Skin Care Secrets from the Dermatologist to the Stars

Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres all have something in common besides a net worth of zillions. They share the same dermatologist -- Dr. Harold Lancer, who dispenses advice and high-tech treatments from his office on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, next to boutiques like CHANEL, Dior, Prada and Ralph Lauren. Now, in his new book, Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin, Lancer shares his simple four-step secret to getting red-carpet radiant skin (no matter your bank balance).

1. Exfoliate your skin every day and do it before you cleanse. A gentle daily “polish” --the word Lancer actually prefers to exfoliate -- is like “taking the tarnish off silver.” Dead cells and surface debris are whisked away to allow “fresh, radiant skin to shine through.” You can polish your skin either mechanically (with a loofah, rough washcloth or a scrub with tiny beads), or you can choose a chemical exfoliator that uses enzyme-based ingredients like papaya or pineapple to dissolve those old skin cells. Polish your skin once a day, preferably at night, for 60 to 90 seconds. Dampen your skin with warm water before you begin and finish with a rinse of lukewarm water.

2. Follow polishing with a non-irritating cleanser to cart away the uprooted debris. Apply a pea-sized drop of cleanser to your fingertips and massage it into your skin, working from the jawline up.

3. Complete your nighttime skin care regimen with a nourishing lotion, cream or serum. Check the ingredients label for damage-fighting antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Peptides and pentapeptides will also keep your skin looking its best by boosting the production of new collagen. Again, apply a pea-sized amount and work the product into your skin from the jawline to your hairline.

4. During the day add one more step: protect. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. For all steps of this regimen, find products that feel good on your skin. The more “pampered” your skin care regimen makes you feel, says Lancer, the more likely you are to stick with it.

9 Ways to Get Beautiful … in the Shower

Why get just clean when you can get gorgeous? Here are some ways to turn your daily shower into a beauty boost, from head to toes.

1. De-tangle your hair before you shampoo. 
Lather, rinse, repeat. You know the drill. But in fact, there's a little bit more technique to getting salon-like shiny hair.

First, never step into the shower with tangled hair. Water will make those knots even knottier and can lead to breakage. Gently brush out tangles while your hair is still dry, paying attention to the layers underneath, where snags sometimes hide.

Then, prevent new tangles by applying shampoo to the roots and working it through to the ends, moving in the same direction as the water. A circular massage or flinging your head upside down under the showerhead may feel good, but it can lead to snarls.

2. Condition, starting from the ends. 
After rinsing out the shampoo, apply conditioner to the ends of your hair (your newly grown roots don’t need the repair as much). Then, using a wide-tooth comb you keep in the shower -- so it’s there when you need it! -- comb the conditioner through your ends, moving up the length of the hair. Leave the conditioner in your hair while you continue your shower regimen.

3. Use a moisturizing body wash instead of soap. 
Skip the deodorized soap (it can strip your skin of oils) and choose a moisturizing body wash, especially in the winter. “Darting from frigid temperatures outdoors to dry indoor heating compromises the skin’s body function,” says Dr. Glen Kolansky, a dermatologist in Tinton Fall, N.J.

“Without this protective barrier the skin isn’t able to hold on to moisture effectively,” adds Kolansky. “Instead, when water evaporates, skin is left dry, rough and itchy.”

4. Deep-clean your pores.
Rotating cleansing brushes do a terrific job of getting rid of makeup residue, dirt and oil that can remain trapped in your pores even after you’ve cleansed your face. But not if they remain unused on your bathroom sink! Follow the example of Dr. Tina Alster, a Washington, D.C., dermatologist who keeps her favorite sonic brush in the shower along with a tube of mild cleanser. “I use it on my face, on my neck and on rough patches on my shoulders,” she says.

5. Get a close shave.
Prep your legs for a super-smooth shave by letting your skin get wet for two to three minutes before you begin.  Use a moisturizing shave cream or gel and a razor that’s, well, razor sharp. 

“You’ll get the closest, cleanest shave with less risk of being left with nicks or dry flaky skin if you use a sharp razor that skims the skin instead of dragging against it,” says Dr. Jeanie Leddon, a Boulder, Colo., dermatologist. “A good rule of thumb is to replace the blade after five to ten uses.”

6. Soften your feet.
Keep calluses at bay by using a foot scrub every time you shower.  (The tickle will wake you up too.) Once a week, gently buff away dry skin with a pumice stone.

7. Rinse.
The last step while the shower is still on: Rinse out your hair conditioner, letting the water flow down your locks.

8. Moisturize.
Pat your skin lightly with a towel while you’re still in the shower then apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. The hydrating ingredients will absorb more efficiently on skin that’s slightly wet, keeping your skin its most touchably supple.

9. Towel dry your hair.
Gently blot the extra moisture from your locks with a dry towel. If you rub vigorously, you’ll create tangles and set your hair up for frizz. Use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush to get your hair ready for styling.

Now, scrubbed and stunning, get ready to start your day!

Get Beautiful in Your Sleep

In the movies, the heroine always wakes up looking perfectly refreshed and gorgeous. Sure, she may have Hollywood magic on her side, but the rest of us have a potent beauty weapon too: sleep!

It turns out, there really is such a thing as beauty sleep. “Sleep allows the body to go into several stages of non-REM and REM cycles for restoration of body functions,” says Dr. Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell, a research dermatologist. Further, the emerging science of chronobiology -- the study of the impact of biological rhythms and their effects on the body -- has uncovered subtle differences in skin behavior at night. The skin is more permeable; it expends fewer defenses against the daytime’s free radicals, pollution and sun damage; and oil production is lower. All these changes help active ingredients absorb more effectively at 2 a.m. than at 2 p.m.

Here’s a guide to the types of treatments and products that work their magic in the dark.

Hair Conditioners
Sometimes called “deep conditioners” or “reparative masks,” these temporary leave-on hair products can work even better when they’re allowed hours, not minutes, to absorb deeply into the hair shaft. Before bedtime, massage the mask along the ends and mid-shaft of dry hair and comb through. Rinse and style as usual in the morning.

Heavy-duty Moisturizers
Quick-absorbing, lightweight hydrators with built-in sunscreen are perfect for protecting the skin during the day and providing a satiny base for your makeup. Nighttime is when you’ll want to slather on the thicker, richer, more emollient moisturizers that may look greasy but provide more reparative moisture benefits. This deeply penetrating moisture can have a carryover benefit into the daytime.

Retinoids
Dermatologists suggest that patients use over-the-counter and stronger prescription retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene) only at night because these topical forms of vitamin A can degrade in light and make the skin more vulnerable to sun damage and more likely to burn. “They have become the gold standard of what dermatologists recommend to help exfoliate, lighten brown spots, stimulate collagen production and clean out pores,” says Dr. D’Anne Kleinsmith, a Michigan cosmetic dermatologist.  

Active Treatment Products
Many treatment products work best when they’re not competing with layers of cosmetics and sunscreen, says Dr. Patricia Farris, a Louisiana dermatologist. What’s more, active ingredients such as salicylic acid, which exfoliates dead skin cells, as well as peptides -- tiny proteins that stimulate collagen to help reduce the signs of aging -- are most effective when they’re not being diluted by perspiration or fending off daytime environmental stressors like pollution and sunlight. The increased blood flow to skin at night, along with nocturnal water loss, may help these ingredients better penetrate the skin’s barrier layers.

Rough-skin Erasers
Products made to soften rough skin on the feet or hands are likely to get the best results if they’re applied at bedtime. Many include alpha hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic and citric acids) that penetrate the outermost layer of skin to promote exfoliation. Or, try this softening treatment suggested by Dr. C. Ralph Daniel III, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center: Soak hands and feet in room-temperature water for up to five minutes. Apply an extra-thick moisturizer, such as shea butter or petroleum jelly. For the best overnight penetration, pull on a pair of light cotton gloves or socks.

Antiperspirant
Some extra-strength antiperspirants are specially formulated for nighttime use, but a regular formula can also be more potent during the night’s optimum conditions. “For people who have problems with excessive perspiration, it makes a lot of sense to apply an antiperspirant before you go to bed,” says Kleinsmith. “When you’re not already perspiring, you can block the sweat glands more easily and let the medication work more effectively.”

Beauty Essential: Concealer

Concealer can be a girl’s best friend, especially after a night out sipping salt-rimmed margaritas. But even teetotalers can wake up with under-eye bags or dark circles -- resulting from lack of sleep, fluid retention, hay fever or just the deep-set eyes you inherited from Mom and Dad. Dermatologists say the thin tissue around the eye is subjected to more stress than are other areas of the skin, making it one of the earliest problem areas for women.

A good concealer can hide the problem, but there’s an art to finding the right shade and formula. For that, we asked Eugenia Weston, an Emmy-nominated celebrity makeup artist. She says there’s a reason most concealers are either peach (orange-based) or yellow: Each color does something different, which is why they’re often packaged side by side in a single compact. The trick isn’t deciding between peach and yellow (most of us need both), but choosing the depth of tone they’re available in -- light, medium or dark -- to match the pigment in your complexion.

Choosing the Right Color Concealer
If you have bluish or dark circles, a peach concealer will help cancel them out. But if your under-eye area and eyelids are pink-tinged, a common condition among the fair-skinned or allergy prone, a yellow concealer will counter the redness. The formula -- cream or liquid -- is a matter of personal preference. Cream concealers offer more coverage but take a little more skill to apply; liquids are sheer and a better bet for minimal circles or younger skin.

How to Apply
Using your ring finger for a light touch, prep the under-eye skin with eye cream so that the concealer won’t drag on. If you woke up with puffy peepers, apply a tightening or firming eye gel instead. The coolness and lifting ingredients should help send those bags packing.

