Kim Kardashian's Tragic History With Psoriasis Explained

Kim Kardashian may have never pictured having to share the spotlight with her psoriasis. Between working in the beauty industry and showing off her body in photoshoots, though, the condition can be difficult to disguise. "I have psoriasis all over my face, so it is a challenge," the celeb told Extra in 2019. In fact, psoriasis is something the reality star has been treating for well over a decade. But the famous Kardashian isn't alone.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, over 8 million Americans have the autoimmune disease. It's a sometimes painful diagnosis that has very visible effects. Psoriasis causes the body to create new skin cells at a much faster rate, leading to inflammation and dry, red patches over the skin.

Over the years, Kardashian has spent time sharing her experience with psoriasis and even posting images of her dry patches online for the public to see. "I hope my story can help anyone else with an autoimmune disease feel confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel," she shared on her sister Kourtney's website, Poosh. This is a look at Kim Kardashian's long history with psoriasis.

Kim Kardashian thought her psoriasis was just a rash at first

After developing a common cold when she was 25 years old, Kim Kardashian noticed she was also developing a scaly, red marks all over her body. "Khloé seems to think that I have ringworm," she told her dermatologist during an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians"and I don't even know what that is." Well, it wasn't a ringworm. At first glance, her dermatologist was immediately able to identify the "new-onset" condition as psoriasis. It happened to be set off by her cold, which kicked her immune system into high gear (via Poosh).

While it was shocking to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, it didn't completely come out of left field for the reality star. "I have heard of it before," she admitted in the episode. However, Kardashian couldn't believe it was happening to her. "For a second, you kind of get this little depression," she later admitted to Entertainment Tonight. "'Okay, what are all the possibilities of what can happen? What's my life going to look like?'"

Kim Kardashian isn't the only member of her family with psoriasis

While psoriasis can show up on anyone's body at any time, it sometimes runs in families, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. That's exactly what happened in Kim Kardashian's case. The reality star's mom, Kris Jenner, was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was 30 years old, the foundation explained.

However, Jenner's experience has been very different from that of her daughter's. "My mom didn't have red flaky dots all over her," Kardashian explained in an episode of the family's reality show. That said, Jenner does have psoriasis that affects her scalp and other parts of her body (via Poosh).

According to Healthline, a person only has a 10 percent chance of inheriting psoriasis from one of their parents. In fact, only one-third of people who develop it are related to someone else with psoriasis. "I am the only child my mom passed down her autoimmune issue to," Kardashian admitted in a personal essay for Poosh. "Lucky me, lol."

Kim Kardashian started with cortisone shots to treat her psoriasis

At some point after Kim Kardashian was diagnosed with psoriasis, she started chatting with one of her neighbors, who happened to be a dermatologist. The doctor suggested Kardashian come in to his office for a cortisone shot — in her backside. "I go in there and he's like, 'There's a one in a billion chance that you will get a huge indent in your butt,'" she revealed in an Instagram Story (via AP News). "Of course I get a huge indent in my butt." And before long, rumors began to circulate, claiming Kardashian had received butt implants.

Though the attention she was now getting wasn't exactly what she was expecting or hoping for, the anti-inflammatory shot certainly helped her manage her condition. In fact, her psoriasis outbreak "completely went away" after receiving the injection, Kardashian explained in a personal essay for Poosh.

Kim Kardashian's psoriasis made a comeback in her 30s

When Kim Kardashian turned 30 years old, her life started to change. The milestone birthday involved more than just simply parting ways with her young adult years though. Kardashian had to wave goodbye to a life without seeing any outbreaks of psoriasis. Although the initial cortisone shot worked, her psoriasis returned some five years later. 

It was during the opening of her new DASH store in New York when she noticed it. "I was wearing this glitzy sequin dress from our store to the opening and I came home afterward and was itching," she explained in an essay for Poosh. At first, she thought her skin "was just sensitive toward the dress's material" and didn't pay much mind to it. However, once she went back to Los Angeles, her mom noticed the marks on Kardashian's skin, and confirmed the psoriasis had returned.

Kim Kardashian's psoriasis improved during pregnancy

In 2012, Kim Kardashian had some big news to share with the world. She was expecting her first baby. Over the course of her pregnancy, she received some other welcome news too. "[My psoriasis] fully went away," she explained in an essay for Poosh. "That was amazing." Although she'd received a cortisone shot some time before, that wasn't the sole reason for her psoriasis going into hiding.

