Strictly Come Dancing professional Alijaz opens up about his secret psoriasis battle

The Strictly star revealed all

Alijaz, Strictly Come Dancing 2020
(Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

With Strictly Come Dancing 2020 now off to a glittering start, the time has come for the dancing prowess of the nation’s celebrities to take over our lives.

But with all their on-stage confidence, it might be hard to imagine that even the professionals have anxieties to overcome. This is certainly the case for long-time fan favourite Alijaz Skorjanec. The professional dancer has now spoken out to Morning Live’s Gethin Jones and Kym Marsh about his long-time battle with psoriasis.

Skorjanec revealed he was first officially diagnosed with the skin condition several years after he first developed it at 18.

What is psoriasis?

Affecting around 1-3% of the population, the condition is believed to be caused by a problem with the immune system, which causes your body to produce too many skin cells.

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It can emerge at any age, but most commonly develops in adults under 35.

The NHS website describes the condition as ‘long-lasting’ and that it ‘usually involves periods where sufferers have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.’

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

The most common form of psoriasis is called Plaque Psoriasis. It’s symptoms include:

  • Red skin legions known as plaques
  • These are covered in silver scales
  • The plaques are often itchy or sore
  • Skin around joints may crack or bleed

Strictly stress

Alijaz went on to describe how it was at its worst in 2016. This was the year that he was paired with Daisy Lowe on Strictly, but he admitted, “For some reason, that year, the stress and Janette and I started touring - the whole year was stressful.”

Strictly Come Dancing, Alijaz and Daisy Lowe

The professional dancer went on to explain, "It affects my confidence and self esteem massively" and that, "We put in long hours, and the body is under a lot of stress, [so] it gets worse when Strictly is on."

He recounted how it got so bad that he didn't wear a t-shirt for a full year. Instead, he covered up his entire body, living and working in turtle necks and long sleeves.

Strictly 2020

Now in 2020 Alijaz told how he’s learning to not get so hung up on how his skin looks.

He also discussed how the pandemic has helped him put things in perspective. The dancer stated, "With quarantine and isolation and being at home and not being able to work, [that] became more important than my skin."

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Aijaz explained that he forgot about it for a couple of months, saying that, "I completely wouldn't care about the red patches on my face - I'd be more worried about the future.”

A photo posted by on

"I'm sick of worrying about it. It's going to be there forever, so I'm learning to accept it. You can't have it all," he then said.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 is broadcast on Saturdays on BBC One.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!