How to Embrace Acne On Your Wedding Day

Feel comfortable in your skin—blemishes and all—on your wedding day. Expert tips for embracing your acne on your wedding day and taking care of your skin.

By Deanna deBara

couple gets married outside
Photo by Thais Photography

Most people deal with blemishes, breakouts, and acne issues at some point or another. And if you’re one of those people, there’s no need to hide your skin—and that includes on your wedding day. Let’s take a look at all-things adult acne—where it comes from, how to take care of your skin, and how to embrace acne on your wedding day.

Adult acne: What’s the deal?

Chances are, you thought you’d leave your breakouts behind after high school graduation—which only makes it all the more baffling when you continue to have acne well into your 20s, 30s, or beyond.

“We definitely see that adult female acne is getting more common,” says Dr. Aimee Paik, Monterey, CA-based dermatologist and Medical Director of Apostrophe.

So, what’s the deal with adult acne?

We wish we could tell you there was a single culprit behind your post-adolescent breakouts—but apparently, there are a number of different factors that could be at play. According to Paik, there are a variety of reasons you might be dealing with acne in adulthood, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Diet and nutrition
  • General skin woes (like an oily skin type, which tends to deal more with clogged pores—and the accompanying blemishes)
INLINE MikaelaHamiltonPhotography 1080x720 Peter&Emily Photo Credit // Mikaela Hamilton Photography

How To Care For Your Skin Before Your Wedding

If you want your skin to look and feel it’s best on your big day—regardless of whether you’re dealing with a breakout—you need to take care of it. Here’s how to care for your skin in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your wedding.

Three Months Before Your Wedding

“If you want to start some sort of skincare regimen or treatments, I would give it at least three months … to really see the full benefit of any treatment,” Paik says.

If you want to start a regimen that targets your acne, that’s totally fine—just make sure that you don’t go overboard.

“So if you're going to be using acne medication [or products], you don’t want to use everything [formulated] for acne,” says Paik. “Don’t use an acne cleanser, an acne moisturizer, an acne medication, and acne lotion afterward, because that can be way too irritating.”

Balance active ingredients with soothing ones.

Instead of attacking your acne with harsh, drying ingredients (which isn’t exactly giving your skin the TLC it needs to look and feel it’s best on your big day), balance more active ingredients with soothing ingredients that calm inflammation (like chamomile or aloe). Paik recommends “focusing on a few [products, medications, or] ingredients that are effective and then just gentle skincare products to support those.”

With that one-two punch of active and soothing ingredients, you can calm and treat your skin at the same time—and rock your best complexion come your wedding day.

And if you don’t want to mess around with any acne-fighting products at all, that’s totally fine too! Just focus on giving your skin plenty of TLC, keeping it hydrated, and using soothing ingredients to calm any inflammation.

One Month Before Your Wedding

The month leading up to your wedding can be a stressful one—and that stress can 100% show up on your skin.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, it’s important to really focus on giving your body what it needs to function and feel its best—because the better your lifestyle choices, the better your skin. “To really focus on a healthy lifestyle, I think that really does translate into your skin,” Paik says.

Focus on whole foods and hydration.

No matter how many to-do’s you have on your wedding checklist the month before your wedding, make sure to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Drink lots of water. Try to keep stress to a minimum, eat nutritious foods that are going to make your skin look and feel its best.

“You want to focus on foods that are not processed. Foods that we know are healthy—fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean protein, things that don't come out of packages and that are real food. Foods that take longer to digest, things that have a lot of fiber,” Paik says. “All those things lead to less inflammation in our body and less inflammation in our skin and, I think, also play a role in acne.”

Make self-care a priority the month before your wedding. Your skin will thank you for it!

One Week Before The Wedding

If you want your skin to feel it’s best on your wedding day, the week before is when you need to start kicking your healthy lifestyle changes into high gear.

“We know that sugar leads to inflammation so you want to avoid heavily processed food,” Paik says. “White bread, white fries, sugary drinks, sodas, candy, things like that that really quickly get metabolized into sugar … absolutely causes [acne].”

You also want to make sure to stick to your tried-and-true skincare routine. No new products, treatments, or DIY masks. “You don't want to try something new that week before your wedding … because you might have a reaction to it and then it's kind of too late,” Paik says.

One Day Before The Wedding

There are 24 hours left until your wedding—and, at this point, whatever breakouts you have are likely going to be there for the big day. So embrace the skin you’re in. Your skin is flawless exactly the way it is and it’s going to look flawless when you walk down that aisle. Before you go to sleep, use a gentle cleanser; layer on a hydrating, soothing moisturizer; and call it a night.

Don’t pick!

One thing you definitely don’t want to do before you hit the hay? Try to “pop” your pimples or pick at your blemishes. Not only is this completely ineffective, but it can also cause a host of issues for your wedding makeup artist (or yourself, if you’re going the DIY route).

“Don't pick at your face, because if you pick at those blemishes they're going to get scabs—and the worst thing in the world is trying to cover a scab with makeup,” says Boston-based makeup artist Liz Fuller. “The makeup will cling to the scab and it will be more obvious.”

INLINE KampWeddings 1080x720 Brittany&Dean Photo Credit // Kamp Weddings

Wedding Makeup Tips For Acne

On your wedding day, you want your makeup to enhance your skin—not cover it up with layers of foundation. If you have acne on your wedding day, here are a few expert tips to get a flawless coverage when you walk down the aisle—no cakey foundation or concealer required.

Play up your eyes.

If you’ve got hormonal acne, it’s typically clustered towards the bottom of your face. If you don’t want to call attention to your breakout, “Play up your eyes,” Fuller says. “Then, attention can be drawn upward and away from those parts of your face.”

Conceal the right way.

Trying to hide your acne with too much concealer actually has the opposite effect, making your blemishes more noticeable. There is a way to get some coverage without caking on the concealer.

Fuller recommends using a concealer that’s slightly lighter than your skin tone. Then, with a concealer brush, gently tap the product onto the blemish towards the edges of the redness and inflammation. (Make sure to tap in the product and not rub, which can further irritate the skin.)

Once you’ve applied the concealer, grab a flat brush and gently tap some powder on top to set the concealer and lock in your coverage for the day. The result? Long-lasting coverage that looks flawless and natural.

Get a bare-faced look (without going completely bare-faced).

If you truly want to embrace your skin and acne on your wedding day and rock a bare-faced look? GO FOR IT. But Fuller doesn’t recommend going completely makeup-free. “I do recommend that [the bride] … put something on to even out their skin.” For bare-faced brides, Fuller recommends a BB or CC cream, which has a more lightweight finish than a traditional foundation and will help neutralize any redness and give you a bit of coverage without looking like you’re wearing a ton of makeup.

Rock a glowy—not oily—look.

A lot of times, acne goes hand-in-hand with oily skin. But you can still rock a dewy glow without looking too shiny. Instead of layering on powder, Fuller recommends using a light dusting of translucent powder just over the T-Zone (your forehead, nose, and chin). This will help keep oil under control without giving your entire face a matte look.

Acne on your wedding day or no acne—when you walk down the aisle, you want to love the skin you’re in. And now that you know how to take care of your skin for the big day, you have everything you need to embrace your acne and rock your gorgeous complexion at your wedding.