Stacy London has been telling women What Not to Wear for a decade. And throughout her tenure as a television fashion guru, she has suffered from psoriasis. Diagnosed at the age of four, London thinks some of her sartorial leanings subconsciously developed from the need for sparkly, pretty perfection when her chronic skin disorder made her feel otherwise.
London understands the self-esteem struggle people with psoriasis go through and has become the face of Uncover Your Confidence, a site where women can go to find the right dermatologist, read other patient stories, and get Londons style tips. With the final episode of her show airing October 18th, we decided to chat with London about all things fashion and beauty, and how women with psoriasis can take pleasure in it too.
Real Beauty: You were diagnosed with psoriasis so young, how did this affect your confidence?
Stacy London: I remember feeling very different, like something was wrong with me. But I internalized that feeling to a large extent. But when I was about 11 it got much more severeto the point where I was pretty much covered in scales from my neck downand it was a lot harder. At four, kids dont really pay attention. But by the time I was 11 and I had to cut off all my hair in order to be able to take care of my scalp, the kids were not kind. I was constantly fighting this perception that I was infectiouswhich of course I was notbut it was so brutally hard on my self-esteem. This is where a disease like this becomes so challenging, its very easy to get depressed and its also very easy to kind of give up on your appearance.
RB: Tell us about Unover Your Confidence.
SL: It's a site that allows people who have psoriasis to find a way to take back control of their lives. One of the ways to breed confidence and a stronger self-esteem in people is by helping them like the way they look. This may seem impossible with psoriasis, but its not, it's just harder. So we wanted to create a style guide to provide up-to-date trend information for people to not feel like they have to hide and cover everything. They can live alongside their disease and still feel powerful, attractive, relevant, even trendy.
RB: What fall trends work for women with psoriasis?
SL: Its interesting to me that all of a sudden, turtlenecks are big again. So instead of wearing one out of shame, you can wear it out of style, which is glorious! Also over-the-knee boots. That's a lot of coverage, and you dont necessarily have to be wearing long pants or even tights to cover your skin.
RB: Do you have any beauty tips for people with psoriasis?
SL: You should be moisturized as much as possible. As I grew up, I found that oils have a tendency to work better for me than creams. They just absorb better and don't sit on top of the skin. I love all-natural oils, like almond and coconut. These are not treatments but are certainly going to make you more comfortable. Making sure youve got a great humidifier is really important too.
RB: What about makeup?
SL: If you want to wear red lipsticksince there is a tendency either to be chapped and flaky causing rednessyou need to be careful when youre choosing your color palette. You want to go for a blue red and not an orange red. It will make your skin look less ruddy.
RB: What beauty products are you obsessed with?
SL: So yes, I love oilsmy absolute favorite is Antonia Burrell. I swear by her cleansing oil and radiance oil. Im obsessed with everything NARS. For the last month Ive been wearing their Funny Face lipstick. I also love their Super Orgasm gel. You can brush it on your shoulders, décolletage, and cheeks and it gives you a little bit of shimmer and makes your skin look bronzed.
RB: What are your plans now that What Not to Wear is over?
SL: I have a couple of shows that Im hoping to produce. The last thing anybody wants to do, or at least that I want to do, is get really old on television. I would prefer to promote the talent and be behind-the-scenes. I also have this company, Style for Hire, that has a network of national stylists who work with real people for affordable prices. It was an extension and embodiment of the What Not to Wear philosophy that anybody can look good on any budget. And Im going write another book!