One study published in the British Medical Journal in 2007 found that 40 to 60 percent of women see improvements in their psoriasis during pregnancy. According to Healthline, this is due to the increase of the hormone progesterone that is made in the body during pregnancy. Progesterone puts a stop to the immune system developing the visible symptoms of psoriasis. While Kardashian had a lot of things to be excited about when her first baby was born, her psoriasis decided to make its second debut back into her world too.

Kim Kardashian's psoriasis can be unpredictable

Over the years, it had become obvious to Kim Kardashian that her psoriasis was something that was going to pop up whenever it wanted to. Over the course of her two pregnancies, it had completely disappeared, but after giving birth each time, her psoriasis came back.

While she can always count on her psoriasis to return, she can never determine exactly when and where it'll occur. Unfortunately, it never stays in the same spot. In 2019, Kardashian had a severe and painful outbreak, with her psoriasis having covered her face and most of her body (via Poosh). There is one place where she always sees it, though. "I can always count on my main spot on my right lower leg, which consistently stays flared up," she described in her personal essay on Poosh

There are many reasons that can contribute to a psoriasis flare, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, but stress is a big one that Kardashian's doctor told her she needed to take into account. Considering her lifestyle of constant travel, business meetings, photoshoots, and television appearances, the star initially told her dermatologist back in 2011, "That's just not possible." These days, though, she makes more an effort to keep "stress to a minimum," as she revealed in Poosh.

Kim Kardashian has done it all to treat her psoriasis

Kim Kardashian has tried practically everything to treat her psoriasis. Aside from the obvious creams and medications, there are many natural remedies she's turned to — and many, if not all, of these attempts have been documented on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

In Season 13, Kardashian ventured into a hot spring in Costa Rica to help her condition (via Refinery29). Her mom even bottled some of the water to take home. In season 16, Kardashian consulted the famed medical medium, Anthony William, to see if the spirit guru could help. William prescribed celery juice, to which Kardashian revealed, "I'm a little skeptical, but ... if it works, it's so worth it." Earlier on in the series, she even enrolled the help of her sister Kourtney during an episode. Together, the two soaked Kim's psoriasis spots in her sister's breast milk (via E!).

While there are many extreme treatments out there for the disease, the National Psoriasis Foundation doesn't endorse any of them. Instead, the foundation does recommend treating psoriasis with UVB phototherapy. Nevertheless, Kardashian has tried other methods because, as she explained in an essay for Poosh, "For me, however, that remedy would burn the areas and cause them to itch, so I always felt helpless."

Psoriasis has no known cure

Kim Kardashian was certainly surprised when she was diagnosed with psoriasis. However, what was even more shocking to her was when she was told there's no known cure for the autoimmune disease. "It's not curable because you can't alter the genetics," her doctor explained during an episode of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians series back in 2011. As of this writing, scientists are still trying to concoct the ultimate cure-all for psoriasis (via National Psoriasis Foundation).

Luckily, there are various ways to help control flare-ups. Lowering your stress levels, sticking to a healthy diet, and turning to medication are a few of the ways to reduce the painful patches, according to Healthline. " I use a topical cortisone ointment every night before bed," Kardashian explained in her app in 2016 (via People). "I'm always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I'm learning to just accept it as part of who I am."

Kim Kardashian has lost pigmentation in some of her skin from her psoriasis

Even when Kim Kardashian's is not experiencing a psoriasis flare-up, her skin is still affected. "Does anyone else get pigment loss after their psoriasis clears?" she petitioned her followers on Instagram (via People). The reality TV star added a photo of her leg, showing the white splotches left behind from an outbreak.

According to Everyday Health, this is a common occurrence in people who have psoriasis. The disease causes the skin to regrow so quickly that inflammation can occur. Inflammation can cause damage to the skin cells underneath and result in a loss of a person's natural skin color. Dermatologist Michelle Pelle told the publication that "hyperpigmentation is temporary once therapy is started and is working." But it's important to treat it as quickly as possible to prevent more long-term damage from psoriasis — like permanent scarring.

