Images: Scott McGlynn

Skincare influencer Scott McGlynn was bullied over teen acne at school but now refuses to be concealed

The Instagrammer’s foundational experiences of bullying saw him quit school early. Twenty years later, he shares his skincare tips with celebrities

AS a teenager with Girls Aloud posters on his bedroom walls, Scott McGlynn would never have imagined having the opportunity to meet, yet alone interview, popstar Nadine Coyle.

Since being bullied at school for his acne Scott, 35, has gone on to gain 260,000 Instagram followers who look to him – and his many celebrity guests – for skincare tips.

His rise hasn’t gone unnoticed either. Earlier this month he won a Pride of Gwent award for his campaigning.

“I was so shocked but it’s quite nice to see a slight recognition of what I’ve been doing,” said Scott.

He was shortlisted for the award just a few days after a partnership with Superdrug, in which he teamed up with his local Blackwood branch to move make-up into the men’s section and make the point that skincare shouldn’t be limited by gender. 

Although he’s best known for his skincare content on an Instagram account featuring an array of famous faces Scott is also determined to speak out about his experiences of bullying, homophobia and poor mental health. He wants to let young people know that they are not alone.

“I just thought, I have to share – and I’m glad I did,” he said. 

Scott McGlynn has 260,000 Instagram followers. Image: Scott McGlynn.

His own time at school in Penarth in the late ’90s and early ’00s was plagued by depression and anxiety.

“I still suffer a little bit,” he says. “It depends what situation I’m in.” 

However, as a teenager, these issues were made worse by his struggle with acne.

Scott “didn’t talk to anybody” about what he was going through: “My head was to the floor. I would never engage in the conversation or would never do anything to be seen, to draw attention to myself. I didn’t do very well when I was younger. I didn’t stick up for myself or defend myself, which part of me does regret.”

By the time he reached year 11, Scott could no longer deal with the relentless bullying and decided to leave school mid-way through his final year. 

“I didn’t want to be there,” he said.

“I didn’t want to be part of that school because the teachers didn’t care. I can’t say it’s their fault, but I felt like I got given no support. It’s horrible to say that but it is the truth. I really do hope now that has changed.”

After leaving school with two GCSEs Scott’s first “proper job” was at a fast-food restaurant in Barry. He stayed there for more than three years but left after facing homophobic abuse from colleagues. 

“It’s quite shocking that in workplaces it’s the same [as school]”, he said. 

Entering his twenties and hoping for a fresh start, he moved to Cardiff with a new group of friends. 

“I didn’t have social skills growing up,” he said.

“I kind of found my personality. That’s the time you interact with other people, different personalities. I felt like I was robbed of all of that, but I was just more of a late bloomer.

Scott is best-known as a beauty influencer. Image: Scott McGlynn.

“At that time, YouTube was a big thing and there’s tonnes of YouTube videos out there about coming out.”

Scott “didn’t want to go down that route” though. 

Instead, in 2016 he released a memoir called Out, which discussed his experience of coming out as gay, and created a podcast called the Scott McGlynn Show

“It is still there,” he said, “but I haven’t recorded that much since 2020 just because I’ve been so busy doing other projects.”

Among those other projects are campaigns for Pride and Movember but the bulk of Scott’s content is skincare-related. 

Keen to provide boys and men with a source of information and inspiration for taking care of their skin, Scott became a Neutrogena ambassador in 2019 and made a name for himself as a beauty influencer.  

A lot of men “just nick their partners’ moisturiser” because they feel embarrassed to go out and buy their own, Scott explained. Some men even message him directly to ask for advice. 

Scott reviews skincare products on Instagram. Image: Scott McGlynn.

In a bid to reduce this stigma, he created the Celebrity Skin Talk show on Instagram, which he hopes will send a message to young men that “You don’t have to think you’ve got to look a certain way to fit in”. He’s received the support of plenty of famous guest stars who share his ethos. 

“I’m grateful for everyone that’s taking the time just to come on the show and have fun, have a good laugh,” he said.

Among Scott’s guests have been several of his childhood heroes: Keisha Buchanan from the Sugababes, Karan Ashley who starred in Power Rangers and, a personal highlight of his, Nadine Coyle of the pop group Girls Aloud. 

Scott McGlynn interviews Nadine Coyle on Instagram.

“Nadine Coyle was one of my posters on my wall, she’s a person that I went to see on tour,” he said. “My friends still can’t get over it.”

Other guests from series one and two include Coco Lodge, from this year’s Love Island, Rebekah Vardy and Junaid Ahmed, the reality TV star of Lovestruck High fame. 

His all-time favourite skincare tip came from Sandra Lee, better known as Dr Pimple Popper, who appeared on Celebrity Skin Talk in May. She suggested applying moisturiser straight after a bath or shower to allow it to “soak in”, which Scott agreed works wonders. The revelation he was most shocked by, however, was Kaye Adams from Loose Women explaining that she hasn’t moisturised at all in several years.

A variety of celebrities have appeared on Scott’s live IGTV series Celebrity Skin Talk. From left to right: Nadine Coyle, Janaid Ahmed, Karan Ashley. Images: Scott McGlynn.

“There’s so much out there now,” he said, “especially online.”

“I’m learning about products still to this day – if you’re interested in hearing about something then you can look online. I guarantee you’re going to find some reviews of people talking about it if it’s good or bad – which I really go by.” 

He champions the acne community on Instagram and YouTube as a positive space and an outlet for young people to try new things. Scott wishes he had such a wide range of online resources when he was growing up.

“I did it the hard way,” he said. “If you’re ever concerned, I always say there’s more on the market now.” 

Scott has plenty to look forward to in the new year. Series three of Celebrity Skin Talk is due to resume in January, and Scott is also hoping to explore some new projects.

“I’ve got no intention of slowing down,” he said, “there’s so much I want to do and it’s just the start.”