"I stopped letting my skin define me," she wrote on Instagram.

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Trainer and influencer Whitney Simmons got real about her skin on Instagram this week. Specifically, she opened up about her struggle with plaque psoriasis and how, in the past, she let it define her.

Whitney Simmons
Credit: Getty Images

Simmons posted two photographs of herself in a bikini, both of which show red lesions—a common symptom of psoriasis—all over her body. "The endless nights I've spent dreaming of clear skin… the summer days I've spent covered head to toe to hide my psoriasis. It's taken a lot of time and a lot of work to love the skin I'm in… to love my imperfections," Simmons wrote in her caption. "And I continue to work on it each and every day. It's a constant battle; stress, diet, the change in weather… it all can change how my plaques look and feel. I'm having a big time flare up right now."

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis, which is a chronic autoimmune skin disease. Psoriasis causes the growth cycles of skin cells to speed up, and can present similarly to eczema, according to the CDC. It presents as dry, raised, red skin lesions (aka plaques) that can be covered with silvery scales. The lesions, which often appear on the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp, can be itchy or tender during a flare, which can last for weeks or months.

Psoriasis is not contagious, and a wide range of treatment options are available. A dermatologist will likely consider a number of factors before recommending a treatment plan, including how much skin is affected by the disease and the location of the affected patches of skin. The treatment might be as simple as applying an ointment or cream to the affected areas, but some patients take a medicine called methotrexate, an immunosuppressive drug, to alleviate their psoriasis symptoms.

Simmons said in her Instagram caption that she's working on separating her identity from her skin condition, writing: "I stopped letting my skin define me. I stopped trying to hide what I'm often embarrassed of."

And she included a message for anyone struggling with body positivity this week: "Here's your friendly reminder that everyone has something. You're beautiful. You're amazing. And most importantly, you are you and nobody can take that away from you."

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