Many of us marvel at celebrities’ apparent ability to defy age, and actually improve on their looks with every year. While celebs used to keep quiet about what they were doing to halt the march of time, 2015 has already seen more of an open (and we think captivating) discussion about what, and whom, is giving A-listers their age-defying looks.
The latest revealing read on the topic comes from W magazine’s feature, Forever 21, in which writer Christine Lennon describes the costly, time-consuming realities of chasing a forever young aesthetic. Although Lennon belongs to the first generation of women who got serious about skincare early on, using sunscreen and Retin-A religiously starting in their 20’s, she discovered that she still has a lot of catching up to look like Jennifer Lopez—think sculpted cheekbones, pore-free, line-free glowing skin, and a tight body to match. Grasping on to that forever youthful look isn’t just a lifelong commitment to good at-home practices and squeezing in a facial here and there. It takes a major commitment to the early adoption of cosmetic treatments that only celebrities, models, and the elite have previously been privy too. That why actresses of all ages, including Sandra Bullock, 50, Jennifer Lopez, 45, and Beyonce, 33, appear to not be aging at all. So, what is the real cost of celebrity skincare? The answer: a lot.
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Lennon visited Beverly Hills Dermatologist to the stars, Harold Lancer, who reinforced that good skincare always starts with an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise, and a quality topical regimen. Beyond that, the sky is the limit, provided you have the time and the bank account. Injectables, both neurotoxins like Botox and a range of dermal fillers, remain the gold standard in anti-aging procedures because of their relatively long tenure in the cosmetic dermatology world. Used in combination, and in the right hands, injectables represent an easy fix for unwanted signs of aging—loss of volume in the cheeks, tired looking eyes, aging wrinkles on the forehead and around the lips— and even the possibility of slowing down further aging.
Lennon also spoke to Santa Monica dermatologist Karyn Grossman, who was quoted saying, “I use [Botox] in the whole face, and do it lightly, so you retain expressions but don’t have lines at rest. If the lines are still deeper than what patients want, I’ll inject a bit of the fine-line filler Belotero Balance. And I’ll inject filler into the hands and forearms of patients who are very thin, because that can make a person look much older.”
Though, despite how prevalent injections are among A-listers, we know all too well that some still consider admitting to needles a faux pas. Lasers and emerging ultrasound treatments, which can have even more dramatic effects, don’t carry the same negative social weight. There seems to be a consensus, though, that these treatments are really the future of cosmetic dermatology. Used in combination, the more gentle lasers, like Clear + Brilliant, ultrasound treatments, like Ultherapy, and radiofrequency procedures, like Thermage, tighten and firm skin, creating a lifted, flawless and youthful look. The downtime is almost non-existent, and the results are subtle enough to avoid raised eyebrows. Grossman told Lennon that, “Gwyneth is very open about how much she loves Thermage. It keeps the skin thick, and I like to keep my patients’ skin thick as long as possible.”
Facials have also gone high tech, including LED, ultrasound, microdermabrasion, and microcurrent, which are all deemed essential for maintaining the tightening, brightening, and volumnizing effects of cosmetic procedures. Whether you choose the Hydrafacial, a favorite of celebrity Amy Poehler, or the incomparable Joanna Vargas experience, the results of which are evidenced on ageless beauties Rachel Weisz and Julianne Moore, it’s going to cost you (approximately $400 a visit).
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But here’s the catch to desiring celebrity caliber skin. It’s not about just trying one cosmetic treatment here and a high tech facial there. Like training for the Olympics, it’s about dedication, consistency and maintenance. These celebrities seemingly live in their cosmetic dermatologist’s office. And they pay to live there. Beginning in the $100’s for single injections and increasing into the $1,000’s for more time consuming injections and laser treatments, these procedures are major expenditures. Since the effects fade over mere months, multiply that cost bi-annually and you can quickly work your way into the $10,000’s.
But don’t let that cost deter you from creating your own regimen. As Grossman said, “I have patients who spend $30,000 a year and look great, and I have patients who spend $3,000 a year who look great. It’s not just about wrinkles.” It’s also about how you define “great.”