Cyndi Lauper hid her psoriasis struggles for years. Concealing her disease with turtlenecks, Cyndi felt so ill that at times the typically exuberant singer and LGBT activist was forced to take to her bed. But now, Lauper is talking about every aspect of psoriasis and what it meant to her in order to help others understand the autoimmune disease, reported People.
The “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” singer, 62, compares her skin at its worst to the Elephant Man. Cyndi emphasizes that it wasn’t even just the physical ramifications of her condition. Lauper’s psoriasis also made her embarrassed.
“It was so bad, I felt like the Elephant Man,” said Cyndi, emphasizing her message to others. “You don’t have to suffer in silence or live in pain. It’s not just a rash. It’s a disease.”
Lauper was diagnosed with psoriasis five years ago after she noticed an irritation on her scalp. But after hiding it for so long, Cyndi is ready to help others learn about the condition through her new partnership.
Lauper, the National Psoriasis Foundation, and Novartis are teaming up for an informational “More To Psoriasis” campaign.
Cyndi revealed that her condition varied, but that when she suffered the most, she had to stay in bed.
“My whole entire body was covered in a rash and scaly skin. And then it just stared creeping up my neck. I felt swallowed by it. My immune system got a little wacky, and it took my strength away,” said Lauper of her psoriasis flare-ups. “My skin was so inflamed, it could not regulate hot and cold, so I had the chills all the time.”
As to what caused those particularly painful flare-ups, Cyndi revealed that some link it to stress. And she became even more stressed and depressed when Lauper’s voice was impacted by her psoriasis.
“I lost it. I stopped singing for a while. I felt depressed and I felt horrible.”
This year marked Cyndi’s turning point, however, Lauper now uses psoriasis management measures that range from medication to creams to diet, giving up alcohol and sugar as well as certain other foods.
“[Strawberries] can inflame,” said Cyndi as an example of how she changed her diet. “I miss having a glass of wine with food, but for me personally, that can make me itchy.”
Lauper emphasizes that those with the condition aren’t alone.
“There are 7.5 million Americans with this. Find a doctor who specializes in psoriasis and find a treatment,” Cyndi urged. “The campaign is called ‘I’m PsO ready.’ Find what works for you. You gotta keep going, because if not, you’ll end up on your butt like I was.”
What’s up next for Lauper? Kinky Boots opens in August in London.
“I don’t want anyone to be a silent psoriasis sufferer,” stressed Cyndi of her ultimate message. “You can’t just lay in the dark and get depressed and feel like the disease has won. You can win, just get the information and get help – because suffering in silence really sucks.”
And Lauper’s message is supported by an increasing number of celebrities are speaking out about their own health conditions. As the Inquisitr reported, for example, Lyme disease impacts Yolanda Foster and Avril Lavigne, both who have gone public with their battles.
In addition to Cyndi, celebrities struggling with psoriasis include reality TV star Kim Kardashian and America’s Next Top Model winner CariDee English, reported Fox News.
Caridee learned she had the condition at five, and used makeup to disguise her psoriasis. Now she, like Cyndi, has found a medication that helps her skin.
As for Kardashian, like Lauper, Kim was not diagnosed until she was older. And the Keeping Up With the Kardashians also is very public about her condition.
Kris Jenner and Kim share the autoimmune disease, which can be inherited.
[Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images]