Red-carpet interviews. Fashion police. Acceptance speeches. Award-show season can be full of drama for celebrities, and when the envelope is opened and the camera zooms in for a reaction shot, the last thing anyone wants to show the world is less-than-perfect skin. Here, Hollywood skin-care experts share their tips for tackling the most common skin problems.
Revive Dull Skin
Having a makeup artist—and yoga instructor and personal chef—at your beck and call may be the best way to guarantee glowy skin, but barring that, Los Angeles facialist Ole Henriksen recommends an at-home peel. “Smoking, excess alcohol, too much powder, or even a moisturizer that’s not hydrating enough can lead to dull skin,” says Henriksen, who has worked with Charlize Theron. Start fresh by removing dead skin cells with an at-home peel, like his Micro/Mini Peel System, once a week, or the Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel at bedtime. Then slather on a rich moisturizer, such as Shiseido Future Solution LX Daytime Protective Cream SPF 15.
Nothing catches the light of a thousand paparazzi flashbulbs like shiny skin. It may sound counterintuitive, but the best way to fight oily skin is with more oil, says Beverly Hills facialist Sonya Dakar. “Starving your skin with harsh cleansers and oil-free moisturizers will only make it overproduce more and give you a shiny face.” She recommends Sonya Dakar NutraSphere Buriti Purifying Cleanser, followed by a light moisturizer. (We like Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream.) Another option: Tatcha Blotting Papers remove excess oil without shifting your makeup or leaving behind a bunch of residue.
Banish a Blemish
Choosing the right pair of Louboutins to go with your dress can be stressful—and we all know stress can lead to zits. “The most important thing to remember is to not touch the pimple. If you have time, see your dermatologist for a cortisone shot,” advises Ava Shamban, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. If you get a last-minute eruption, “combine aspirin and water to create a paste, and apply it to breakouts.” Hide acne with makeup that’s designed for acne-prone skin, like Cover FX.
Brighten Dark Circles
For his Hollywood clients who wish to banish dark circles, Henriksen recommends lymphatic drainage. The light massage stimulates the undereye area and promotes oxygenation and hydration, which will alleviate darkness. Need an instant fix? Olay Definity Eye Illuminator Illuminating Eye Treatment instantly brightens the undereye area with mica particles and strengthens it with powerful hydrators.
Hearing the fans call your name may make you blush, but skin can look ruddy for a number of reasons: rosacea, stress, heat, or a basic propensity for flushing, which is common in women with fair skin. The key is to be gentle. Wash your face with a cleanser for sensitive skin, meaning it’s free of fragrances, alcohol, and preservatives. We like Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Lotion. Then moisturize daily with a lotion containing soothing feverfew, aloe vera, or licorice, such as Eucerin Redness Relief Daily Perfecting Lotion SPF 15.
Shrink Puffy Under-Eyes
Unless you sail through life without allergies, crying jags, salty foods, alcohol, or the common cold, you’ll get puffy eyes. The cause is water retention; the fix can be as simple as sleeping on an extra pillow. This prevents fluid from settling under the eyes. “If you wake up puffy, dab a pea-size drop of depuffing eye gel that contains caffeine on the area,” says Patricia Wexler, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City (who also happens to be Cindy Crawford’s dermatologist). “Look for one that has additional anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as cucumber or chamomile.” We like Clinique All About Eyes Serum and Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Fastscription Instant De-Puff Eye Gel.
For big events, makeup artists hide wrinkles and fine lines with primers that “lay down a smooth layer of silicone over the skin, or creams that temporarily plump it with marine collagen spheres,” says Shamban. She likes Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer and La Prairie Cellular Treatment Gold Illusion Line Filler.
Tighten Your Pores
A busy social calendar can lead to bad habits like (gasp) forgetting to remove your makeup before bed. “I see the obsession with small pores at my clinic every day,” says Dakar. “When skin is clogged by dirt and bacteria, oil begins to accumulate, and that causes each pore’s diameter to expand.” She suggests decongesting pores weekly with an exfoliating at-home facial, such as Sonya Dakar NutraSphere Flash Facial, and an oil-absorbing clay mask, like Fresh Umbrian Clay Face Treatment.
Even red-carpet swans can have an ugly-duckling past—and acne scars can be the telltale sign. When a star does have a tiny crater, dermatologists commonly use fillers. “I met an actress with a small, sunken scar that was casting a shadow on her cheek during filming,” says Karyn Grossman, department chief of the division of dermatology at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. She visited the set to fill the hollow with collagen, which is an effective but short-term fix. “I advise my clients to schedule an appointment about four weeks before a big event, then return two weeks prior for any necessary tweaks,” says Grossman. When a scar is more noticeable, “a dermatologist’s fractional laser will cause collagen to fill in the area. The severity of the scar will determine how many treatments are required, but generally it will be a minimum of five,” says Wexler.
“Even skinny women have cellulite,” says Dakar. Her remedy? A rolling pin. “I swear by it! When you are in the shower, step out of the stream of water and work a cellulite cream with caffeine into the affected area with strong strokes of a rolling pin. This will help break down fluid retention and reduce the appearance of cellulite.”
Bare Your Underarms
Sweaty armpits are a problem during awards season: Stars in borrowed dresses want to avoid the white film most deodorants leave behind. A dermatologist can help by injecting Botox into the underarm area a week before a big event.”This eliminates sweat and is by far the best way to go,” says Grossman. An even quicker option: Dysport, a muscle relaxant that “in a pinch, will give results within 24 to 48 hours.”
Fix Body Blemishes
A backless dress and bacne don’t mix. The best way to prevent body breakouts? “Shower immediately after the gym,” says Dakar. “If you don’t have time for that, at least remove your sweaty clothes, pat your skin dry with a damp towel and put on clean, dry clothes.” Treat breakouts with benzoyl peroxide. “It can be applied twice daily,” she says.
Even It All Out
Until someone creates a real-world version of Photoshop, you’ll need a little planning and patience to handle uneven skin tone. Skin lighteners with two percent of the bleaching agent hydroquinone, such as DDF Fade Gel 4, can safely fade a spot in three months. Apply one at night, 20 minutes before your moisturizer. For a last-minute fix, Dakar’s celebrity clients sign up for a beauty boot camp, which tackles skin problems on their backs, arms, and décolleté. “Depending on the dress, we perform the same facials, peels, and other treatments to these areas as well as the face,” she says. Just make sure you go a day or two before a big event so your dress doesn’t reveal big red splotches.