Sometimes it can be discouraging to the layman or laywoman to watch all the celebrities on TV walk the red carpet, and look flawless and perfect. After all, these are the members of society we so often idolize for their appearances. However, what many people don’t realize is that most celebrities are as imperfect as the rest of us, and when it comes to skin many have serious ailments that are simply well-hidden behind the makeup and classy clothing. So, in order to pull back the curtain, this list is compiled of seven celebrities who have experienced an uncommon skin condition in their lives:
1. Renee Zellweger — Rosacea
The academy award winning actress is no stranger to skin conditions; Renee Zellweger suffers from a skin condition known as Rosacea characterized by a common red flushing of the face, the emergence of several pus-filled bumps, and dry, red eyes and eyelids. The condition is not entirely rare either, with other sufferers including Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
2. Kim Kardashian — Psoriasis
Kim Kardashian, a sex symbol and socialite famous for …something, is actually a victim of the skin condition known as Psoriasis. A typically lifelong condition, Psoriasis occurs when the immune system of the body recognizes the skin cells as a pathogen, and sends signals to create new skin cells to replace them. As a result, most people suffering from the disease form red-and-white scaly patches of skin on the outermost layer of their skin, these patches can be particularly dry and itchy to those who have Psoriasis.
3. Kate Middleton — Eczema
The Duchess of Cambridge and the queen-to-be of the United Kingdom was diagnosed with Eczema, proving that even royalty is vulnerable to the same skin diseases as us common folk. Similar to Psoriasis, (but caused by different reasons) Eczema causes the formation of recurring skin rashes, typically on the arms, hands and feet. These rashes are frequently itchy, dry and unpleasant and many people with Eczema also suffer from Asthma.
4. Morgan Freeman — Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra
The man with the voice of God (at least in the movies!) isn’t quite omnipotent enough to prevent his own diagnosis with Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra or DPN. Affecting mainly dark-skinned communities, including up to nearly 30% of the United States’ African-American population, DPN is characterized by the formation of several benign skin lesions forming on the face of an individual. Typically first appearing in adolescence, skin lesions have no negative impact on the health of the individual and are typically only removed for cosmetic reasons.
5. Seal — Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
A British Soul and R&B singer of Nigerian heritage, Seal is well-known for the scars on his face, but few people know that the source of these scars if a form of Lupus known as Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE). Those with DLE are frequently subject to the growth of red, crusty skin lesions above the neck which become inflamed and itchy. After healing, these lesions can leave lifelong scars on the face, neck and lips, but can be treated by steroids such as cortisone and other injections.
6. Ewan McGregor — Basal Cell Carcinoma (Skin Cancer)
In 2008, the Star Wars and Trainspotting star revealed he had a mole removed as a preventative measure in an early stage of Basal Cell Carcinoma or Skin Cancer. The most common form of cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma will affect nearly one in three Caucasians in their lifetime. Though usually caught early, and only rarely spreading to other organs–it can be malignant and lead eventually to death.
7. Michael Jackson — Vitiligo
Fans of the late Michael Jackson will surely be aware of the controversy and discussion that surrounded his strange change of skin color in the 1980s. Though many theorized that the famous singer had been bleaching his skin to appear more European in complexion, in 1993 Jackson’s doctor announced he had diagnosed Jackson with a skin disease–which was later revealed to be Vitiligo in Jackson’s biography. Vitiligo is a rare disorder that affects less than 1% of the human population and is caused by the dysfunction or death of cells known as melanocytes, which are responsible for proper skin pigmentation. As these skin cells die, they leave a white pigmentation in individuals–which is especially noticeable in those with darker skin, such as Jackson. The disorder often leads to sensitivity to sun and mood disorders, potential explanations for Jackson’s erratic behavior later in life.
Dr. Scott Darling is a practicing Dermatologist and owner of Kansas City Skin & Vein Center based in the Kansas City, Missouri area. A recipient of many fellowships and chair member on multiple medical boards, Dr. Darling has over a decade of Dermatology experience.