Teen with 18 ‘extremely painful’ flesh eating sores on face too scared to go outside

Kirsten Cowell, 19, broke off her relationship and has postponed her college course after pus-filled scars measuring 2cm deep appeared all over her face – now she’s desperate for a cure

Kirsten with black scars on her face
Kirsten first noticed boils on her face three months ago

A teenager was left frightened to go out after dozens of flesh eating ulcers appeared on her face.

Kirsten Cowell, 19, from Ammanford in Wales, first noticed painful, pus-filled boils appearing on her face three months ago, but hoped they’d disappear.

But they didn’t, and her face is still covered in 2cm deep holes which ooze pus and are covered in brown scabs.

Kirsten and mum Allison, 47, suspect she has pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), which causes large, open sores to grow all over the body rotting away skin and tissue.

The teen, who was meant to start a nail technician course recently, now rarely leaves the house because of the “extreme pain” caused by her scars.

Even chewing is painful, meaning she’s forced to stick to a diet of yoghurt, ice cream and soup.

The teen was planning to begin a nail technician course


Kennedy News and Media)

She has to avoid eating most foods because chewing is too painful


Kennedy News and Media)

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She even ended her two-year relationship with her boyfriend who she lived with because of the way she looked.

Kirsten said: “They look and feel like I have been stabbed in the face. I am constantly in extreme pain even if I move any part of my face or head and it’s worst in the mornings.

“My daily life now just consists of dealing with the pain and trying to manage the seeping 24/7.

“I can’t manage to do anything at all anymore. I’ve had to move back to my mum’s house because I need the care.”

Now on a course of antibiotics and steroids, Kirsten also had surgery on Friday to remove the 18 scabs and clean the wounds.

Her face needs to be dressed with bandages once a day and mum Allison wraps her pillows in puppy pads so that the pus can’t seep through.

Allison said: “She looks like she’s been shot in the face.

“They are extremely sore and she’s in extreme pain and the wounds are seeping to the bottom of the bandages.

“It’s been three months of hell. Her confidence has gone down the pan. She doesn’t want to be here, she’s suicidal, depressed and she doesn’t want to live and I don’t blame her.

“I don’t know how a person can suffer this pain for this long.”

She added her daughter is too nervous to even take a shower, for fear of causing herself even more pain.

PG can initially be caused by a small wound, scratch or insect bite, but Kirsten has no idea how she could have ended up with the illness.

Now, the pair are trying to find a PG specialist who will be able to treat the sores on Kirsten’s face.

Allison said: “We haven’t had a diagnosis but the dermatologist has said that it looks like PG.

“I’ve never seen anything so severe in my life but we don’t know where it has come from because she hasn’t been bitten or scratched and she doesn’t have an immune system issue so there’s no reason for it to happen.

“It’s a case of trying to get a PG specialist to have a look at her but there are only two in Wales.”

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