Dr. Harold Lancer knows a thing or two about skincare. A favorite of Anastasia Soare, dermatologist Dr. Lancer has long been in charge of some of Hollywood’s most famous faces – Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé, to name a few. Sought after in abundance during award season, he even keeps a bedroom tucked away in his Beverly Hills practice to work around the clock on those about to hit the red carpet.
The Arch caught up the famed skincare guru himself to talk about the right at-home routine, frequently seen treatments, and how less is more. Read on for the full Q&A.
What’s should someone’s first line of defense be when talking about skincare?
The world of consumer beauty has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The prior conception from the consumer was that if it was a beauty issue, it required surgery. Now, beauty concerns are dermatology concerns unless proven otherwise. The thought has gone from, ‘I need a plastic surgeon’ to, ‘I need an artistic dermatologist.’
The first-class approach starts with medical rehabilitation. You’re going to want to be diligent about some sort of program, with a morning and night component. This involves a foundation of polish, cleanse, and nourish – which is the signature of the Lancer Skincare line. Then, there’s the addition of advanced products: vitamin A (retinol), vitamin C, an alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic, lactic, salicylic, etc.), some sort of vitamin E, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and then a lightening product, whether kojic acid or some sort of licorice or asparagus root extract. This skincare routine should always be your Step 1. Then, in 4-6 weeks, you can reevaluate the patient and consider whether to do something semi-invasive.
What sort of concerns do you see most often, and what sort of treatments would be used for them?
Usually the number one problem is skin color uniformity. That’s when the home care comes in. And then depending on the results, we may move on to a chemical peel or lasers. Second concern is some sort of lifting. Most people think of this in terms of neuromodulator injections like Botox, or volumizing injections like fillers. But we could also tackle tissue lifting with some sort of thread (suspension sutures they’re called), non-ablative fractionated lasers, or a radiofrequency instrument like ultrasound. Often, a combination approach is best.
What sentiment do you think people get the most wrong?
Some people think that change comes with just one singular big procedure. It’s not like that at all – those are the same people who think that buying a gym membership and staying just the day is going to transform your physique. It’s upkeep, it’s small changes, and it’s at-home care. That’s why you want an experienced dermatologist to give you an evaluation of the problem, a method of treatment, and a timeframe of results.
If someone looks in the mirror and can tell they’re unsatisfied but can’t put a finger on why, where do you start?
It is common in this office that about 80% of our new patients have had something done elsewhere badly, either resulting in a new problem or making the original problem harder to identify. Looking in the mirror and noticing something ‘off’ when you’ve had a bad procedure happens because the brain has a hard wiring for noticing distortion.
When you look at a framed picture on the wall, you can tell if it’s hung properly or not. You can see if the tip of that picture needs to be moved 2mm to straighten it out. That’s how precise your vision is. The same is true when you look at your own reflection. One brow may be off, but maybe it’s off because one cheek is off, or because the jawline is off. There are multiple things that contribute to the problem your eye is picking up on. It’s never easy, and it’s never just one step. I always start by looking at the face as a whole.
What would you say is the latest trend?
People want to look natural – believable. So, the newest trend is underdoing the correction that, in the patient’s mind, is needed. This means less volumizing, less nerve relaxing, less beating tissue into submission. We use all of our latest and greatest technology tweaked with the concept of artistry, so you look mysteriously better.
Just doing a little bit is a good thing. There’s a consequence to every action, so it’s better to do a little bit and come back later to continue the process. The days of the quick fix are over. A quick fix is something you do for a gunshot wound. In the world of beauty, there’s no need to rush.