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July 29, 2011

Kim Kardashian and I Have Something in Common

Even if you don’t watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, you’ve probably heard about her “mysterious skin condition.” After a red blotchy rash appeared over much of her body, Kim was just diagnosed with psoriasis. Why should you care? Because the little talked-about autoimmune disorder that causes swelling and rapid production of skin cells actually affects 7.5 million Americans. Why do I care? Because I’ve had psoriasis since my senior year in college. It started as a small red ring on my calf and, over the years, spread across my entire lower leg. I also have a patch on one elbow that comes and goes. Although the root cause of psoriasis unknown, it’s often genetic (Kim’s mom has it, too, as did my grandmother), and can be triggered by stress, diet, lack of sleep, etc. Treatments range from topical steroids to UV light therapy to drug injections that suppress the immune system. I’ve tried quite a few. Some worked better than others, but the psoriasis always came back and I became increasingly tired of using chemicals to mask a problem, not solve it. When I noticed that it got better on weekends on during vacations, I began to believe that it was stress or mental state that was manifesting on my skin. Although my dermatologist brushed of this theory aside, citing lack of scientific data, I knew it instinctively. And so, as part of a bigger personal journey, I started meditating and doing breathing exercises. I found an awesome holistic therapist who taught me how to release a lifetime of pent-up stress and self-hate. I saw a Reiki master who told me to drink more kale and carrot juice. And I met an herbalist who prescribed homeopathic drops to give me courage, soothe my anxieties, and warm up my digestive track. A year later and my psoriasis is practically gone. I still have a few pet spots and crop up, but nothing anyone else would notice. I’m not sure what helped the most, and I’m not suggesting that my methods will work for anyone else. I’m just sharing this story as a reminder that our physical state is often directly linked to our emotional and mental well-being. I believe that in my core. Your body knows you better than anyone else, and it responds accordingly. The first thing Kim Kardashian’s derm told her was to slow down and minimize stress. As if. The poor girl’s career depends almost solely on her appearance. My heart breaks for her. But I’m selfishly hopeful that her diagnosis will bring more awareness to the disease. Maybe instead of selling Sketchers, she’ll become a psoriasis spokesperson.

Does anyone else ever feel like stress is taking it’s toll on your body? How can I help?

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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