If you wear foundation, bring it up under the eyes. Using an oval-shaped 1/3-inch wide synthetic bristled concealer brush, apply three dots of concealer starting at the tear ducts and ending at the iris. Paint them down and outward to cover the entire area. Gently blend in the concealer with your ring finger, using a press-and-roll motion. If upper eyelids are pink, stroke on yellow concealer there as a neutralizing eye shadow base.

Use a Powder
Set your concealer with one of the new ultrafine mineral powders in a colorless, one-size-fits-all translucent shade. “Dip the corner of a triangular latex sponge into the setting powder -- I use pressed rather than loose for neatness -- and blot it right up against the lash line,” says Weston. Powdering concealer is an often overlooked but essential step. “Otherwise, the mascara and eyeliner you’re about to apply will smudge as the day wears on, creating the very darkness you’re trying to eliminate.”

How Hair Can Help
It never hurts to think outside the box. If under-eye circles are chronic, a good hairstyle can deflect attention from them, says Tom Brophy of the Tom Brophy Salon. For instance, sideswept bangs cut from a side part will direct the beholder’s gaze away from the under-eye area, as will soft layers around the face. “What I would avoid,” says Brophy, “is a middle part or horizontal fringe, both of which would only frame the problem area.”

Also, consider that your natural hair color may be exaggerating those under-eye circles by casting a shadow on them. Colorist Michelle Vance at the Tom Brophy Salon has a solution: Lighten up. “Since dark shades and ashy tones can accentuate under-eye circles, think about taking your overall color one shade lighter. Or add a few blond highlights around the face to brighten things up,” she says.

Next thing you know, those sunglasses that were hiding your under-eye circles will have nothing to do but act as a headband up in your hair.

Four Ways to Fake Great Legs

After a long winter, you’re definitively ready to toss aside boots and leggings for sandals and short skirts. The question is: are your legs prepared for public display?

If gnarly toes, pasty calves and jiggly thighs are telling you “absolutely not,” don’t panic. You can get great, gorgeous legs with these easy beauty routine fixes and tricks.

1. Fake a Sunkissed Glow
No matter how long and lean your legs are, they’ll look even shapelier with a sunkissed glow. Drugstore shelves offer a wide variety of self-tanning products for an even, natural-looking tan that will leave your skin smelling great too. Here’s a guide to the formula that’s right for you.

  • Wash-off self-tanners These solutions create a temporary color that lasts about a day and washes away with soap and water. Apply one layer for a sheer look; add a second for deeper color.
  • Tanning mousses and gels Quick, but doesn’t dry instantly, so you can correct mistakes. The tint lets you see any spots you might have missed.
  • Daily self-tanning moisturizers Gradually builds a subtle glow with daily use. Foolproof, these are perfect for self-tanning novices.
  • Tanning lotion Produces the deepest caramels and bronzers for that “just back from St. Bart’s” look.
  • Tanning sprays The fastest way to achieve all-over coverage. Perfection takes practice; try this out a few times before a big event.

2. Pamper Your Feet
Squeezed into boots and forgotten for months, your feet are likely looking dry and callused, and your toes a bit ragged. Get them ready for their flip-flop debut with a spa pedicure that goes beyond just a file and polish.

Look for a service that offers these steps: a foot soak in a warm bath with moisturizing ingredients like essential oils; an exfoliating scrub to soften calluses and remove dead skin cells; a second scrub with a foot file to banish those calluses and other rough spots; a soothing massage followed by the application of a super-hydrating lotion that’s sealed by dipping your feet into warm paraffin or wrapping them in hot towels.

The final steps: shaping your toenails and applying polish. Scott Barnes, a makeup artist for such celebrities as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce, suggests painting your toes in sheer nudes or a brown hue to make your legs look their longest. Nail stylist Reham Bastawros who prettifies the peds of Renee Zellweger and Miley Cyrus favors a splashier look: eye-catching colors like bubblegum pinks, citrus yellows, watermelon hues or a classic vixen red.

3. Choose Shoes That Elongate Your Legs
Fling aside those 4-inch tottering heels! Shoe designer Stuart Weitzman says this season, ’70s-inspired wedges will add height without straining the foot the way stilettos often do. Opt for shoes in nude or tones like blush-beige, khaki, brown or bronze that will trick the eye into thinking your legs and shoes are one lean, unbroken line. Avoid ankle straps -- they’ll chop your legs to make your gams look shorter than they are.

4. Tone Your Muscles
Want to rev up the definition of your legs in a flash? Dr. Philip L. Goglia, a Los Angeles nutritionist and trainer whose clients include Kim Delaney, Owen Wilson and Raven-Symone, suggests these three moves:

Wide-stance squats: Do them like a ballet plie, with toes angled outward, and a stance wider that your shoulders. Do five sets of 20 reps daily.

Hill- and flat-walking should be for 30 minutes (good) to an hour (better!) each day. Or, try stair-climbing for the same length of time.

Walking lunges: Great for your glutes! Just make sure that your knees don’t extend beyond your feet as you lunge. Work up to five sets of 20 lunges daily.