According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis affects 7.5 million people in the United States (NPF, 2012). The condition doesn’t consider how many people know your name or how many Twitter followers you have. It doesn’t go on hold while you shoot a film overseas or star in your own reality show. It’s an autoimmune disease that does what it wants unless you do something about it.
Many celebrities have dealt with the disease while remaining in the public eye, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a successful career.
LeAnn Rimes was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was two. Since then, she has gone on to be one of the most successful women in music, helping to bring country music into the mainstream and winning two Grammy awards along the way. Rimes has put out over 10 studio albums and lent her vocal talent to numerous projects. Rimes went public with her psoriasis in 2008, as part of the “Stop Hiding, Start Living” psoriasis awareness campaign.
You may recognize Eli Roth from his role as Donny Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s smash-hit,Inglourious Basterds. Or maybe you’ve seen the horror films he directed, including Hostel andHostel: Part II. However, when Eli’s not in the spotlight, he’s dealing with his psoriasis…and living a completely normal life despite it.
The host of the popular show What Not to Wear was diagnosed with psoriasis at a very early age. She has parlayed her success on the TLC show into philanthropy and acted as a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation. In an interview withOK magazine, London describes her involvement as a means to provide empowerment to others in their approach to dealing with psoriasis.
Half of the iconic music duo Simon and Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel has dealt with scaly, itchy outbreaks for most of his life. In an interview with the Canadian Jewish News, the musician tells of an experience where he visited the Dead Sea while in Tel Aviv. “I’ve been told that if you float in that salty, buoyant water, it’s very good for the skin,” he says. “I found it not so much therapeutic as beautiful.”
World-class golfer Phil Mickelson suffers from psoriatic arthritis—but he doesn’t let the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling affect his game. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can include:
- separation of the nail from the nail bed
- swollen, tender joints
- painful muscles and tendons
- eye redness and pain
This American novelist has dealt with psoriasis his whole life. He’s even written about it: Updike devoted a chapter of his book called Self Consciousness to his psoriasis. He also penned a personal history essay for The New Yorker titled “At War With My Skin.” According to the article, the writer’s mother and her mother had it (Updike, 1985).
The comedian who’s made us laugh since his days on Saturday Night Live recently penned an essay for The Huffington Post titled, “Seriously, I have Psoriasis.” Lovitz shares his story of psoriasis, how he’s dealt with the disease, as well as advice for others.
“My advice for people living with psoriasis is to speak up to a dermatologist about how the disease affects your life,” Lovitz said. He reminds us that while psoriasis is no joke, it’s also not something that should hold you back. “Nobody is perfect, right,” Lovitz says. “Trust me, I would know. I make fun of people for a living, remember?”
Jerry ‘Beaver’ Mathers
Find comfort in the fact that America’s favorite younger brother, “The Beaver,” is winning his battle with psoriasis. Mathers told USA Today, “Mine is confined to my heels and sometimes a small section on my butt.” According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about four out of every five people with psoriasis have a mild version of the condition. That is, psoriasis covers less than three percent of their body (NPF, 2012).
Dealing with the autoimmune disease on a normal schedule is stressful, but imagine living each day on camera, your name and photographs in all of the tabloids and marathons of your reality show on television. For Kim Kardashian, this is a reality. In fact, she was diagnosed with psoriasis on an episode of her show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, after noticing red, inflamed patches of skin. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, also copes with the disease.
Recent winner of the television show America’s Next Top Model, CariDee English, has dealt with psoriasis since childhood. Like other celebrities with the condition, English has channeled her success and influence to spread awareness about the disease. She’s even published photos of the itchy plaques that were taken during a flare-up to show that it affects people from all walks of life.
I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was in High School. I started noticing inflamed flakey patches on my head and as I would itch it to make it go away it would just bleed. I didn’t think anything of it until it spread to my ears, behind my ears and on the back of neck. My mother took me to so many doctors and they all said “its controllable, not curable”. It is also embarrassing and painful mentally and emotionally. Its been years and its gotten worse, its still on my scalp, all over my ears, behind my neck and it’s spread throughout my back, fingers and chest. I try to hide it but the flakes are always there. The patches are hard to conceal, especially in the ears. My scalp bleeds and I have even had to get fluid shots on my head but nothing has worked. I use Clobex medicated lotion that helps take it away for only a day. I have used medicated shampoo’s and nothing works. It’s a burden and something I have to battle against with no chance of winning. I have had many operations on my back for another disease I was diagnosed with and I have always said I would rather have surgery every week for the rest of my life than to continue to deal with psoriasis! I still haven’t learned to deal with it, I try to pretend it doesn’t exist and not think too much about it but it’s constantly there and every single second of my life I am questioning if the person I am next to can notice it and what they are thinking. I love to style my hair up in high buns but its hard because the patches show through and there are flakes that you constantly have to pick at. You always worry what others think because some are ignorant to it; they think its poor hygiene or dandruff or just don’t understand it. I also believe hair stylists need to be educated on it because plenty of times I have been asked if it is contiguous and when I try to explain it to them they just don’t get it. Of course, in everything in life you can’t make anyone see what you see. I find myself always on edge to try to explain to people that is is an auto-immuine disease but in reality I don’t owe anyone anything. This is a disease that comes with a never ending battle. I hope more researches can come out that will help us control it more!