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Beyond Skin deep: Nancy Morel on living with an undiagnosed skin condition

two images of nancy morel, one a selfie with her skin flare up in full view and the other of her sitting on a sofa wearing a white jumper and jeans

Our Beyond Skin Deep series amplifies individual skin stories, encouraging exploration and sharing of all experiences and journeys. Nancy Morel, a 20-year-old content creator and hospitality worker, shares the story of how her undiagnosed skin condition has and still does impact her life… 

I was 13 years old when my skin first flared up. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in school, and my lip started to swell out of nowhere. I went to the school nurse who was adamant it was a reaction to medication, but I hadn’t taken any. The nurse didn’t believe me, and that’s when my confidence first took a huge blow.  

I was taken to hospital. Scared. Scared because no one knew the answer. They said they didn’t believe it was an allergic reaction and to go home and monitor my symptoms. The swelling stayed, and then this bruise-like mark appeared on my lip for a few days. The flare ups continued. The bruise-like marks would appear on my face, my legs, my stomach, feet. I’d be in pain, but no one seemed to know what was causing it. 


The flare ups hurt – the best way to describe it is that feeling towards the end of having pins and needles (specific, I know). I get this sharp stabbing pain, coupled with a throbbing bruising all at once. It’s hard to predict when a flare up will happen, as there isn’t a particular cause, though I have noticed that stress can be a factor. 

I’ve been to numerous doctors, different hospitals. I’ve had multiple biopsies and been put on steroid injections. I’ve been misdiagnosed with different conditions, and at first it was so frustrating not to have any answers. Like I think most people would, I spent hours upon hours on Google, self-diagnosing and trying to find reasons why this was happening to my skin. If I knew the cause or any triggers, I could perhaps have more control over the flare ups. But I don’t think I will ever receive an accurate diagnosis. And now seven years later, and for the first time, I’m actually ok with that.   

At thirteen you can only imagine the huge knock the condition had on my skin confidence. The stares, the comments, the whispers. You’d be surprised about the comments I still get. Around a year ago I had a doctor on TikTok with over 2 million followers react to my video – she insinuated that my condition was fake and that I was ‘very good at make up’. Only yesterday at work I had a lady ask me if I’d been in a car accident due to my skin I burst into tears. No matter how confident you try to become, you’re going to have days where those comments hurt.  

two images of nancy morel. one of her wearing jeans and a white gillet in a snowy landscape, the other is a selfie of her doing a kiss pose with her skin flared up


Social media really has helped me become a more confident version of myself. It’s kind of like therapy to me. I’ve built a platform across my socials with a supportive community at the centre. It’s a safe space where we can encourage people to feel comfortable in their own skin.  

Once I started to post my skin online, I would get comments from people who have struggled too or have skin conditions like me, and it made me feel so much more confident. If I had any advice, it would be to embrace your skin, or your differences. Life is too short to worry about not looking like everyone else; being unique is our superpower. 

I used to spend so much time on trying to mask over the bruises; now I’m really proud that I’m so much more confident in my own skin. Of course, I still wear make up, however when I have a flare up, I focus so much more on skin care that helps soothe my skin, rather than concealing over my condition. I know the stares and comments from strangers about my skin may never stop, but I’m proud of my skin. 


I’m certainly no skin care expert, but I’m so lucky that as a content creator I get to try SO many different products from different brands. I also have a huge, incredible community that I can ask for advice. Everyone’s skin is so different, but I wanted to share some of the brands and products I’ve found which have helped me.  

I recently did a video asking for skin care recommendations from my followers. Most of the comments mentioned La Roche-Posay, and I’ve found a few products of theirs (like the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Multi-Purpose Repairing Balm) that really help soothe my skin and help it feel hydrated. 

La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Uvmune 400 Invisible Fluid SPF50+ is honestly the best, and they also now have a tinted version too! 

REN and ELEMIS were brands my mum would use growing up I’d always see it in her bathroom when we were younger. When I started having the inflammation in my skin, my mum recommended both of them to me.  

I am obsessed with REN Clean Skincare’s EverCalm Rescue Mask and the REN Clean Skincare Overnight Recovery Balm; they are soothing and soft on the skin, and they now have one for your body too. In 2023 I got to work with REN on a paid campaign and it was honestly a dream come true. You could see my face in stores – how incredible is that? The girl who was once embarrassed of her condition was now in stores across the UK! 

I’m such a fan of the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm. It melts into the skin and softens like a face mask. It also gives such a deep cleanse. And they have so many different versions now which I’m excited to try too.  





“This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have.” 

Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert