Keke Palmer has shared her struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The 27-year-old actor posted bare-faced photos of herself on Instagram, writing: “Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome has been attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea. My acne has been so bad that people in my field offered to pay for me to get it fixed.
“I tried EVERYTHING. I did Accutane [acne medication] TWICE. People say drink water, have a better diet, but I did all that, I ate all the ‘right’ things, my blood tests were fine.”
She added: “The least harmful thing PCOS can bring is acne. To all the people struggling with this please know you’re not alone and that you are still so f*****g fine! MY ACNE AINT NEVER STOPPED ME.”
According to the NHS, PCOS is “a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work”. The three main features are irregular periods, high levels of androgen (meaning you might experience excess facial or body hair), and enlarged ovaries. Side effects can include weight gain and oily or acne-prone skin.
The charity Verity says one in 10 women in the UK are affected by PCOS, and Palmer isn’t the only celebrity to share her experiences with the condition…
1. Daisy Ridley
Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley lives with PCOS and endometriosis. In a now-deleted Facebook post from 2016, the 28-year-old described how discovering she had PCOS left her “confidence in tatters”.
She wrote: “Throughout all this I’ve only had people being wonderful and encouraging and occasionally making me realise I’m being ridiculous and there’s more to life…
“My point is, to any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don’t worry about sounding like a hypochondriac.”
2. Gemma Collins
According to Verity, PCOS is “one of the leading causes of fertility problems in women”. In August, Gemma Collins spoke on ITV’s Loose Women about her PCOS and fertility struggles.
The 39-year-old said: “I have suffered with it for the last 10 years. I started to gain weight when I was 28, my periods were all over the place. I’ve suffered miscarriages. I did go through a very sad miscarriage in lockdown. Due to PCOS I just thought that I was having an unusually heavy period.”
After seeing a specialist, Collins has been focusing on weight loss and hopes to conceive naturally.
3. Lea Michele
Glee actor Lea Michele was diagnosed with the condition around her 30th birthday, and last year the 34-year-old told Health the main side effects she experienced were weight gain and “bad skin”.
She said: “Through diet, I have been able to manage it. But I am very fortunate. There are way more extreme versions of PCOS that women have a lot of difficulty with — mine is not as intense. Which is why I haven’t really talked about it, because there are women who have it so much more intense.”
4. Harnaam Kaur
Social media star Harnaam Kaur was diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager, and decided to stop shaving off her beard when she was 16.
“Before, I was very angry and didn’t understand why people couldn’t accept me, why adults were picking on me, why they couldn’t see it’s just hair,” she told PA – but now, Kaur has learned to love her beard and works as a motivational speaker.
Kaur recently turned 30 and wrote on Instagram: “I promise to keep working hard, I promise to keep breaking stereotypes and glass ceilings. I promise to add value to your lives/society, and I promise to pave a path for the next generations that will be full of greatness and inspiration!”