By Alla Byrne
August 04, 2009

Looking at LeAnn Rimes, it's hard to believe she once has psoriasis over 80 percent of her body. The Grammy Award-winning artist hid her disease for years, but has learned to manage her symptoms with a healthy lifestyle and proper treatment. Find out how she overcame low self-esteem and learned to love her body.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved in the "Stop Hiding and Start Living" Campaign?

A: I've actually been very quiet about having psoriasis. I've had it since I was two and it's always been a huge burden and something that I've battled and still battle. I hid it my whole life. I pretty much got it under control by finding the right dermatologist and right treatment in the last five years. By finally getting control over it instead of it having control over me, I wanted to speak out and let people know that there is hope. There are 7 million Americans living with psoriasis and a lot of them are not getting treatment because they think it's just a rash, when it's really a chronic skin disease that's been linked to medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.

Q: Aside from seeing a dermatologist, leading a healthy lifestyle helps manage the risks associated with psoriasis. What lifestyle changes have you made?

A: Trying to manage my stress is huge. It doesn't come easy. I'm doing yoga, taking care of my body by working out and eating right. I've cut fatty, fried food completely out of my diet. I'm pretty much gluten free now too. I'm constantly applying lotion and drinking water to keep my skin hydrated.

Q: How do you stay fit?

A: It takes work to eat and live healthy, but the benefits outweigh the time you put into it. I make sure I'm completely prepared. When I'm on the road, I'll look up the cities I'm going to and find a gym or a yoga studio to work out at. Just trying every day to do something active. I've been doing Muay Thai kickboxing. It's the most I've ever sweated in my life. I'll take a spin class, lift weights, go running. I try to find things that I enjoy to keep it from becoming monotonous. You just really have to be dedicated to it. Once I focused on wanting to take care of myself, I loved how I looked and felt and it became a lifestyle.

Q: Do you feel a lot of pressure in the entertainment industry to look a certain way?

A: These days, the tabloids tear you apart. One minute they think you look beautiful and the next minute, it's like, 'what was she thinking?' I really try not to look at it because it's just not healthy. There's also healthy pressure. I'm a competitive person in a lot of ways, so I like a little bit of pressure. It makes me get to the gym sometimes when I don't want to go, so in that respect it is good, but I try not to let it rule my life.

Q: You talked about struggling with your self-confidence growing up. How have you overcome that?

A: By taking care of myself and realizing I have control over what goes in my body. Really educating myself about my disease and how to manage it. As you get older, you realize it's just skin. If you're not going to love me because of what you're looking at, then you have issues with you, not with me. I know I have a lot more to offer.