Sara Hertel LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes is ready to be "unabashedly honest" about her lifelong struggle with psoriasis.
The 38-year-old singer was diagnosed with the immune-related skin condition at just 2 years old, and by the time she was 6, "about 80 percent of my body was covered in painful red spots — everything but my hands, feet and face," she wrote in an essay for Glamour.
Rimes spent most of her young life trying to correct her psoriasis with steroid creams, medications and experimental treatments, and would cover up in layers of clothes to hide her skin.
"Underneath my shirt, my whole stomach would be covered in thick scales that would hurt and bleed. For so much of my life, I felt like I had to hide," she said. "… No one was talking about this. And certainly not when I signed my first record deal at 11. In the world we lived in, our 'flaws' were not invited to the forefront."
The "One Way Ticket" singer finally found an effective treatment for her psoriasis when she was in her twenties, and her skin calmed down to the point where she felt comfortable going off of the medication about two and a half years ago. But that all backfired in 2020.
"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. "Suddenly I went from doing what I love, and being surrounded by people, to just hanging around the house in sweats. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis, and with so much uncertainty happening, my flare-ups came right back."
Sara Hertel LeAnn Rimes
This time around, though, Rimes has decided not to hide. She first revealed in 2008 that she had psoriasis, but at the time, her skin was calm and people thought she was "making it up." And Rimes wasn't ready to show the rough patches of psoriasis at the time anyway.
"Even though I've opened up, I've still kept hidden,” she said. "And when you're hiding your physical body, there's so much that rolls over into your emotional and spiritual mental health. You feel like you’re holding yourself back — like you've been caged in."
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But Rimes is now in a different place.
"Maybe it's the fact that this year has really put things into perspective, but I now feel like I'm at a point in my life where I just want to break out of that cage," she said. "We're at a moment in time right now when we're all being stripped of everything we thought we needed — and now we can see how worthy and good enough we are without all of the bulls---."
Rimes decided to pose nude, showing her psoriasis, in honor of World Psoriasis Day.
"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 body — my mind, my spirit — needed this desperately," she said. "When I look at these photos, I see so much more than my skin."
After sharing her story in Glamour and on Instagram, Rimes thanked her fans for the “overwhelming outpouring of love.”
"Know that you're not alone," she said on her Instagram Story. "That was my main reason for wanting to share something so vulnerable, because so many people are struggling, and do struggle with psoriasis among so many other things. Just know that you are loved and you are worthy, as I tell myself the same thing over and over again."