Keke Palmer always keeps it real on social media, whether it’s about her beauty routine or social injustice—and her latest Instagram post is one of her most personal yet. On December 1, the 27-year-old actor and musician opened up about her struggle with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, as well as the chronic acne she’s been experiencing as a symptom.
In addition to a series of unfiltered photos that show her acne and scarring, she also posted a lengthy and heartfelt caption detailing her journey with PCOS.
“Hey you guys, for some of you this may be TMI, but for me my platform has always been used for things much greater than me,” she started her lengthy caption. She then goes on to describe how PCOS—a hormonal disorder that can have side effects like acne, painful periods, and excessive hair growth—has been “attacking me from the inside out” her entire life.
Before getting her diagnosis, she said she’d tried everything to cure her acne that was “so bad that people in my field offered to pay for me to get it fixed,” including two rounds of Accutane, changing her diet, and following the classic—misguided—advice to “drink more water.”
She went on to say that she had trouble finding a doctor who would take her skin concerns seriously, and was either ignored or not listened to—in one case she said she went to the doctor in tears and was only offered a measles vaccine. As is far too often the experience for Black women, it wasn’t until she took her health into her own hands and researched her family history, as well as PCOS, that she says she was able to get a proper diagnosis. She urged her followers to empower themselves to take their health into their own hands.
“I’m posting this to say that it’s okay and we can help ourselves,” Palmer wrote. “My skin has made me sad many nights but I do not give up on myself. I know this is not me and my body has been looking for help. I do not have a medical degree but I did the research and took what I learned to a doctor and that led them to a proper diagnosis.”
She also shared that in addition to the physical symptoms, the most painful thing was knowing all the barriers to entry her family has had in taking care of their health. “This especially makes me sad because my family struggled for years and no doctor could help them,” Palmer shared. “They actually misled them and just took their money.”
Palmer ended the post on a positive note, reminding herself and her followers that at the end of the day, acne can’t stop you. “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 fucking fine! MY ACNE AINT NEVER STOPPED ME. But we don’t have accept this. Now I can really help KEKE! And I love her so it’s ON.”
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore.