LeAnn Rimes is getting personal for World Psoriasis Day. In a candid essay for Glamour, the “How Do I Live” singer opened up about her journey with psoriasis and how it’s been an insecurity for years. Rimes shed her clothes for an accompanying photo shoot, giving readers a glimpse of her skin for the first time.
“I needed this,” she writes.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches. It tends to go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, according to the Mayo Clinic, and the disease has no cure.
Rimes was diagnosed with psoriasis at age 2, revealing that by 6 red marks covered 80 percent of her body.
“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,” she writes.
In her 20s, the singer found a treatment that seemed to help. However, she stopped the shots around two years ago, not knowing a pandemic loomed.
“All hell broke loose in the world — and inside of me, as I’m sure it did for so many other people amid this pandemic. Suddenly I went from doing what I love, and being surrounded by people, to just hanging around the house in sweats. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis, and with so much uncertainty happening, my flare-ups came right back,” she continues.
Although Rimes has talked about her psoriasis before, she held back on sharing the severity. “This time is different,” she explains.
“Even though I’ve opened up, I’ve still kept hidden,” Rimes adds. “And when you’re hiding your physical body, there’s so much that rolls over into your emotional and spiritual mental health. You feel like you’re holding yourself back — like you’ve been caged in.
Now, Rimes wants to “break out of that cage.”
“We’re at a moment in time right now when we’re all being stripped of everything we thought we needed — and now we can see how worthy and good enough we are without all of the bulls***. We’re worthy without the makeup and the artifice. We’re worthy of love without having to work for it,” she says. “And that’s why I’m tired of hiding.”
Rimes continues, “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. 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. But when I look at these photos, I see so much more than my skin.”
Whether the photos will give her the confidence to “wear shorts out to the grocery store” remains to be seen.
“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,” she concludes. “I hope anyone who also kept themselves small has the courage to step outside of that cage. When we allow ourselves not to be held in, our lives come back to us.”
Rimes proudly shared the images on social media and has received an outpouring of support from friends and fans.
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