A fresh-faced model (yes, she had a little makeup help!) on the Jason Wu spring 2015 runway. Photo: Imaxtree
Contrary to popular belief, not all models are born with glowing skin. They deal with complexion quirks like anyone else—and they’re often made ten times worse thanks to the amount of makeup they have to wear on the job. Although models are genetically gifted, they’re not immune to acne, puffy eyes, dry skin, and a host of other problems.
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But here’s the difference: For models, having anything but a glowing complexion is simply not an option. “Taking care of their skin is not about being vain or wanting to feel good—it’s an investment in their career,” says Samantha Wright, an esthetician at Dangene, a skin clinic in New York that counts A-list models and actresses among their clients.
Understandably, models approach skin care a little differently than many of us—their jobs depend on it. Here’s what these professional beauties do to keep their skin in peak condition.
They make a plan—and stick with it.
Fashion Week happens in the spring and fall, but models prep all year ‘round. “I recommend people prepare months in advance before any large event,” says Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. “I usually start people six months out, but three months is okay.” Along with a topical skin-care regimen, she may recommend lasers (such as Fraxel or Permea) to address more challenging issues, such as hyperpigmentation.
They think of ALL of their skin.
Models never know when they’ll need to wear a plunging neckline or backless dress on the runway. That’s why their skin care doesn’t end with their face. “We can focus on the body, smoothing out the chest and the back—even the stomach,” Wright says. An appointment at Dangene starts with a head-to-toe evaluation, followed by customized treatments that could include mole removal, microdermabrasion, or a collagen-boosting LED session. “We might do an acid wash to get rid of all the dead skin cells,” Wright explains, “so when a model walks down the runway, she glistens, shines, and is flawless.”
They build a relationship with their dermatologist.
Dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf often answers questions via email or text, teaching her model clients how to treat mini-emergencies at home. Make sure your powder room is stalked with the lotions and potions you need to treat a blemish, calm your skin, or get an immediate glow.
They know what to do when zit happens.
If models break out before a big shoot, they have a couple of treatment options. “If it’s a deep cyst, they can come in for an emergency cortisone injection,” says Dr. MacGregor. By reducing inflammation, these shots reduce the size and redness of even the biggest blemish. For smaller breakouts, Dr. MacGregor recommends Neutrogena On-the-Spot acne treatment. “It’s a more mild benzoyl peroxide that won’t cause as much irritation,” she explains. (For more on battling blemishes, read this.)
They make their facials count.
"Even models get stressed out," says celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas. “They’re running around and not eating well.” When this happens, Vargas gives models a Power Peel treatment. First, a mild fruit acid and paprika peel gently resurfaces the skin. Then, models sit under a healing LED light before oxygen is sprayed to brighten the complexion and destroy bacteria. “They look perfect without us having to do a lot of intervention,” Vargas says. And for a model, that’s just a perk of the job.