Living With Psoriasis
- LeAnn Rimes, 40, was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was 2 years old. And though she used to hide her condition, she's since been open about her struggles to raise awareness for the psoriasis community.
- Back in 2020, the beloved singer/songwriter posed nude to reveal how psoriasis affected the skin on her lower back and legs, to show others they aren’t alone in their fight against the condition. More recently, the Grammy winner appears to have had a remarkable transformation and showed off her bikini body on a beach in Hawaii over the weekend.
- Psoriasis symptoms can often be managed with different treatments and some lifestyle adjustments. Treatment options basically fall into three categories: topical treatments (which would be ointments or creams you can rub on the skin), phototherapy (using UVB light to treat the disease), or systemic treatments (drugs taken either orally or through an IV that treat symptoms by targeting parts of the immune system).
- People with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis can find even more relief than ever before with oral medications, like the new FDA-approved drug SOTYKTUâ„¢ (deucravacitinib). The advantage of this new drug compared to others is its high efficacy without the side effects that can typically come along with other types of oral drugs for psoriasis.
Rimes was seen over the weekend, in exclusive photos obtained by the DailyMail, walking on a beach in Hawaii with her second husband Eddie Cibrian with undeniably flawless skin.Read More
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 a 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 worldand 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."
And in an October 29, 2020, Instagram post, Rimes shared two nude photos of herself showing off her psoriasis breakout.
“Music has been my gift, and why I'm here. But I want to give a voice to these other pieces of me. And I want to give a voice to what so many other people are going through,” she wrote. “This is finally my time to be unabashedly honest about what psoriasis is and what it looks like.”
“You know when you say something you've been holding in for so long, and it's such a sigh of relief? That’s what these photos are to me. I needed this. My whole bodymy mind, my spiritneeded this desperately,” Rimes continued. “With today being World Psoriasis Day, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my story with @glamourmag, head to the link in my bio/ stories to read my full essay.”
Understanding LeAnn Rimes' Condition: Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, itchy patches to develop on the skin. It is a chronic disease, which means that it does not have a cure. Fortunately, symptoms can often be managed with different treatments and, for some, even lifestyle adjustments.
The disease is rare; only about 3.2% of the U.S. population has it, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Still, there have been major developments when it comes to treating psoriasis in recent years.
"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, tells SurvivorNet. "It is a chronic condition, which can ebb and flow. You can have good days and bad days."
Dr. Saakshi notes that while anyone can develop psoriasis, the disease is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. Researchers believe genetics, as well as environmental factors, may play a role in the development of psoriasis.
If you are suffering from psoriasis, go see a dermatologist who can help determine the treatment plan best for you. Just know that you don't have to suffer alone. There are many things you can do to help lessen the severity or completely clear your symptoms.
How is Psoriasis Managed?
Psoriasis symptoms can often be managed with different treatments and some lifestyle adjustments. Treatment options basically fall into three categories: topical treatments (which would be ointments or creams you can rub on the skin), phototherapy (using UVB light to treat the disease), or systemic treatments (drugs taken either orally or through an IV that treat symptoms by targeting parts of the immune system).
Topicals are considered a mainstay for treating psoriasis, and there are several different options available. When it comes to topicals, the route you go with will depend on what type of psoriasis you have and how symptoms are presenting.
Some of the different topical creams and ointments that may be prescribed include:
- Corticosteroids: These drugs may be prescribed to treat mild to moderate psoriasis and can be a good option during flare ups. They are available as ointments, creams, lotions, gels, foams, sprays, and shampoos. Topical corticosteroids are classified into seven categories based on their potency, ranging in strength from ultra-high to low. Lower potency corticosteroids are typically used on the face, while areas with thick, chronic plaques often require treatment with ultrahigh-potency corticosteroids.
- Vitamin D analogues: These synthetic forms of vitamin D can help slow skin growth. The drugs can be used alone or in combination with corticosteroids. Calcipotriene (also known as calcipotriol) and calcitriol are the two commonly used synthetic vitamin D analogues.
