nutrients in her body was affecting circulation, causing blood to pool in odd areas – which in turn led to “bright red” skin and excruciating pain.
Charlie-Shannon claims medics “put her symptoms aside at first” until the condition got worse – with lumps developing on her face.
The Redcar student said: “I was in constant pain, some days just raising my head was too much as it constantly felt like someone had poured hot water on me.
“It wasn’t until the lumps appeared that someone actually checked my blood and found it wasn’t flowing properly around my body.
“My skin turned bright red – it was like someone was constantly burning my skin.”
Charlie-Shannon said the bumps were on her chin and cheeks and she hardly had any pus – but the pain was unbearable.
The student quickly realized that this was not “normal” acne as her face was swollen and she could barely speak.
Charlie-Shannon, who is currently studying mental nursing at the university, said living with her skin was hell between 2020 and 2022.
She tried taking acne medication, but it was worsening her mental health, so she looked for other solutions.
She said, “I’ve tried things at home like icing my face or using cooling and hydrating face masks.”
After her 18th birthday, Charlie-Shannon discovered a “little bump” above her eyebrow.
Shortly thereafter, a relapse of her eating disorder meant that Charlie-Shannon was hospitalized and the link between her and her acne was finally discovered.
She said: “Doctors determined that my body was producing too many white blood cells, which was causing the blood to not flow properly through my body – it’s also called leukocytosis.”
Leukocytosis is a condition in which the body has a higher than normal white blood cell count, which can lead to infection, inflammation, injury, and sometimes immune system dysfunction.
As of 2023, her skin has finally cleared and Charlie-Shannon has made great strides in her recovery.
Charlie-Shannon now makes it her mission to show others the horrible side effects that disordered eating can have by sharing videos on TikTok.
But being so open about her life has also led to internet trolling and countless hate comments.
She said: “I’ve been told I look like a burn survivor, I’ve been told to kill myself, I’ve been told to get cancer.
“I was told my eating disorder should have killed me.
“All because I showed people what eating disorders actually do to your body.”
But she also receives a lot of support and love from her family and friends who have helped her get through her bad days.
Now, Charlie-Shannon wants to use social media to show girls they matter, even if they look different.
She continued, “For anyone going through this, cliche as it may sound, it gets better.
“The hard work pays off quickly. There is so much more to life than a number on a scale.”
“Life is one hell of a journey and this is something you shouldn’t miss out on.
“If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you may miss the opportunity.
“As an individual, you are the only person who needs to spend 100% of your life with you, you might as well find a trait you love about yourself and live with it.”