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Posted at 5:53 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Models so young they still have pimples

By Katherine Boyle

At Charlotte Ronson's Saturday evening show, if you could look past the torn stockings and homage to all things Kate Moss, you'd have seen something equally undesirable: the seemingly pimply skin of teens walking in her show.

Maybe the blemishes were an artistic choice for Ronson. Surely, New York Fashion Week doesn't have acne!

Upon further investigation though, there were noticeable concealed blemishes, pimples and zits (oh my!) on models walking around Lincoln Center all week. Still gorgeous and godlike they were, but with a few imperfections that would make onlookers remember that like ABBA standard, these girls are young and sweet, some not even seventeen.

Many of the top models of the moment like Dutch model Daphne Groeneveld and American Lindsey Wixson started walking the catwalks before they could drive to castings (They're both 16). For these young models, blemishes are and should be a natural occurrence. With the average age of models at New York Fashion Week being anywhere from 17 to 22, it makes sense that walking in multiple shows each day would be disastrous for teenage skin. Stripping the skin of matte foundation multiple times a day can cause serious irritation on top of those raging hormones all teens, even models, are assumed to have.

It's funny to remember that if these girls weren't headlining New York Fashion Week, they'd still be in high school, roaming malls and starring in Clean &Clear commercials. Surely, these teens get breakouts, right?

Backstage at Custo Barcelona, no one wants to "out" an imperfect runway model. It'd be like a banker saying he sometimes (accidentally) moves the decimal point.

"All models have perfect skin," said Maybelline makeup artist Katie Mellinger.

Of course. But what happens if they're having a really bad day?

"Well, normally applying a full base does the trick. Then, we'll spot treat the breakouts," said Mellinger. "The guys have more problems though. I just had to do a full base on a 23 year-old guy because his face was so irritated."

Irritated. It sounds more employable than pimply.

Mellinger admits that the makeup remover and constant application and removal of base causes irritation, rashes and breakouts. "By the end of the week, you start seeing blemishes. The process is hard on all types of skin."

Backstage, a host of models, male and female, sit in chairs, waiting to perfected by Gato Zamora, the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York at Custo Barcelona. "The complexion is key. Nothing else matters if the skin doesn't look perfect."

Gato makes it perfect, applying bronzers in a heart-shaped movement around the eyes. Up close, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single pore on Jasmine Poulton, a 21 year-old blonde model from England who claims she never had a problem with pimples.

"By the end of the week, I'll start seeing a little eczema on my eyelids, but I've never had problems with breakouts. Oh, but this poor girl last season, her skin was so irritated they had to medicate her. Some girls do get really bad reactions."

At least pimply-faced youth isn't wasted on models.

By Katherine Boyle  | February 15, 2011; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Fashion  
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