Keke Palmer Shared an Acne Scars Selfie to Bring Awareness to Misdiagnosed PCOS
Yesterday, December 1st, Keke Palmer opened up about her Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis. She shared that several doctors initially dismissed her symptoms, leading her to take it upon herself to conduct her own research into the syndrome, which ultimately resulted in a proper diagnosis.
The Hustlers actor posted a series of unfiltered selfies to display her acne, which Palmer said no amount of treatment (including Accutane, drinking water, and eating clean) could clear up. That was the first warning sign that something more serious was going on. But even after going to a doctor “in tears,” she wasn’t receiving the medical attention she needed.
“Unfortunately doctors are people and if you don’t ‘look the part’ they may not think [PCOS is] your problem,” she wrote in the caption of her post. “They may not even suggest it if you ‘look healthy’ whatever that means! I came to a doctor in tears once and all they offered was a measles vaccine… Exactly.”
Ultimately, she took the initiative to look into her family’s medical history, “and took what I learned to a doctor,” she said, who then properly diagnosed her with PCOS.
According to Mayo Clinic, PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can trigger several symptoms and complications, including irregular periods, ovarian cysts, increased facial hair, infertility, and severe acne, among others.
Even though PCOS is common, Palmer’s experience with doctors misdiagnosing her is so similar to others' who’ve struggled with medical issues regarding their uteruses. Recently, Padma Lakshmi shared that it took years for a doctor to diagnose her stage-4 endometriosis, which caused excruciatingly painful periods. Gabrielle Union also opened up about her long-undiagnosed adenomyosis, a form of endometriosis in which she experienced painful, extremely heavy periods and fertility issues.
Like both Lakshmi and Union, Palmer was forced to become her own best advocate in order to receive a proper diagnosis. Of course, she warned her followers not to “trust web md for everything,” and included the important caveat that she doesn’t have a medical degree. “But what I am saying is no one can help us like we can help ourselves,” she wrote.
She also acknowledged that “the least harmful thing PCOS can bring is acne.” But in sharing her experience, she wants to make other people struggling with PCOS feel less alone.
“To all the people struggling with this please know you’re not alone and that you are still so fucking fine! MY ACNE AINT NEVER STOPPED ME.” Amen for days.