"Five years ago, I was rather pretty and not so ugly like this, right?"

Phuong said she took some medicine bought at a local pharmacy instead of going to the hospital because her and her husband Tuyen, now 33, were too poor to afford it.

She said: “After one month of taking the drugs, I became less itchy but hives remained on my skin.

“Then I switched to traditional medicine and all the hives disappeared, together with my itching. However, my skin began to sag and fold.”

Phuong then took another kind of traditional medicine to treat her rapid-aging skin problem – but to no avail.

The couple do not remember what the medicine was or which pharmacy they got it from.

Phuong said: “We considered that it was our destiny and I quit treatment in 2009. Now I always wear a face mask whenever I go out.