- Retinoids: Retinoids can come as a gel or cream and be used to relieve some psoriasis symptoms. Topical tazarotene can be particularly helpful for palmar-plantar psoriasis (palms and soles) and nail psoriasis, the AAD and NPF guidelines say.
- Calcineurin inhibitors: These drugs reduce inflammation and plaque buildup. These may be helpful in areas where skin is thin, like around the eyes, but should not be used for long periods of time due to potential side effects. Although not FDA approved for psoriasis, the topical calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are often used in the treatment of psoriasis.
- Salicylic acid: These shampoos and scalp solutions can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis on the scalp. Salicylic acid minimizes scaling and softens plaques. It can also be combined with other topical medications including corticosteroids.
- Coal tar: A product of coal, this medication has been used to treat psoriasis for more than a century, according to AAD and NPF. These drugs can reduce scaling, itching, and inflammation and can be included in shampoos, creams, and oils.
Another treatment option for psoriasis is phototherapy. This therapy is generally used when medications applied to the skin alone do not work and alternative options are needed. It can also be used for patients who wish to avoid medications that can affect their entire body (system medications). Phototherapy can also be used in conjunction with topical and/or systemic psoriasis treatments.
Phototherapy exposes patients with psoriasis to narrow band UVB light.
"It's a limited spectrum of the sunlight, which we use. Patients generally have to come to a place that does phototherapy. There's a phototherapy box. You go there. It's generally three times a week in the very beginning until your psoriasis is in control. And beyond that we can space it apart to once a week or twice a week as maintenance," Dr. Khattri says.
A frequency of twice or three times weekly is effective and is recommended, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) guidelines.
Sometimes treatments applied to the skins' surface just aren't enough to clear stubborn psoriasis. That's where systemic treatment treatment that travels through your entire body rather than being aimed at one area can be beneficial for patients. Systemic treatments are available via oral medication and injections. Some have been around for decades, while others are relatively new to the landscape.
"I have patients who come in after having been to many other medical practices and not really getting much hope or really good treatments for their psoriasis," Dr. George Han, a dermatologist at Northwell Health/Lenox Hill Hospital, explains to SurvivorNet. "And we'll give the patient a systemic medicine that these days are very effective. We have treatments where over half of the patients who have moderate to severe psoriasis are getting 100% clear."
Systemic treatments may include oral medications like methotrexate, Apremilast (otezla), or cyclosporine. Biologic drugs, or biologics, which are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion (a slow drip of medicine into your vein), may also be given. These drugs target only specific parts of the immune system, while other systemic drugs target the whole system.
There are three main categories of biologics used to treat psoriasis, according to Dr. Khattri. These include:
- Injections that target and block TNF, a pro-inflammatory molecule that the body may be producing too much of when a person has psoriasis (includes drugs like Humira, Cimzia, and Enbrel)
- Injections that target and block IL-17, another pro-inflammatory molecule that could trigger psoriasis symptoms (includes drugs like Cosentyx, Taltz, and Siliq)
- Injections that target IL-12 or IL-23, which are also proteins linked to psoriasis symptoms (examples of these drugs include Tremfya and Ilumya)
"All of these are injections which are approved for psoriasis, and some of them are also approved for psoriatic arthritis," Dr. Khattri explains.
A New Drug For Plaque Psoriasis
There is good news for people out there suffering from plaque psoriasis, the most common of all psoriasis types that make up around 80-90% of all cases, which is characterized by thick and raised patches of skin known as plaques, dry white or silvery scales covering these plaques.
The FDA recently approved a new oral medication that has so far proven to have little to no side effects compared to existing drugs on the market, which come with more potential side effects and "box warnings."
With the new FDA-approved drug SOTYKTUâ„¢ (deucravacitinib), people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis can find even more relief than ever before with oral medications. The advantage of this new drug compared to others is its high efficacy without the side effects that can typically come along with other types of oral drugs for psoriasis.