In last week's episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim revealed to us her one beauty flaw. After seeing flaky red patches on her legs, she finally went to the dermatologist and realized that those itchy and irritated spots went skin deep—it was psoriasis! Turns out, you can't fight genetics—even if you're a celebrity.
"Psoriasis is actually an incurable auto-immune disease," says dermatologist Dr. Marta Rendon. "But the good news is, it's very controllable." According to recent reports, over seven and a half million in the United States suffer from psoriasis. Its mostly genetically inherited (as in Kim's case), but can also be triggered from stress, diet, and lifestyle.
Many people have a hard time distinguishing psoriasis from another ugly skin malady, eczema. "Psoriasis has a red base on the skin with a thick silver scale on top. In eczema, your patches are more scaly and itchy," Dr Rendon explains. "Psoriasis typically affects areas where muscles meet and flex—knees and elbows are very common, as well as the scalp."
Psoriasis is annoying, but it's very controllable if you establish the right treatment program. "Typically, I recommend topical creams with steroids, vitamin A, or vitamin D derivatives. Otherwise, there's a new light laser phototherapy that uses localized beams of light to attack irritated areas. This puts the psoriasis in remission until a next flare-up."
If you're not willing to go fully pharmaceutical to treat your skin, there exist myriad homeopathic treatments. Bath oils, oatmeal, dead sea salt, and products with natural salicylic acid all help exfoliate and heal the delicate skin. Over the counter dandruff shampoos can also help scalp psoriasis (and Dr. Rendon recommends using it as body wash too!) As always, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, which can irritate skin and trigger a rash.
Remember, no one (not even Kim K!) is perfect. We've all got our skin and beauty hangups to deal with—are you ready to fight yours?