Not only does Dr. Harold Lancer boast an active clientele of over 30,000 patients from all around the world, but he’s also the man behind the flawless faces of countless celebs such as Kim Kardashian West, Victoria Beckham, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Beyoncé. Among his many credentials are a multi-award-winning skincare line, a book on anti-aging, and a top-notch dermatology practice in – where else – Beverly Hills. Impressive doesn’t even begin to cover it.
So, it’s safe to say that when it comes to all things skin, Dr. Lancer’s your man. Savoir Flair tapped the skincare guru and found out all his top tips and tricks to getting superstar skin. From the best ingredients to the foods you should (and should not) be eating, it’s all here.
What inspired you to get into the world of skincare?
I’ve been fascinated by skin since childhood, when I suffered severe burns on over 10 percent of my body from falling into a vat of near-boiling water at the age of seven. I attribute my recovery to the homemade remedies that my mother prepared and the meticulous daily care of my hometown doctor.
While the recovery process was painful and tedious, I became fascinated by how skin heals, ages, and differs among people. This experience greatly influenced my belief in restoration instead of alteration as the most effective way to obtain beautiful skin. After more than 30 years in practice, my fascination still holds – I continue on my quest to find new ways to repair complexion imperfections.
Using a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is essential to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
What’s the biggest mistake women make with their skin?
One of the biggest mistakes is simply not having a daily skincare regimen. Taking care of your skin should be an automatic part of your day and as natural as brushing your teeth! Every patient who comes to my practice is put on The Lancer Method, my daily skincare regimen. It starts with exfoliation using ‘The Method: Polish’, followed by a deeper clean with ‘The Method: Cleanse’ and then ‘The Method: Nourish’ to help hydrate and provide anti-aging benefits.
Equally as important is the use of an SPF – all day, every day! Going about your day without protection is one of the most damaging things you can do to your skin. Regardless of the weather, using a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 is essential to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
Bust the biggest myth you’ve heard about skin.
That lifestyle and diet do not influence skin health – maintaining a healthy diet affects your skin just as much as what you use to take care of it! I counsel all of my patients, including some of the most beautiful and recognizable faces in the world, on the benefits of living an anti-aging skincare lifestyle. I provide them with dietary dos and don’ts that can either complement or counteract their skincare strategies to ensure they have healthy and youthful-looking skin.
So what foods should we be eating to get the best complexions?
Eat organic. Conventionally raised and manufactured foods often contain growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals that can disrupt the hormones and cause the body to react due to not recognizing the foreign substances that are invading. This can negatively influence the antioxidant management system of the body and lead to more rapid aging through the destruction of collagen, elastic tissue, and the skin matrix.
Also, eat more vegetables. They are a great way to nourish your body with vitamins and minerals, and you can eat as much as you want! In contrast, fruit should be eaten in moderation due to its high sugar content, which is known to affect acne. Drink plenty of water every day – this is essential, especially when living in a hot and humid environment.
Are there any foods we should not eat, and why?
I’m an advocate for eliminating foods that come in a package. They tend to be overly processed with high sugar, sodium, and “bad fat” contents. Cut back on dairy, and only consume organic dairy products to avoid hormones. Cut back on sugar, too, as it can trigger hormonal shifts in the body and lead to a poor complexion.
Avoid salt because it causes water retention and has the ability to slow down the flush of toxins from the body and skin. It can irritate the lining of your pores, which can lead to clogging and potentially exacerbate acne. Also try to withdraw from caffeine, which can be dehydrating and ultimately lead to a “toxic overload” that wreaks havoc on your skin.
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What’s new in the skincare world right now?
In my practice, the biggest trend I see is a move toward non-invasive, non-surgical treatments. My patients are generally looking to avoid the invasive procedures that were popular several years ago, opting instead for natural skincare solutions that have minimal to no downtime and will give them a “fresh, not frozen” look.
They are looking for topical solutions that can be used at home, which is why I developed a complete category of high-quality ‘Advanced Treatments’ for the Lancer Skincare range. They’re designed for the skin concerns that women are most focused on – those that contribute to the appearance of aging. Products that address hyperpigmentation, even out skin tone, and brighten the skin top the list of what is in demand right now.
What key ingredients should we be looking for on skincare labels, and why?
The use of high-quality ingredients is crucial to getting the results you want from your skincare, and there are many really effective ingredients out there today. The ones to look for depend on the results you’re seeking. Retinol offers anti-aging and anti-acne benefits, and is known to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while helping improve the look of skin tone, texture, and pores.
Glycolic acid is also one to look out for, helping to exfoliate and improve the look of pores while minimizing the appearance of fine lines along with dullness and discoloration. Oily and blackhead-prone skins benefit from the sebum-dissolving effects of salicylic acid, whereas blemish-prone skin can benefit from benzoyl peroxide, which helps kill off the bacteria that causes some breakouts.
