When you see them on television or movie screens, sometimes the clear, problem-free skin found on your favorite actors and actresses is a ruse. A surprising number of celebrities suffer from the same skin problems you do. Many have acne, eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. The difference is that they have makeup artists trained to hide the imperfections and airbrushing for really bad breakouts.
Not only is acne a condition that teenagers face, but it’s also one that plagues adults. According to the American Society of Dermatology, between 40 and 50 million people within the United States have acne. It can be caused by the production of too much oil by glands within the skin, a blocked hair follicle, or bacteria. Cell phones are a leading source of this bacteria. In fact, Which magazine ran tests on 30 cell phones and found that the phones had 18 times more bacteria on them than the flush handle of a public toilet. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are
both useful in combating acne.
Known for her roles in Easy A and as a Revlon model, Emma Stone developed hormonal acne in her teens. She tried Accutane for a while, but the medication dried her skin. In her 20s, stress acne appeared. It was bad enough that they had to airbrush her video
images when editing Easy A. In addition to washing her face with gentle products like Cetaphil, she visits her dermatologist for cortisone shots to minimize breakouts.
Salma Hayek, star of Frida and producer of Ugly Betty is another celebrity to deal with acne. In her mid-20s, the acne was so bad she became depressed, which led to overeating and weight gain, and she refused to leave her house. She eventually went on acne medications, which made her skin very dry. As a result, she created her own line of skin care using her grandmother’s penchant for natural products, such as lavender, royal jelly, and tepezcohuite (a Brazilian shrub).
Eczema typically begins in childhood and remains for life. While the symptoms lessen in childhood, it never truly goes away. Symptoms include red, itchy skin that becomes inflamed and may form blisters, as well as peeling skin that weeps. Treatments range from prescription and over-the-counter medications to laser therapy. Laser therapy is proving to be ideal for hard-to-treat forms.
While she may look flawless, Duchess Kate Middleton was bullied relentlessly in her early teens. After two terms in the school where her peers tormented her condition, Middleton’s parents moved her to a new school.
Chicago star Catherine Zeta-Jones also dealt with eczema as a child. She uses skin creams regularly on her elbows, face, and feet to keep it away.
With psoriasis, the body’s immune system fails to work properly and causes skin cells to grow too rapidly. The skin doesn’t shed off
excess skin cells, so they build up into pinkish-red, scaly patches. It is not a contagious condition, but it is unsightly and embarrassing to those who have it. Treatments range from topical medications to laser or phototherapy treatments.
Country music star LeAnn Rimes suffers from psoriasis. She was diagnosed at the age of two and by age six had the patches over 80 percent of her body. She learned to hide her psoriasis by wearing pants or long skirts. With the help of a dermatologist, she’s able to keep her psoriasis under control now through medicine, diet, and stress relief techniques.
Jon Lovitz, former star of Saturday Night Live, also suffers from psoriasis. At first, his dermatologist prescribed a steroid cream that only helped temporarily. He soon had most of his body and his scalp covered in these patches. It took a visit to a dermatologist that specialized in psoriasis before he found a treatment that worked.
One of the very first things people with rosacea experience is a tendency to flush easily. This flushing is usually located on the chest, ears, and face. Depending on the subtype, common symptoms include acne-like breakouts, broken blood vessels, flushing, redness, and swelling. Some people develop sty-like spots on the eyelids too. Typical triggers of the flare ups include alcoholic beverages, diet, exercise, and stress.
Rosacea is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50 who have fair skin. It’s also common to see rosacea travel through
generations, making it appear to be genetic at times. There are prescription medications, but photorejuvenation is useful in reducing the redness caused by rosacea.
Renee Zellweger, known for her roles in Bridget Jones and Chicago, suffers from rosacea. She uses diet and a healthy lifestyle to keep her redness under control.
Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon deals with rosacea. Rather than trying to hide it, the actress became the spokesperson for public service announcements about rosacea. She reduces stress through yoga and relies on fans to stay cool while exercising.
Learn more about these common skin conditions by watching the A to Z video series
offered by the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Jessica Kulak, a Virginia facial plastic surgeon, provides a number of facial rejuvenation procedures that include chemical peels and laser therapies. To schedule a consultation with the board certified facial plastic surgeon in either Maryland or Virginia, call (301) 222-2020 (Maryland) or (703) 481-0002 (Virginia).