Fans of Keeping Up With The Kardashians will recognize Dr Simon Ourian. He has appeared on the show on many occasions as the sisters frequent Epione, his Beverly Hills clinic. He also treats Lady Gaga, Christie Brinkley, Olivia Culpo and many more high-profile clients who aren’t as open about their facial treatments, and is one of the most famous dermatologists in the world, with 3.5 million followers and counting on social media. (Join them and enjoy his quite mesmerizing before and after photographs.)
I’m speaking to him as he launches his skincare line, MDO, exclusively on Cult Beauty, a few years after it landed in the US. Of course, this isn’t his bread and butter – he is best known for his injectables, laser treatments and bum lifts – but he is emphatic that there is no such thing as good skin without an effective skincare regime. “It’s like building a house. You need to have the structure of the house, with the walls beautifully plastered – the last step is nice decoration,” he says. “Skincare is the paint on the house. Unless you paint the walls nicely, the house isn’t going to look gorgeous.”
His definition of beautiful skin is healthy skin. Injectables, he says, while useful, don’t often drastically improve the quality of the skin surface, so it’s important not to rely solely on them. MDO, which he created to cater the needs of both his clients and those who might like a piece of the Epione pie at a more accessible price, is designed to “bring the skin back to health”.
“The job of good skincare is to be targeted, and luckily we have the technology to do that now at home,” he says. “Environmental factors, bad diets and different stresses that we put on our skin, all shows.” He and his fellow doctors have seen demand for acne treatments and solutions to other skin issues skyrocket in the last year, due to the use of protective face masks and increased stress levels in the pandemic.
As well as a gentle cleanser, which contains an anti-stress complex made up of ginger and bisabolol, the line includes a glow-boosting serum (with hyaluronic acid, cotton thistle and panthenol, it is soothing and hydrating), and a few different seven-day ampoule kits. It’s here where the magic really happens. The Powerful EGF Ampoules are excellent for lifting and firming the skin, as the formula “creates a matrix underneath the skin – if you have a little bit of a jowl or some droopiness, or simply need a lift, this is the right treatment for you”. The “momager” herself – Kris Jenner – has praised the line on her Instagram Stories.
The Vitamin C Glow Ampoules are another of his top recommendations, because they work hard to even out skin discoloration, soften fine lines and address sun damage. “They give you a gentle micro-peeling effect each day,” he says. These kits are both targeted and transformative, and make light work of getting ready for an event or occasion – or just a quick glow up, no questions asked. The skincare line has filled a Dr Ourian-shaped hole for many of his clients, particularly the international ones (he has fans from Europe to the Middle East), who weren’t able to travel to see him during various lockdowns.
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As for aesthetics, what does he think is going to be big this year? “Facial contouring is huge, particularly after many of us have gained a little lockdown weight and our necks have become heavier,” he says. “Nowadays we can create cheekbones, make the face look slimmer, and get rid of the excess fat in the neck and face via non-surgical methods. We use ultrasound and radiofrequency treatments and fillers to create cheekbones, jawlines and enhance the chin.” The beauty ideal now is to have a face that looks athletic – even if you don’t work out.
Many of us struggle with the amount of behind the scenes tweaking that often goes into many of the looks we’re presented with on social media, but Dr Ourian is clear that honesty is important. Not only does he credit celebrities’ (the Kardashians and Lisa Vanderpump included) willingness to document or share the treatments they’ve had from him, which in part has led to his enormous social media following, he also thinks it’s important in order to ensure the industry is offering a safe service.
“I remember 30 years ago when my mom went to get highlights, she was encouraged not to tell anyone – it was a big secret – but now everyone gets highlights. Talking about the treatments you get done is a rite of passage, and a way to normalise them,” he says. “I’m not a big believer in doing everything you can under the sun to look like a cartoon version of yourself, but maintaining your looks in a very healthy way – and ensuring you go to the right places that use FDA-approved products that are tested and safe – that is powerful.”
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk