In the two-month countdown to married bliss, there’s what feels like an insurmountable list of of to-do’s. But amidst hunting down delinquent RSVP’s and finalizing floral arrangements, many brides forget to start getting serious about their skin-care prep. Every bride wants to glow on her big day, but you can’t rely on strobing and concealer to do all the work.
Here’s the big thing to keep in mind that most brides-to-be miss: Whatever skin-care issue that is plaguing you right now is highly unlikely to go away on its own in a month or even two. Lotions and potions need time to do their job, but they also will only go so far in correcting skin problems like blemishes, redness, and sun damage.
“Ideally, you really want to start focusing on skin care 9-12 months before the big day because some treatments can take months to work,” says NYC Cosmetic Dermatologist Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology.
We asked her to share her guide to uncovering your most radiant complexion when that veil is lifted up. And the good news is these tips do wonders for all skin, not just those prepping for a major life moment. Read on for her recommended pre-bridal protocol two months, one month, one week, and one day out.
If You Have: Acne-Prone/Oily Skin
Shah says that at two months pre-wedding, you should schedule a consult with a board-certified dermatologist to devise a strategy. However, you need to keep your expectations realistic, as many acne treatments will not totally clear up your skin in that time period. That said, Shah says to look for proven acne-fighting ingredients to help you on your path to erasing those blemishes. Tea tree oil is an excellent natural option, which is why we recommend Leegeehaam Tea Tree 90 Essence, which is super lightweight while soothing and hydrating for sensitive or troubled skin. Layer it under your moisturizer to fight acne bacteria without stripping your skin of moisture.
Shah also says to talk to your dermatologist about professional cosmetic treatments for acne, such as laser and light treatments and chemical peels. “These treatments may work faster than medical treatments [like prescription creams],” she says. She also recommends adding in a retinoid and a vitamin C serum, along with a cleanser that can help balance the oils in your skin. A hydrator like Leegeehaam Hope 5A Control Cream moisturizes skin while imparting vitamin C.
One month out, Shah suggests a follow-up appointment with your dermatologist to see your progress and to continue with in-office chemical peels or laser treatments as needed.
The week of, check in with your dermatologist for a steroid shot to shrink up any lingering pimples. She says a gentle resurfacing laser like the Clear and Brilliant will give the skin a more radiant appearance approximately 10 days before the big day.
The night before, it’s all about a spot treatment to address any active acne, she says. “Other tips to reduce redness include over-the-counter hydrocortisone, Visine, and an ice cube,” she says. Finally, have a mask to balance oil in your arsenal to use the night before. One to try: Lindsay Modeling Rubber Mask in Charcoal.
If You Have: Combination/Normal Skin
Two months out, Shah says to start optimizing your skincare routine and finding products that work for you. Like those with acneic skin, she recommends adding a retinoid and a vitamin C serum to your regimen.
Approximately 10 days before your ceremony she recommends a Clear and Brilliant treatment to give the skin a more radiant appearance, same as for those with oily/acne-prone skin.
The night before, Shah says to use a mask to brighten, hydrate, tone, and clarify skin. We like Make P:Rem Comfort Me Air Sheet Mask, which nourishes your complexion as it calms, thanks to Nordic berry extract and chamomile.
If You Have: Dry Skin
Two months out, Shah says to start optimizing your skin care and finding products that work for you and to add in a vitamin C serum. “Consider a retinoid, but if your skin is more sensitive use an AHA-containing product instead,” she says, as retinoids may irritate or cause redness.
The week of, she again suggests a Clear and Brilliant treatment (clearly Dr. Shah is a fan) to give the skin a more radiant appearance, again doing the treatment exactly 10 days before the big day. “For stubborn dry areas, use a rich occlusive moisturizer [read: one that traps moisture in the skin],” she says. A hydrating nighttime mask like ID.AZ. CU-V Tension Sleeping Pack tightens and smooths facial lines overnight thanks to white mulberry and marigold extracts to refine skin texture.
Heed these tips and hopefully the biggest drama you’ll have to deal with is making sure your seating arrangement doesn’t cause a family feud. You’re on your own for that one.
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