Managing Through Psoriasis
- Beloved singer/songwriter and actress LeAnn Rimes, 40, was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was 2 years old.
- During the pandemic, Rimes’ psoriasis flared up and forced her to reconcile with the emotions of her psoriasis journey once again. The additional feelings of “isolation and despair” she felt during lockdown translated into one her newly released songs, spaceship.
- Psoriasis, in general, is a condition that can cause the development of red, itchy patches on the skin. The condition affects up to 3.2 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Symptoms associated with psoriasis include red patches of skin covered with silvery scales, small scaling spots, dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch, itching, burning, or soreness, thickened or ridged nails and swollen or stiff joints. If you ever start to notice red, scaly spots on your body, one of our experts recommends you see a dermatologist right away.
- People with psoriasis are about three times more likely to develop depression, according to one of our experts. So, remember to always advocate for your physical and mental health during if you are living with psoriasis.
Rimes released her latest album, god’s work, in September. And one of its songs, spaceship, was actually written in the early days of pandemic lockdown as a way to process the emotions she felt during such an uncertain time.Read More
She’s even said the “feeling of isolation and despair” was the driving force in writing that song. In releasing such a vulnerable song, she’s hoping that others will realize there’s so much good that can come from “letting it all out and expressing these harder emotions.”
But songwriting inspiration wasn’t the only thing to come out of Rimes’ time in lockdown. A resurfacing of her psoriasis symptoms forced her down a path of self love that’s inspired many other psoriasis warriors just like her.
LeAnn Rimes’ Psoriasis Journey
LeAnn Rimes was diagnosed with psoriasis earlier than most at age 2. By the time she was six, about 80 percent of Rimes’ body was covered in painful red spots, according to an article she wrote for Glamour.
Rimes did everything she could to hide her condition from the world and find treatment that worked. Eventually, she discovered an injectable treatment in her 20s that kept her skin clear, but the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic brought her symptoms to the surface again.
“All hell broke loose in the world—and inside of me, as I’m sure it did for so many other people amid this pandemic,” she wrote. “Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis, and with so much uncertainty happening, my flare-ups came right back.”
Since then, the beloved singer has decided to own her psoriasis and share details about her journey to educate about the chronic condition. She even did a nude photoshoot for the Glamour article that put her psoriasis on full display.
“I hope anyone who also kept themselves small has the courage to step outside of that cage,” she wrote. “When we allow ourselves not to be held in, our lives come back to us.”
Understanding LeAnn Rimes’ Condition: Psoriasis
Now that we’ve taken a look at LeAnn Rimes’ psoriasis journey, let’s take a step back and understand the condition more fully. Psoriasis, in general, is a condition that affects up to 3.2 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It can cause the development of red, itchy patches on the skin. But there are many different types of the disease with plaque psoriasis being the most common.
“Psoriasis is a chronic, auto-immune skin condition where you have red, scaly patches on the skin,” Dr. Saakshi Khattri, a dermatologist/rheumatologist at Mount Sinai Health System, previously told SurvivorNet. “It is a chronic condition, which can ebb and flow. You can have good days and bad days.”
People with psoriasis are often asymptomatic, but uncomfortable outbreaks can happen. That being said, psoriasis patches can vary in how they look on the skin. You might have a few spots with scaling similar to dandruff or rashes covering a large portion of your body. The most common places to see psoriasis patches are the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles of feet, scalp, face and palms.
“Some patients report itching [or a] burning sensation, but that doesn’t tend to be the norm. It certainly can happen,” Dr. Khattri explained. “Then if you have psoriasis in the genital area, it can feel uncomfortable just because it’s in a very sensitive part of the body. But for the most part, it tends to be asymptomatic.”
Symptoms associated with psoriasis include:
- Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
- Small scaling spots
- Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
- Itching, burning, or soreness
- Thickened or ridged nails
- Swollen or stiff joints
If you ever start to notice red, scaly spots on your body, Dr. Khattri recommends you see a dermatologist right away so you get get a proper diagnosis and the proper care you need.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that does not have a cure, but there are many different ways to help manage symptoms. Treatment for the disease also varies but the three main categories include topical treatments like ointments or creams you can rub on the skin, phototherapy which uses UVB light to treat the disease and systemic treatments like drugs that target parts of the immune system you can take orally or through an IV.
Mental Health for Psoriasis Warriors
It’s absolutely normal to feel nervous or aware of your psoriasis, according to Dr. Khattri. But it’s crucial to feel like the emotions you’re having about your psoriasis are being addressed if you need them to be.
“If you have psoriasis on your skin, and if it’s affecting your quality of life, it’s important to advocate for yourself and not be dismissed by a health care practitioner,” Dr. Khattri told SurvivorNet.
In addition, it’s important to remember that psoriasis can often lead to depression. In an interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. April Armstrong, the associate dean of clinical research at Keck School of Medicine at USC, talked about the potential mental health consequences of a psoriasis diagnosis.
“The mental burned of psoriasis is quite significant,” Dr. Armstrong said. “We have probably years of studies now looking at this particular area.”
She want on to explain that people with psoriasis are about three times more likely to develop depression with patients who are younger and patients with more severe psoriasis being most vulnerable.
In her own practice, Dr. Armstrong makes a point to ask her patients how’re they’re feeling.
“I want to know if there are other things that I could do to help patients not just in terms of the physical manifestations of their psoriasis,” she said. “I think in some of our patients we may have to refer them to other mental health professionals so they can get professional counseling and help in those areas”
“But one thing that i hope many of our patients know that many of us who are clinicians we are here with you in the long journey.”
By working together with her patients over time, Dr. Armstrong hopes her patients can get to a place where their psoriasis doesn’t get int he way of them living their lives to the fullest.
“Psoriasis is kind of like a marathon,” she said. “We’re gonna work together to find the best treatment for you so that you can actually focus on things that are most import to you rather than psoriasis.”