Celebrities with Psoriasis

Cara Delevingne, La La Anthony, and Jonathan Van Ness are outspoken about their psoriasis.

When Kim Kardashian West talks, her legion of fans listen — and many more people know about the challenges of living with psoriasis thanks to her. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star and businesswoman is open about her psoriasis, sharing photographs of her plaques (patches of thick, red, dry skin covered with silvery-white scale) and describing her experiences with the chronic skin disease she inherited from her mother, Kris Jenner.

“I am the only child my mom passed her autoimmune issue to. Lucky me, lol,” Kardashian West wrote in an essay for her sister Kourtney’s lifestyle blog, Poosh.

Kardashian West’s goal in sharing her life with psoriasis is to erase the stigma and false assumptions around this disease, which affects 7.5 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

One common misconception: Although psoriasis may look contagious, it’s not.

While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, genetics is a factor: About 1 out of 3 people with psoriasis report having a relative with the condition, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

But while at least 10 percent of people inherit one or more of the genes that could eventually lead to psoriasis, only 2 to 3 percent of the population develop the condition — possibly because of some combination of genes and external triggers, such as stress, injuries to the skin, certain medications, and infections like strep throat.

A growing number of celebrities living with psoriasis are sharing their stories in order to highlight causes and treatments, reveal their strategies for improving daily life, and promote a positive body image. Here’s a look at how some famous names are experiencing psoriasis.

Kim Kardashian West Isn’t Afraid to Show Some Skin

“When I was 25, I had my first psoriasis flare-up,” Kardashian West shared on Poosh. “I got a common cold, and since psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, this triggered it. It was all over my stomach and legs.”

After years of living with psoriasis, Kardashian West has learned to cope with it and accept the occasional flares as part of who she is. Today, she uses her platform to highlight her struggles with the condition, show solidarity with others — and sell body makeup. “If you have psoriasis, you can’t let it ruin your life or get the best of you,” is her view. “You have to do what you can to make sure you are comfortable but not let it take over.”

Her approach to treating her psoriasis has changed over time, sometimes veering into the quasi-scientific. Her regimen has included cortisone injections in her butt and a diet that includes copious amounts of celery juice.

La La Anthony Takes Control of Her Psoriasis

Actress and television personality La La Anthony has lived with psoriasis for about 15 years. “It kind of came out of nowhere for me,” she told ishonest in 2015, the year she became a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation. “I just noticed redness, itchiness, and flakiness on my skin and especially in my scalp. It was really bad.”

Jonathan Van Ness Promotes Self-Love and Self-Acceptance

Jonathan Van Ness, known for promoting empowerment in his starring role on Queer Eye, has extended that message to his life with psoriasis.

Van Ness told Allure that making peace with his psoriasis took time. “It’s weird, I feel like I've really come to a place of acceptance with her, so I don’t even really have to practice [self-care] anymore because it’s been, like, seven years now. I’m used to her when she’s up, and I’m used to her when she’s down. I’m just cool with it.”

LeAnn Rimes Is Comfortable in Her Own Skin

Two-time Grammy-winning singer LeAnn Rimes has been in the spotlight for more than 20 years, which made her initial efforts to hide her psoriasis even more stressful. “People always used to compliment me on my skin, how beautiful it was, and I’d think, if you only knew what was underneath my shirt or my long dress!” she told ishonest.

Phil Mickelson Joins the Club

Phil Mickelson, the superstar golfer, who turned 50 this year, began experiencing extreme pain in his ankle in the months leading up to the 2010 U.S. Open, with his left index finger and right wrist feeling as if he’d sprained them. He initially chalked it up to years of training and stress on his body and assumed it would pass, but then woke up one morning with pain so intense he couldn’t get out of bed. A rheumatologist diagnosed him with psoriatic arthritis.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, around 30 percent of people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis at some point in their lifetime.

Today Mickelson remains a top competitor and is a spokesperson for Enbrel, which is part of a class of drugs known as tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. These medications work by blocking TNF, a substance in the body that causes inflammation, among other functions.

Fashion Pundit Stacy London Uses Style to Combat Stigma

Stacy London, the stylist and cohost of What Not to Wear, has lived with psoriasis since the age of 4, when she had very small bumps behind her ears, she revealed in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. She had her worst bout when she was 11, which led to plaques covering her entire body from the neck down as well as serious scalp psoriasis.

"I went from having something that was kind of an invisible problem that maybe just made me feel kind of insecure on the inside to having a very, very visible problem and having to cope with that kids aren’t nice at 11," she told the newspaper. “It was very hard and I do think that the insecurity about the disease is sort of what led me to be interested in things that were sort of beautiful and sparkly and pretty like fashion magazines and fashion in general.”

Cara Delevingne Fights for Her True Self

Model and actress Cara Delevingne believes in being honest about her psoriasis. In 2013 she exposed a flare on her stomach to reporters backstage at a Paris fashion show, telling them, “It’s all over my body.” She explained that her symptoms flare up “at stressful times when I’m working a lot. You can’t cure it; you’ve just got to go on holiday.”

“I am not doing fashion work anymore, after having, like, psoriasis and all that stuff,” she told The Times. “Modeling just made me feel a bit hollow after a while. It didn’t make me grow at all as a human being. And I kind of forgot how young I was … I felt so old.”

Cyndi Lauper Stands Out

The emotional and social effects took a toll on her health. At times she was exhausted, felt miserable, and spent days in bed as the psoriasis worsened.

Sharing her story has been part of her recovery. Lauper has partnered with the National Psoriasis Foundation and Novartis, maker of the drug Cosentyx (secukinumab). She was part of Novartis’s “PsO at Work” 2019 campaign, aimed at combating workplace stigma surrounding psoriasis.

“Whether you are a performer, teacher, or office manager, psoriasis can be a challenge at work and impact your ability to perform at your best,” Lauper said in a press release. “Learning to figure out how to manage my psoriasis has allowed me to continue doing what I love while still standing out in the crowd — but not because of my psoriasis.”

Eli Roth Turns Psoriasis Into Creative Inspiration

Inglourious Basterds actor and The House With A Clock in Its Walls director Eli Roth has lived with psoriasis from a young age. “When I was 22, I had this horrible psoriasis outbreak. It was all over my legs, I couldn’t walk because my legs were cracked and bleeding,” he told the BBC. “Weird things like that can happen to your body. When I was 19 I had this infection on my face. When I shaved, I shaved off chunks of my face. I realized this would be a great idea for a horror movie.”

Roth’s 2002 directorial debut, Cabin Fever, follows a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a flesh-eating virus.

Katie Lowes Fights Stress With Diet and Exercise

Scandal actress Katie Lowes has had psoriasis since 2011, when she was about 28. “It was a happy time for me, because I was engaged and I got the role on Scandal, but that made it a stressful time, too. I broke out with red, scaly patches on the back of my neck,” she said in an interview with the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Stress, diet, and weather are the primary triggers of her psoriasis, she said. To avoid flares, she focuses on the things she can control. She explained, “I changed my diet so it wasn’t sugar-based. I work out first thing — yoga, Pilates, lots of deep breathing — because if I don’t work out first thing, it ain’t gonna happen!”

Additional reporting by Max Lee Onderdonk.

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