Keke Palmer sheds light on her battle with PCOS: ‘I’m not going to be afraid’

The actress learned she had the hormonal condition following facial hair and bad acne breakouts.

Keke Palmer was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects her hormones but she refuses to be embarrassed about it.

The actress, who recently guest-starred on the hit HBO comedy Insecure, was diagnosed with PCOS last year. The 28-year-old has long suffered from cystic acne and realized she was growing facial hair. After finally being diagnosed, she’s happy to know what’s wrong and is learning ways to manage it.

KeKe Palmer
Keke Palmer attends the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit at Brooklyn Expo Center on September 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“I kind of discovered that that’s what I was dealing with and it answered a lot of the questions to, not only why I had acne, but why I grow hair on my face or under my chin, you know I kind of have a lowkey beard going on that I have to shave every couple of days,” Palmer told Tamron Hall on The Tamron Hall Show on Monday. “I started to zero-in on the fact that you know, for me to have dealt with acne past puberty in the way that I did, there had to be something deeper going on. And that’s when I came up on PCOS and also things that I needed to change in terms of my diet.”

Palmer said she realizes PCOS is a common condition and that women in her own family also deal with it.

“There’s a bunch of different variants … it’s different for everyone,” she said. “Even my sister was struggling with it, especially when she was pregnant.”

KeKe Palmer
Keke Palmer attends the IFP’s 29th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on December 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP)

Palmer initially revealed her diagnosis in a Dec. 2020 Instagram post, sharing multiple bare-faced selfies displaying her acne.

Palmer is hopeful she can inspire others dealing with similar conditions.

“I do try to be thoughtful with my platform, but I’ll be honest, when it came to me talking about the PCOS and my acne struggles, it was to empower myself,” she told Hall. “It was to empower myself and to give myself the opportunity to say, ‘You know what? Just own who you are, love yourself.’ It was like me telling myself ‘I love you girl no matter what. I love you so much. I’m going to show your whole self to the world and I’m not going to be afraid.'”

Receiving support from fans has been rewarding for Palmer. Previously, she felt compelled to hide her acne.

“It was it was essentially kind of like a selfish act of saying, you know, hey, I still love myself and despite what I might be going through, and if you’re dealing with something like this, I love you too,” Palmer said. “And then to see the fans response to me, it really meant a lot.”

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