Skin

The secrets of Oscar-worthy skin

February 26th 2017 / Anna Hunter / 1 comment

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Want to know how nominees and Hollywood royalty get ready for the biggest night of the year? LA’s most in-demand dermatologist shares a detailed and exclusive Oscars skincare diary

How do you prep your skin of a big occasion? Likely with an increased water uptake, a face mask here and there and maybe a few early nights. For Academy Award attendees and nominees, however, the game steps up somewhat, what with the looming presence of HD cameras and global press fanfare that surrounds the ceremony. Just how do you go about preparing for the eyes of the world scrutinising your every pore? Established Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer has been treating three Oscar nominated actresses this year alone (Michelle Williams for one), and we wangled an interview with him to discover what a red carpet skincare routine consists of. For reference, his other clients include Margot Robbie, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and David Gandy, to name but a few who give him glowing recommendations. The low-maintenance among you may wish to look away now...

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Get The Gloss: Do your clients have a 'goal' in mind in terms of getting ready for the Oscars? Do celebrities tend to step up their skincare regimes around this time?

Dr Lancer: “The important thing to note is that A-list celebrities are always in maintenance mode because they are always working, and paparazzi are always around. When it comes to red carpet appearances, they generally know three to four months beforehand so that they step up their routine in terms of complexion from head to toe a few months in advance.”

“As we get closer to the awards, they’ll be in clinic twice a week primarily for manual polishing, cleansing and nourishing of the skin, from head to toe. The focus is never purely on the face. We treat the face, ears, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, and breasts, because they don’t know what they’ll be wearing until a day or two before the event. Usually, they are all using The Method (Sensitive), the Lancer Advanced Radiance C Treatment, £68, Lancer Lift Serum Intense, £230 and are using the Lancer Radiance Awakening Mask and the Lancer Younger Revealing Mask Intense”

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“They also step up the game in terms of skin firming, including the face, neck, chest and outer arm area and inner and outer thighs in the event they are wearing a sleeveless dress or a dress with thigh slits. This is crucial because they don’t know what the hair stylist, fashion stylists or photographers are doing so they don’t know where the slit is, or the cleavage line – they don’t know which body part will be visible.”

GTG: What are the ultimate 'dos' and 'don’t’s' of special occasion skin?

Dr Lancer: “In terms of treatments, from about 6-8 weeks out, they will want to avoid any serious in-clinic procedures such as lasers or peels that require significant healing, but lighter treatment options like microdermabrasion, microneedling, LED treatments and facials can get skin looking its best in time for a big event. Many of my dedicated clients will work a weekly Lancer Signature Gold Stem Cell facial into their schedules for the month leading up to a big appearance. Radiofrequency tightening procedures, such as Venus Freeze, are also popular before awards season as they can provide a gently lifted look without requiring a recovery period, and can be performed on the face or body.”

“They will pay extreme attention to diet. Some of them are on severe caffeine, carb and sugar-free diets for at least two months before the red carpet appearance. Cutting out excessively salty foods and processed carbs can help to reduce bloating in the face and body, and increasing your daily water intake will keep skin even and glowing.”

“No tan lines is also a very important one, as again the celebrities won’t know what they are wearing until a few days before the event.”

GTG: How can you prepare if you know that you're likely to be jet lagged, stressed, hormonal or not eating as well as you could?

Dr Lancer: “There are some oral medications that can regulate body fluids which can keep you from being bloated, stabilise hormonal balance, or reduce the potential for blemishes. These can help to prevent the fluid-retention ‘look’ that often accompanies jet lag.”

“I advise that my clients drink four litres of water a day for optimum hydration. Also, applying cool compresses to the eye area and sleeping with the head elevated on two pillows can help to reduce fluid-retention.”

“When celebrities are flying, I suggest that they bring a few of my Lift & Plump Sheet Masks, £29, with them on the plane so that they can apply a new sheet mask every three to four hours to keep facial redness and puffiness under control.”

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GTG: How much do stars do by themselves, and how often might they visit a facialist or dermatologist?

Dr Lancer: “Usually starting 6-8 weeks out, they’ll see me roughly every two weeks. The week before, they will see me twice. If they are filming, they might see a facialist every other day. The 400 celebrities who are attending the Oscars are also filming other projects and go back to work the very next day, so aestheticians will ensure that the pores are not congested because of what they were doing before the awards.”

GTG: What can be done at the last minute to make skin look instantly HD ready?

Dr Lancer: “On the Sunday of the Oscars, I see celebrities at 6am, as they need to be ready for hair and makeup by about 10am. They’ll see me for a micro-polishing or a Vegan Stem Cell Facial which takes about 45 minutes before being swept away for hair and makeup. The micro-polishing buffs rough skin to reveal radiance and give the makeup artist a smooth canvas on which to work.”

GTG: Is it true that you shouldn't wear SPF in front of the camera?

Dr Lancer: “Not true. SPF will usually be blended with the foundation which means there is no discolouration from the flash.”

GTG: The after-party is over- what's the best way to remove makeup and help skin to recover from the night before?

Dr Lancer: “Celebrities will often use the Lancer Makeup Removing Wipes, £32, while they are in the car, and then remove the remaining makeup with The Method. Then they’ll use the Lift & Plump Sheet Mask to keep skin hydrated.”

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GTG: How can you deal with breakouts if they strike? Any tips in terms of both skincare and makeup?

Dr Lancer: “First, do not panic. Stress hormones wreak havoc on your complexion and most last minute disasters have a remedy. Next, drink at least 32 ounces of water which will help to reduce red or uneven skin that is the result of dehydration. If you have a major pimple you can apply a cold compress to the area to bring down redness and swelling or, in extreme circumstances, see a dermatologist for an emergency cortisone injection which will speed up healing.”

Want to know a makeup artist’s awards ceremony secrets? Read Mary Greenwell’s red carpet rules

Follow Dr Lancer on Twitter @DrLancerRx and Anna @AnnaMaryHunter


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  • Block island organics
  • March 3rd 2017

Love that SPF is on the list for Oscar worthy skin. It makes sense that celebrities need a little protection from the California sun and all the lights on the red carpet. Fun to read what the stars do to prep for the Oscars.

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