LeAnn Rimes was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was just 2 years old when skin conditions weren't openly discussed like they are today. In a new essay for Glamour, the singer opened up about how psoriasis has affected her life, writing that when she was young, "flaws" were not something to share.
"I tried everything I could to treat it: steroid creams, major medications — I even tried being wrapped in coal tar with Saran Wrap," she recalled. "And when I was in public, I did I everything I could to hide it. Onstage I’d often wear two pairs of pantyhose or jeans — even in 95-degree heat. Underneath my shirt, my whole stomach would be covered in thick scales that would hurt and bleed. For so much of my life, I felt like I had to hide."
In her 20s, she found a treatment that worked for her and was able to help keep her skin clear, but the stress of 2020 caused the condition to flare up. "Suddenly I went from doing what I love, and being surrounded by people, to just hanging around the house in sweats," she shared. "Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis, and with so much uncertainty happening, my flare-ups came right back."
Rimes explained that rather than trying to hide, she decided to "break out of that cage" and "be honest about what psoriasis is and what it looks like."
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To do that, she sat for a nude photo session, posing outside in a field. In a pair of photos shared on her Instagram, Rimes looked at the camera in one shot and leaned over to expose her back in another. The photos were posted on World Psoriasis Day and Rimes wrote that they were a "relief" to share.
"You know when you say something you’ve been holding in for so long, and it’s such a sigh of relief? That’s what these photos are to me. I needed this. My whole body — my mind, my spirit — needed this desperately," she explained. "I honestly thought these photos were going to be challenging to look at. It’s one thing to see yourself and judge yourself in the mirror; I thought it would be even harder in a photo, which is why in the past I never let people take pictures of me during flare-ups. Being in our own bodies, we judge ourselves so harshly."
The 38-year-old added she hadn't understood how before the shoot, her husband would tell her, "I don't even see that," but that "I think I see what he sees now."
"Will these photos change the way I live? Will I wear shorts out to the grocery store? I honestly don’t know," she pondered. "But what I do know is that it’s amazing how small we can keep ourselves. When you finally allow yourself to step outside of what you’ve been caging in, the whole world opens up. There’s freedom in even just putting one foot outside the door."
Rimes concluded by encouraging others to embrace who they are and express themselves. "I hope anyone who also kept themselves small has the courage to step outside of that cage," she wrote. "When we allow ourselves not to be held in, our lives come back to us."