At what age should women start focusing on anti-aging products?
My philosophy centers around the idea of implementing a regimen of protection and self-care early in life in order to avoid damage and prevent the need for major invasive procedures later in life. This approach should start in childhood. I tell each and every one of my patients to ensure that their skin is protected with a minimum of SPF 30 – like our ‘Sheer Fluid Sunshield’ – every day, regardless of weather. I have teenage patients concerned with aging and looking for solutions that will help them maintain their skin. I introduce them to The Lancer Method and, once this daily ritual is established, it really sets a pattern to maintain youthful-looking skin at any age.
What’s your advice to any woman considering Botox and fillers?
Any procedure is only as good as the professional performing it. It is important to find a certified dermatologist to guide you on a path that is right for you.
Is it really possible to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles without going for Botox?
Minimizing the appearance of pronounced fine lines and wrinkles is a process, and takes serious dedication in your daily lifestyle and skincare routine. Ensuring that your skin is well cared for and moisturized will help. There are treatments and products that can help improve the appearance before needing to go down the path of Botox.
A great example is the ‘Lift and Plump Sheet Mask’. This highly concentrated sheet mask features palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and apple stem cell compounds to provide a tighter and more lifted appearance, while quenching skin with sodium hyaluronate and natural humectants to help improve suppleness. The effect is an immediately smooth look before a big event.
Lancer Skincare ‘Lift & Plump Sheet Mask’
Many women in the Middle East suffer from pigmentation. What are your top tips to treating and preventing it?
Preventing the appearance of hyperpigmentation is best achieved through lifestyle choices. Avoid the sun when possible and ensure that you are protected with a minimum of SPF 30 at all times. You are exposed to the sun more than you realize and, as I say to my patients, you should have your sun protection on unless you need a flashlight!
Pigmentation can be treated in multiple ways including a topical, at-home regimen or – for those seeking more intense solutions that can’t be performed at home – treatments like microdermabrasion, peels, and lasers should be incorporated into a customized program. These would be supported with the at-home regimen to ensure maximum treatment efficacy. I always consider the five main factors that contribute to skin damage when looking to protect and prescribe treatment for pigmentation:
Environmental exposure: Heat, pollution, and free radicals that cause inflammation, discoloration, and the breakdown of collagen fibers.
Sun damage: Exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, which leads to sun spots and hyperpigmentation. Exposure can happen whether the sun is shining or not – you can be exposed even when you are inside.
Blue light: Blue light emitted from cell phones and computer screens can increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Age/Hormones: Aging skin tends be thinner, making dark spots appear more prevalent, while hormones can cause dark spots and melasma to appear.
Ancestry: Certain ancestry profiles are more prone to hyperpigmentation, specifically Asian, African, and Mediterranean ethnicities.
How is constant air-conditioning affecting our skin, and what should we be doing to combat dryness and damage?
Being around the AC for great lengths of time tends to dehydrate skin. Being vigilant about your daily intake of water and maintaining a regimen of ‘Polish, Cleanse, and Nourish’ is crucial to keeping skin looking and feeling healthy. I would also recommend boosting skin moisture with products like the ‘Intensive Night Treatment’ that incorporates high-quality moisturizing ingredients such as caprylic/capric triglyceride and glycerin.
This should be used to moisturize the skin every night, and can even be mixed into your daily moisturizer to help improve and maintain the skin. You can also look for products that contain key moisturizing ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and panthenol, all of which help maintain moisture.
Beautiful skin is believably maintained and restored, rather than artificially augmented.
The 10-step Korean skincare routine is all the rage right now. What are your thoughts on it?
I understand the principles of the 10-step Korean routine, but believe that several of the steps can easily be condensed without losing any of the benefits. I know the hectic schedules of most of my patients, who demand convenience – this means helping them minimize the amount of time they spend and the number of products they use to get maximum results! I keep this in mind when formulating new products that will be beneficial, and improve their skin as well as their usage experience.
I recommend the use of high-quality products that deliver multiple benefits, which would eliminate three of the 10 steps. Eye-makeup removal and facial cleansing can be combined when using a high-quality cleanser, like ‘The Method: Cleanse’. The refresher/toner step can also be eliminated – it shouldn’t be necessary if you are using a good quality cleanser and exfoliant, which would deliver the same benefits. Similarly, the essence and serum steps should be combined. One high-quality product will deliver the full benefits that address a skin concern without the need for a boost.
Complete the sentence: To me, beautiful skin is…
Beautiful skin is believably maintained and restored, rather than artificially augmented. The beauty of skin is the restoration to the original biological architecture, and not the creation of a synthetic mirage.