Kim Kardashian Skin Scare – Could You Be Living with this Disease?
Posted On Jan 20, 2017
“Wait why am I now getting psoriasis on my face,” – the tweet that’s got everyone buzzing and wondering what could be plaguing the sacred skin of reality star royalty, Kim Kardashian. It began on an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” when a horrified Kim discovered small, red bumps on her legs. After some prodding and poking, plenty of tears, and a visit to the dermatologist, Kim was diagnosed with psoriasis. Although she may have unlimited access to the best doctors that star power can buy, Kim deals with psoriasis just like the 7.5 million other people in the US. But what about you? Do you have psoriasis? Let’s start with the basics and learn how you too can live like a star even with red bumps.
What is Psoriasis?
At the first mention of “disease,” you may very quickly think that life as you know it, is over. Before you jump into your bubble boy suit, hold tight – it’s actually not the end of the road. According to The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), “Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin.” It occurs as the result of a sped-up skin production process. Typically, skin cells grow in the skin and slowly rise to the surface before eventually falling off. With psoriasis, the process is accelerated so skin cells begin to grow in excess and then build up on the skin’s surface. This is the onset of the flaky, patchy skin and dandruff on your scalp along with the ball caps indoors and scarves in the summertime. The right treatment for your particular skin can be hard to find since there is no known universal cure. In turn, this means that these uncomfortable, itchy, and often embarrassing patches last for days or even months until you find what works best for you.
Why do some people get psoriasis?
Much like Kim, a common first reaction would be to blame faulty genes and point an accusatory finger at our parents. While heredity is only part of the entire as of yet unknown reason why this happens, it is just that – unknown. NPF states, “Scientists do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. Usually, something triggers psoriasis to flare.”
While no one can discount the fact that it can be extremely difficult to live with a disease that has no known cure and no concrete reason as to why it develops, there may be some solace to be found in the fact that you’re not alone. NPF states that men and women develop psoriasis equally. It has also been seen to develop most commonly between the ages of 15 and 35, but can happen at any age. Psoriasis is not contagious so it cannot be caught or passed on. So keep sneezing without covering your mouth and coughing into the open air. Or actually… no. Don’t do that…
How to live with it
Although uncomfortable and rather unsightly at times, psoriasis is by no means a scarlet letter on your chest. You can still live a comfortable life by updating your skincare routine, following dietary guidelines, and implementing some lifestyle changes.
Chances are you will have to change your shampoos, soaps, and lotions to those that are more sensitive-skin friendly. Avoid sulfates (what makes shampoos frothy), fragrances, and alcohol. These can further dry out your already ailing skin. Opt for organic, natural products with few ingredients – and by ingredients we mean the ones you can pronounce without needing to phonetically google each one.
Your skin needs as much moisturizing as you can possibly give it, short of looking like an oil slick, of course. “When you have psoriasis, it’s important to keep your skin moisturized. Skin creams made with shea butter tend to be thicker and when it comes to moisturizer, the thicker, the better. Heavy moisturizers for psoriasis help lock in the skin’s natural moisture.” Stefan Weiss, MD, of the Weiss Skin Institute explains in a Huffington Post article.
Oils can also be a good source of relief for dry skin and flakes. Argan, tea tree, and coconut oils are known for their healing, soothing, and even anti-microbial properties.
Not just simply an issue of “dry skin,” psoriasis is actually deeply rooted in a hyperactive immune system which can, in part, be caused by an inflamed digestive system. “The modern lifestyle has led many to have chronic inflammation in the body,” says Dr. Low Dog. Given that 80% of our immune system is in our intestines, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to ensure your gut is given the best chance to operate effectively. Following a Mediterranean diet can help ward off damaging inflammation and provide your body with skin boosting nutrients. One recent study found that people who closely followed such a diet had, on average, 20 percent lower levels of CRP (C-Reactive Protein) and 17 percent lower levels of another main marker (IL-6) for inflammation.
Many who suffer from psoriasis have triggers that can quickly send them down into a dark abyss otherwise known as a flare. The most common triggers include stress, alcohol, or poor food choices. Although you’ve most likely heard it a million times, stress kills, you can most definitely do without alcohol, and you should choose the grilled instead of the smothered-in-cheese-and-fried option. By also incorporating a consistent exercise routine into your life, you can not only make your jeans fit better but you can help keep psoriasis at bay or from developing altogether. A 2012 issue of Archives of Dermatology showed that women who engaged in regular vigorous exercise were less likely to develop psoriasis. Easy enough, no?
In the meantime, here’s hoping Kim K uses her celebrity stardom to insta, tweet, snap, and chat us a cure.