Celebrities tend to be plagued by the rarest of diseases.
This could be a result of their lifestyle which includes their diet, substance use, treatment options, and stressful tight schedules.
One such disease that some celebrities have had to struggle with is Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Let us discuss some of the celebrities who have openly talked about their journey with HS.
What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Also known as acne inversa, Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition that affects areas of the body that bear the apocrine sweat-glands such as armpits, groin, buttocks, and breasts.
It is characterized by painful, nodular lesions that can lead to scarring and sinus tract formation.
HS is believed to be related to hair follicle obstruction and inflammation.
Some of its contributing causes include genetics, hormonal changes, obesity, smoking, and stress.
Celebrities Living With HS
1. Jackson Gillies
Gillies is a 23-year-old American singer-songwriter and producer.
At the age of 14, he developed about 8 abscesses on each of his legs.
That was when he was diagnosed with the HS condition, which has left him with scarring all over his body.
The musician and social media influencer has been open about his struggles with HS, using his platform to raise awareness about the condition and offer support to others who are going through the same thing.
2. Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known for his impressive physique and action-packed movie roles.
He is an American actor, film producer, and former professional wrestler.
While there has been no official confirmation from Dwayne Johnson himself, there is some evidence to suggest that he may suffer from hidradenitis suppurativa.
In an interview back in 2016, Johnson spoke about his struggles with acne which was caused by eating sweets, cookies, and doughnuts—some of the dietary restrictions imposed on HS patients.
He also mentioned that he had to deal with skin issues that “most people don’t know about.”
Johnson also wears compression gear while working out, which could be to prevent skin-to-skin friction that causes abscesses.
3. Lisa Rinna
Rinna is a 60-year-old American actress, model, and TV personality.
She is most famous for playing Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives, an NBC daytime soap opera that first aired in 1992.
Though she hasn’t openly discussed her condition, Rinna is thought to have HS, and undergone several surgeries to help manage the condition.
While talking to Health Magazine, she stated that she had a genetic skin condition which was diagnosed while she was in her 30s.
4. Amandla Stenberg
Stenberg is an actress and activist known for her role in The Hunger Games and her social justice activism.
In 2018, she opened up about her struggle with HS and the impact it had on her life.
She explained how being in the limelight all the time made things hard for HS patients since they have to maintain routines that don’t trigger the condition.
5. Shannen Doherty
Doherty is best known for her roles in Girls Just Want To Have Fun as Maggie Malene, Beverly Hills, 90210 as Brenda Walsh, and Prue Halliwell in Charmed.
Doherty was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1999. One of the many symptoms of the disease is inflammation of the digestive tract.
In the early 1990s, a study proved the close link between Crohn’s disease (CD) and HS.
This leads to the conclusion that Doherty has HS, which she has been able to successfully manage for 24 years.
She is currently battling a terminal cancer.
6. Samira Wiley
Samira Wiley is a popular actress, best known for her roles as Poussey Washington in the hit TV show “Orange Is the New Black” and as Moira in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
But while she may be a household name to many, her struggles with a debilitating skin condition are lesser known.
Samira was diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in her early 20s.
Since then, the 36-year-old has shared the challenges she has faced living with HS, including the chronic pain and shame that often accompanies the condition.
7. Chrissy Teigen
Teigen is an American model, TV personality, and wife of John Legend.
She is known for her candidness and openness on social media, often sharing personal details about her life with her followers.
Like with everything else, Teigen did not hesitate to post her skin condition on social media, stating that she had hives on her butt and thighs.
8. Shannon Woodward
Shannon Woodward, an actress known for her roles in popular TV shows like Raising Hope and Westworld, has been very open about her struggles with HS.
In interviews and on social media, Shannon has talked about the impact that HS has had on her life.
She has described the shame and isolation that came with having open wounds and abscesses on her skin, the difficulty of finding treatment that works, and the toll that the condition has taken on her mental health.
9. Karl Marx
Marx was a philosopher, historian, economist, journalist, and communist, among many titles.
He was born in Germany in 1818 and died at the age of 64.
One article in the British Journal of Dermatology states that Marx suffered from HS.
Apart from carrying negative feelings of himself inside, Marx wrote in his journals that he often had painful chronic boils which made it hard for him to work.
10. Tara Grant
Grant is a veteran presenter, contributing writer, blogger, author, counselor, and a featured success story in several journals.
She is the author of the book “The Hidden Plague: A Field Guide for Surviving & Overcoming Hidradenitis Suppurativa.”
The book contains her success story and that of others who have managed to put the condition into recession.
She aims to help other patients reclaim their lives and take control of HS instead of allowing it to affect their daily lives.
Quick Facts about HS
I. Hidradenitis Suppurativa Symptoms
Though they vary from one person to another, HS symptoms include:
- Painful lumps or nodules
- Recurring abscesses
- Tenderness and itching in affected areas
- Scarring and thickening of the skin
- Formation of tunnels connecting the abscesses
II. How Common Is HS?
HS is a rare chronic disease as it only affects about 4% of the world’s population.
III. Is HS Curable?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for HS, but there are several treatments that can help manage its symptoms.
To get through day-to-day life, HS patients manage the condition through a skin care plan, medication, wound care, pain control, and infection treatment.
IV. Is It Deadly or Contagious? What’s The Life Expectancy?
Despite social stigma, HS is not contagious.
It is also not life-threatening unless in cases where a patient contracts a serious infection.
There is no definitive life expectancy for people with HS.
Those who follow restrictions set for HS patients and maintain healthy routines can live long healthy lives.
V. What Is It Like Living With HS?
For individuals like the celebrities discussed in this post, HS presents numerous physical and emotional challenges.
The excruciating pain caused by the abscesses and nodules can significantly impede daily activities, making even the simplest tasks a struggle.
HS can also impact self-esteem and lead to feelings of embarrassment and social isolation, which could result in depression.
VI. HS Diet
Each patient’s case is different, so a visit to the dermatologist is the only way one can find a specific dietary routine to follow.
However, study shows that HS patients need to stick to weight loss, plant-based, and Mediterranean diets.
They also need to avoid dairy products, sugar, and any food they are sensitive to.
Mineral and vitamin supplements aid in reducing HS flares.
Celebrities bring attention to important issues, and their openness about their experiences with HS has helped raise awareness and provide support to those affected by the condition.
Celebrities like Gillies demonstrate that HS doesn’t define a person; it neither hinders success nor beauty.
Their efforts to raise awareness about the condition have played a significant role in combating social stigmatization.