- ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
- Kim Kardashian West has been open about her struggle with psoriasis, a common skin condition.
- Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system that often produces red, scaly patches on the skin.
- Although there is no cure, there are recommended treatments available.
Kim Kardashian West has often talked about having psoriasis, a condition that produces red, scaly patches on her skin. And now it appears it’s getting worse, according to recent updates from the reality TV star.
Sunday morning, Kardashian West posted a selfie on her Instagram story that reveals the extent to which her psoriasis has spread.
She had previously tweeted that psoriasis had “taken over” her body and asked her followers for advice.
“I think the time has come I start a medication for psoriasis,” she tweeted. “I’ve never seen it like this before and I can’t even cover it at this point. It’s taken over my body. Has anyone tried a medication for psoriasis and what kind works best? Need help ASAP!!!
I think the time has come I start a medication for psoriasis. I’ve never seen it like this before and I can’t even cover it at this point. It’s taken over my body. Has anyone tried a medication for psoriasis & what kind works best? Need help ASAP!!!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) December 24, 2018
Psoriasis is a skin condition that Kardashian West has battled for years
Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system that usually produces thick, scaly patches on the skin – most commonly on elbows and knees, although the patches can affect any area of the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), psoriasis affects about 7.5 million Americans. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, and there is no cure.
“We think that people may inherit a tendency for psoriasis, but not exhibit signs of it until a trigger like stress or an infection activates the condition,” dermatologist Dr. Allison Arthur told INSIDER.
Kardashian West has struggled with psoriasis since she was diagnosed in 2011, following in the footsteps of her mother Kris Jenner, who also has the disease. The revelation was documented on an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” in which the reality star said that her livelihood may be threatened by the “red, flaky dots” appearing on her body.
“My career is doing ad campaigns and swim photo shoots. People don’t understand the pressure on me to look perfect,” Kardashian West said. “When I gain a pound, it’s in the headlines. Imagine what the tabloids would do to me if they saw all these spots.”
This reaction may seem overly dramatic, but dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman told INSIDER that insecurity and embarrassment are not uncommon for people with psoriasis.
“Many patients feel stigmatized by the way their skin looks, are highly stressed, have higher incidences of depression and alcoholism and struggle with holding a job,” Jaliman said.
Kardashian West has managed to make peace with her dots over the years.
“I have that one patch on my right leg that is the most visible,” she wrote on her app. “I don’t even really try to cover it that much anymore. Sometimes I just feel like it’s my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it? After this many years, I’ve really learned to live with it.”
The KKW Beauty founder has previously had success with light therapy
Learning to live with psoriasis, however, doesn’t mean Kardashian West hasn’t tried to get rid of it. She has praised ointments, a healthy diet, seaweed-based products, and avoiding acidic foods for helping her handle the symptoms.
Kinda funny & gross but look at my heart shaped psoriasis! LOL Had to share! http://t.co/K2NtNt8
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 13, 2011
These methods are all approved by Arthur, who also recommended avoiding alcohol, minimizing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight to help manage a life with psoriasis. Bathing with oil like Robathol and then applying a moisturizer to damp skin can also help remove the scales, she said.
Aside from basic lifestyle changes, Kardashian West has tried a number of topical treatments over the years, from prescription cortisone cream, to bottled-up spring water from Costa Rica, to her sister Kourtney Kardashian’s breast milk.
Ok I'm trying a new psoriasis cream all week. I hope this works! I promise I will share the goods once I find something that really works!
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 1, 2011
Though the breast milk was a bust, Kardashian West may have been onto something with the spring water, according to dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner.
“High levels of minerals like selenium or sulfur may have calming effects,” Zeichner tells Refinery 29. “Dead Sea water is particularly useful because of its high levels of magnesium salt, which reduces skin inflammation.”
“I got it for my psoriasis because I’ll try anything,” she said. “I used to have it so bad on the back of my legs…Now I just have two patches that won’t seem to go away, but the rest have gone away ever since I had the baby.”
LED light therapy is a bit controversial
In November 2017, Kardashian West mentioned the same treatment to People and said her psoriasis was “almost gone.”
“I have been using this light – and I don’t wanna speak too soon because [the psoriasis] is almost gone – but I’ve been using this light [therapy] and my psoriasis is like 60 percent gone,” she told the magazine in November. “That’s wild because it hasn’t been gone in years.”
Phototherapy is endorsed by the National Psoriasis Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, “the key to success with light therapy is consistency.”
Arthur noted, however, that the product Kardashian West mentioned is “red light” LED therapy, which is not FDA-approved for psoriasis.
“There was a blue LED light that was approved earlier this year, but I haven’t had any personal experience treating patients who have used it,” Arthur said.
This product is also close to $600, so it may not be the most accessible treatment anyway.
It’s important to keep in mind that a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Each person’s body is different.
Arthur said that she considers a number of factors before prescribing a certain treatment. These factors include the extent of the affected skin, the sensitivity of the areas affected, the patient’s other conditions and medications, travel habits that may lead to unusual infections, and the possibility of pregnancy.
In seeking treatment for psoriasis or other skin conditions, consulting a dermatologist or specialist is key.