An actress shares her experience with psoriasis.
In 2010, actress Katie Lowes was having an incredible year: She just booked her first major acting gig on a buzzy new drama called Scandal, and she got engaged to her boyfriend, Adam Shapiro. “I was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life,” Lowes tells SELF. But the year also proved stressful. “I was planning a wedding, and I was also working this job where all eyes were on me for the first time,” she says. “The stress really triggered my skin to flare up.” Her skin started to become itchy and scaly in spots, spreading from her scalp to behind her ears and eventually down to her back. “It was getting to a place where you definitely couldn’t ignore it and pretend like this was something small,” she says. That’s when she saw her doctor, and she was diagnosed with psoriasis.
Psoriasis affects approximately 7.5 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s a chronic autoimmune disease that speeds up the growth of skin cells. Several types of the disease exist, but the most common form—which Lowes has—is plaque psoriasis. This type of psoriasis can cause patches of dry, raised red skin that’s covered with silvery scales, the CDC reports. Plaque psoriasis can occur on any part of the body, and the affected areas can be itchy and even painful for people. The skin disease’s unique appearance can also make people self-conscious. A common misunderstanding is that psoriasis is contagious, but it’s not. The severity of psoriasis can vary from person to person and even from month to month, changing from affecting small discreet areas of the body to impacting large patches of skin.
|Read Full Article: The Skin Disease That Forced ‘Scandal’ Star Katie Lowes to Cancel Her Engagement Photos|