Living the fast-paced life has a lot of cons, stress being one of them and it is also listed as one of the reasons known to trigger psoriasis. This chronic skin condition is hereditary, however, stress can also be one of the reasons that can cause a person to develop it. What happens in psoriasis is that the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells causing patches on the skin which are red, raised and painful. These patches are lined by thick silvery scales and they also itch as well as bleed. The patches commonly occur on the scalp, knees, elbows and torso, but it doesn’t mean that other areas of the body are immune to it. Rashes can develop almost anywhere. However, it rarely appears on the face of the affected person. According to Psoriasis.org, this is the most common autoimmune disease in the country that affects more than 7.5 million Americans. The disease is not contagious and a lot of celebrities have come to the fore to speak about their experiences so as to normalize the stigma around it and one-fifth of the Fab Five on ‘Queer Eye’, Jonathan Van Ness, is one of them.
Van Ness opened up about suffering from the condition back in 2018 as he shared an unretouched photo of themselves and his psoriasis patches in all their glory. “Sickeningly Gorge, I left my psoriasis & my body unretouched, why should I dim my shine, Henny? 📸 @asussmanphoto #mensbeauty” read the caption of the photo that amassed a mammoth response from people who suffered from the condition as well as the ones that were inspired by the sheer confidence exuberating from it. Psoriasis is often misdiagnosed as a rash, ringworm or other skin irritation, such as eczema and in the case of Van Ness, he had to get diagnosed by five different doctors to know that he had developed psoriasis.
“The first time I had a flare-up I was 23, and I got it from like a scratch. I was scratched and then that scratch turned into what was a psoriasis flare-up, but it took me like five doctors to figure out what it was. I was on antibiotics for months because at first, they were like, ‘You have a skin infection,’ and then I was vegan but started eating meat again, so they said, ‘Oh you’re having an allergic reaction.’ So, I was on all these antibiotics for months and not feeling great because I was on a lot of doxycycline and then I was on Benadryl, too, like nodding out,” he wrote detailing what triggered the condition. He also attributed his flare-ups to the weather (because of his frequent travels between New York and Los Angeles).
Van Ness opened up about suffering from the condition, eight years after he was first diagnosed. The years have definitely helped bring self-assurance that the disease doesn’t define who they are as a person. As an advice to people suffering from the epidermal disease, Van Ness in an Allure interview said, “I would say if you just start finding out that you might have it, make sure you get a second — and even third — opinion. Like, if I had to do it over again, I would have been a lot more aggressive about getting a second and third opinion a lot faster, because I was literally on so much Benadryl for two months and antibiotics for six weeks, and those medications made me not feel good. I was super drowsy and my stomach was all messed up.”
Skin conditions and disorders are totally normal. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month and with this column, we list the struggles of celebrities who suffer from Psoriasis and aren’t afraid to live their truths by putting themselves out there and sharing their journey with the disease and what works for them when it comes to tackling it.