Kim Kardashian's psoriasis inspired her line of body makeup

While psoriasis is enough to concern anybody in the beauty business, Kim Kardashian used it as an inspiration for her next big product. In June 2019, she introduced KKW Beauty Body Makeup. "I use this when I want to enhance my skin tone or cover my psoriasis," she wrote to her fans on Instagram. As it turns out, she'd been using the makeup to cover up the psoriasis patches on her legs (as well as bruises and veins) when out in public. "This has been my secret for over a decade," she admitted.

For a condition with no known cure, having makeup to cover it seemed like a good solution for this reality star. "I've learned to live with and not be insecure of my psoriasis, but for days when I want to just cover it up I use this Body Makeup," she explained.

Kim Kardashian was later diagnosed with another condition

Although psoriasis is considered a skin disease, it can affect additional parts of the body (via Mayo Clinic). Kim Kardashian learned this firsthand when, upon waking up one night in 2019, she couldn't move her hands at all. Believing they had just fallen asleep, she didn't think much of it. However, the next morning "I couldn't even pick up a toothbrush, my hands hurt so badly," she admitted in a personal essay for Poosh.

After a visit with her doctor and a round of blood tests, it appeared she had both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis — something that shattered the star. However, after a second check-up, the doctor revealed the blood tests showed false positives. In the end, she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

According to Health, about 30 percent people with psoriasis eventually develop psoriatic arthritis. It occurs when the immune system causes parts of your body, in addition to the skin, to become inflamed. Quite often it happens nearly a decade years after an initial psoriasis diagnosis — as was the case with Kardashian. "It's still painful and scary, but I was happy to have a diagnosis," she revealed in Poosh.

Psoriasis puts Kim Kardashian at risk for other more serious illnesses

Unfortunately, psoriasis can lead to other life-changing illnesses. Because the body is dealing with an increased rate of inflammation, psoriasis can trigger other inflammatory diseases. Heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease, sleep apnea, and diabetes are just a few of the various health issues associated with this autoimmune disease.

However, those who diagnose and treat their psoriasis early are often able to avoid developing these serious issues, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. When Kardashian noticed her first flare-up, she was at her doctor's office within the week. The fact that this reality star got the mysterious skin rash checked out as soon as possible has only helped her in being able to treat the disease over time.

"Luckily, right now, everything's under control," Kim Kardashian revealed to the Today show of her diagnosis in 2019. "But autoimmune issues are really scary." Additionally, Kardashian told the show that although she'd tried to go the natural route, she was prescribed medication, which successfully manages her condition.

Kim Kardashian has suffered from media scrutiny for her psoriasis

Initially being diagnosed with psoriasis wasn't easy for this reality star. "People don't understand the pressure on me to look perfect," Kim Kardashian said during an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "When I gain a pound, it's in the headlines." As she expected, Kardashian's psoriasis found itself in the headlines after her diagnosis.

In February 2019, the Daily Mail tweeted an article with the caption, "Make-up mogul Kim Kardashian suffers bad skin day ahead of Master Class beauty seminar." Kardashian decided to clear it all up with a single tweet, explaining that she was dealing with a psoriasis flare-up on her face.

Almost immediately, Kardashian gained appreciation for bringing attention to psoriasis. "Kim Kardashian is brave to come out when her stock and trade is being so beautiful, and I think she's got a lot of self-confidence to do that," the director of communications for the National Psoriasis Foundation, Catie Coman, told ABC News.

Kim Kardashian has learned to be comfortable in her own skin

Kim Kardashian has become very candid about her psoriasis. She's chosen to document her entire journey — from diagnosis to living with it daily — on her reality series and social media. "I've become extremely comfortable with my psoriasis," she revealed in an essay for Poosh. "No matter where it is on my body, sometimes I am fine with showing it off." Of course, it wasn't always that way.

After being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Kardashian found herself in a dark place. In her very public position, she wasn't sure how to deal with an autoimmune disease that would affect the way she looked. Yet, she was able to set an amazing example for all others who have the condition.

"No matter what's going on in your life, you can take that time to grieve for a second — no matter what it is, what you're grieving — feel those feelings, and then figure out how to be positive about it, because it's not going to change," she told Entertainment Tonight. Though her psoriasis flare-ups continue to come and go, it's clearly not going to stop Kim Kardashian.