The Cosmetic Treatments That Will Get You Red Carpet Ready

Preparing for awards season takes a village, especially when it comes to creating a camera-ready complexion. From Botox® to chemical peels, these are the treatments dermatologists recommend to get your skin red carpet – or special event – ready.
Written by Vivien Moon
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The Cosmetic Treatments That Will Get You Red Carpet Ready Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock

When preparing for the red carpet season, it takes a village. From the publicists to the stylists, makeup artists, facialists, and, of course, the dermatologists, there’s no such thing as an effortless look – it’s the result of months of effort. While most of us were reveling in the festivities of the holiday season, A-listers were hard at work preparing their bodies and faces for the most publicized events of the year.

Appearing on camera comes with perpetual scrutiny and with screens more high-def than ever, maintaining a clear complexion during the stress of awards season is often a priority for celebs. While we probably won’t find ourselves at the Oscars any time soon, the rules of the red carpet are transferable. Here, The AEDITION breaks down the cosmetic procedures and skin treatments that will have your complexion in tip-top share for any event.

The Areas of Concern Before a Red Carpet Appearance

Stars, they’re just like us! At least when it comes to skin concerns that is. Still prone to breakouts, age spots, and dry skin – especially with their hectic travel schedules – celebrities need to give their skin some TLC, too.

New York-based board certified dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, notes that Hollywood’s elite can succumb to “acne issues, blackhead, pustules, stress and hormonal breakouts, pigmentation and discoloration in the skin, and dry or dehydrated skin.” So, even though celebrities might have access to the best of the best, they can’t escape the natural effects of being, well, human.

As a Hollywood-based board certified dermatologist, Jason Emer, MD, knows this all too well. “Many of my VIP patients are wanting their skin to look flawless on camera, especially in today’s high-def world,” Dr. Emer explains. “We address hyperpigmentation, discoloration caused by sun damage or age, melasma, and acne scars with a carefully curated combo of treatments.”

He advises a series of tweakments in the weeks prior to an event. “The treatments that cause small injury to the skin to promote cell turnover and natural anti-aging through the healing process are the treatments that are most effective,” he says. “It’s important to allow for enough downtime to prevent appearing pink, scaly, or dry on the carpet.”

Cosmetic Treatments to Get Before a Red Carpet or Big Event

So, what can really be done in a short period of time that will produce great results without you looking ‘done’? Whether there’s a red carpet in your future or you have a wedding or special occasion on the calendar, these are the minimally invasive treatments dermatologists recommend if you’re looking for a quick skin boost.

1. Neurotoxin Injections

By and large one of the most well-known anti-aging treatments for a youthful look, Botox® and its competitors work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by paralyzing the underlying muscles. According to board certified dermatologist Nikhil Dhingra, MD, of Manhattan’s at Spring Street Dermatology, the best timeline for neurotoxin injections is a month prior to your event. “Botox® takes a full two weeks to take on its full form,” he shares. “Any touch-ups needed at that two-week mark take at least one to two weeks to show as well, so aim for a month prior to an event.” Another note: the results are temporary. Injections need to be redone every three to four months.

2. Radiofrequency Microneedling

Microneedling helps with the production of collagen through the penetration of small needles that into the skin. Pairing it with radiofrequency helps to further stimulate the body’s natural collagen production to create more rejuvenated skin. Favorited for its ability to create firmer skin with a low risk for side effects, Dr. Emer recommends RF microneedling two to three weeks before the big event for peak results.

3. Chemical Peel

Performed about three weeks in advance, a mild chemical peel can help treat minor skin discolorations and uneven skin texture. As we’ve covered before, chemical peels are a skin resurfacing technique that can be done in a range of strengths from superficial to deep. Dr. Dhingra cautions against getting a deep chemical peel too close to the event because of the downtime associated with it penetrating the middle layer of skin. “Chemical peels are fantastic for texture and tone,” Dr. Dhingra shares. “But, with a week of downtime, give yourself ample time so you’re not shedding while facing the flashing bulbs of the media.” While a deep chemical peel has the power to remove moderate lines, freckles, age spots, and scars, a superficial chemical peel is enough to improve the clarity and brightness of the complexion with much less downtime. The non-abrasive nature of using a mild acid to penetrate the outer layer of the skin makes it a favorite of celebs and those looking for a lunchtime treatment.

4. Hydrafacial

A HydraFacial is a great last-minute treatment to give you a JLo-level glow. The multi-step process is both hydrating and exfoliating and involves a thorough cleansing, extractions, and serum application. Dr. Dhingra suggests getting it done in the days or weeks leading up to an event because it has a “transient effect” without much risk for irritation. “Getting in a HydraFacial a week before a big event can add glow and brightness when the lights hit,” Dr. Dhingra explains.

5. PRP

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a blood plasma-based protein solution that is produced using the patient's own blood cells and is often combined with microneedling or as a part of the Vampire Facial® (a favorite of Kim Kardashian). The regenerative abilities of PRP are often noted by dermatologists because injecting PRP back into a patient's skin helps stimulate collagen production — giving the complexion a firming and brightening effect. For Dr. Russak, a PRP treatment is “ideally done in a series to address a variety of skincare concerns, such as brightness, pore size, superficial fine lines, and uneven tone and texture.” Give it a few weeks to work its magic as your skin begins to increase collagen production.

6. Dermal Filler

“Micro-augmentations utilizing small amounts of dermal filler such as Radiesse® or Juvederm® to subtly accentuate natural features and contour,” says Dr. Emer, will help maintain a younger appearance without looking as though any work has actually been done. Dermal filler is a great option for those who want to give their cheekbones a volumizing boost, reduce the appearance of fine lines, or plump up their lips for a more shapely pout. Juvederm® uses hyaluronic acid that can help with the appearance of crow's feet, smile lines, and worry lines, but, like all filler, it should be done several weeks in advance to let the filler fully settle and to avoid any potential bruising.

Cosmetic Treatments to Avoid Before a Red Carpet or Big Event

“Deep resurfacing treatments with erbium or fraxel lasers, intense pulsed light (IPL) for red and brown pigment, Ultherapy® ultrasound skin tightening, threads for lifting, Kybella® for submental chin fat, and stronger chemical peels,” should be avoided in the weeks before a big event, explains Dr. Russak. While these procedures are quite effective, celebrities know that the camera will pick up every little detail and proper recovery time is needed for optimal results. “These are great treatments to have several months before your event,” she says.

The most important treatments to avoid when getting ready for a high profile event? Anything that could potentially create an unexpected reaction that will have you out for the count. This means no new beauty products or facial treatments that you've never tried before. “You don’t want to end up in a scenario where you’re trying to do something to enhance your appearance that then backfires and draws attention to something you don’t want,” Dr. Dhingra says.

Instead, a well-executed, strategic procedure timeline coupled with a solid skincare routine is key. “The last tip leading up to a big event: don’t rock the boat with your skincare routine,” he advises. “A proper routine takes at least three months to work. Get that going ahead of time and stick to it through the event. You don’t want to risk an allergic reaction, extreme redness, peeling, or puffiness as a result of overzealous at-home product use.”

The Takeaway

Whether you’re strutting down the red carpet at the SAG Awards or gearing up for wedding season, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures like injectables, facials, and chemical peels can give you that enviable Hollywood glow in a flash. Consulting with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon will ensure your skin is ready for the spotlight.

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VIVIEN MOONis a senior editor at AEDIT.

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