celebrity skin issues

Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Catherine Keener and Kiera Knightley are all in a slew of new summer movie releases — proving that even Hollywood can’t put a good woman down. I went behind the scenes and discovered that even great stars have skin issues from dryness to acne, and at least one of them may have recently gone under the knife.

Helen Mirren and Her “Neck Lift”

Has 67-year old Helen Mirren, star of soon to be released The Hundred Foot Journey, succumbed to a neck lift? The British press seems to think so. Some also say she has had a face lift. I’m not so sure about that, but her neck and décolleté are looking spectacular. Somehow, I can’t imagine Helen Mirren — who has been an icon of growing old gracefully and naturally — going under the knife. Perhaps instead she got the so-called Nefertiti lift, a series of Botox injections in the neck and lower jaw. It costs about $1,000 and lasts for four months.

In any case she’ll still need a good firming neck cream. My favorite so far is MitoQ Moisturizing Anti-Aging Serum ($119 in the shop). It has a simple, yet powerful formula based on a turbo-charged antioxidant that targets mitochondria (the stuff responsible for cell life).

Susan Sarandon and Smoking

Susan SarandonSusan Sarandon’s new movie, Tammy, opens in July, and the profane, boozy grandmother that she plays reminded me of the star’s smoking days. Susan Sarandon gave up smoking long ago, but the ravages of tobacco can affect the skin for a long time. Interestingly, antioxidants, especially fatty acids, can help undo damage from smoking. I also found plenty of evidence that smoking increases MMP levels — that’s matrix metalloproteinase-1, an enzyme that chops up proteins. As collagen is a kind of protein, increased MMP can lead to the its degradation, along with that of elastic fibers and proteoglycans. The same study also noted that reactive oxygen species are involved in tobacco smoke-induced premature skin aging. Scavengers of reactive oxygen species help to bring MMP down.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest product reviews and save 10% on all orders over $50

Knowing all of this means help is at hand, and Marta’s RX for Susan Sarandon would include anti-aging serums that tackle MMP and are brimming with fatty acids. Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Prime ($135) has (in addition to other hard-hitting anti-agers) has artichoke leaf extract (cynara scolymus), which actually limits the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). This is a great firming and wrinkle reducing cream even if you’ve never smoked. Dull smoker’s skin will brighten with Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin C Active Moisture Serum ($68 in the shop), which features fatty acid rich sea buckthorn oil and antioxidant green tea. Sevani Serum Vitale Essential Nutrient Oil($65 in the shop) is big on omega fatty acids with oils of olive, rosehip, argan and sea buckthorn. Evening primrose also has its share of fatty acids.

Catherine Keener and Dry Skin

Catherine KeenerThe major skincare concern of Catherine Keener, star of the upcoming movie Begin Again, is dryness. “Dry skin is what looks so bad,” she says. “You want to moisturize a lot, especially in bad weather.” Catherine Keener also has a puffy eye issue and has been known to use Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels. Unfortunately, it contains sodium hydroxide, which you might know as lye or caustic soda. Lovely. The CDC notes that “contact with the eye may produce pain and irritation and, in severe cases, clouding of the eye and blindness.”

Since Catherine Keener is always on the look out for a good moisturizer, I would recommend Benir Beauty BV Nine Platinum Anti-Aging Bee Venom Cream ($136 in the shop). This offers hydration plus some — the some being anti-aging with bee venom, copper peptides and coenzyme Q10. Hydration comes from hyaluronic acid, avocado oil and squalane. Benir Beauty BV Nine is most certainly Keener-worthy. Skyn Iceland Eye Gels do have the merit of an oxygen boosting ingredient. So too does the much better formulated M.A.D Skincare Eye Defense Shielding Serum ($60). It also has a cool peptide with a unique sequence that mimics the human body’s own mechanism to produce collagen via TGF-ß. Or Ms. Keener could stock up on what is — in my opinion — quite possibly the best firming eye cream ever, E’shee’s Alpha and Omega Gene Therapy Eye Cream ($284 in the shop). The cutting edge formula has FAR infrared ceramic powder, peptides and epidermal growth factor.

Keira Knightley and Acne

Keira KnightleyBegin Again co-star Keira Knightley admits that her flawless complexion is “part of the make-believe world of cinema” and that in reality, she battles breakouts. Her blemishes are so bad that she actually has acne scars. Her self-confessed solution is to cover up with makeup.

Adult acne can be kept under control and even banished with the right treatments and products. One of the best solutions is regular sessions with blue LED light. It helps fight acne due to blue light wavelengths that penetrate the skin and produce singlet oxygen, which can destroy acne-causing bacteria. Blue LED light is part of the Truth Renew system ($109 in the shop), along with red and green light and ultrasound.

Even more help is at hand with suki renewal bio-resurfacing facial peel ($82.95). This is an exfoliating glycolic mask that uses fruit enzymes to remove dead skin cells, minimizing the appearance of pores. It comes in gel form and can also be used as a spot treatment for blemishes. And there is nothing like epidermal growth factors for helping to fade scars and reduce any fine lines that Keira Knightley might also be dealing with. Medik8 Growth Factor ($160) uses Sh-Oligopeptide-1 as its EPG.


Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.

sign up for our newsletter