Envisioning yourself walking down the aisle with glowing, clear skin? Flawless skin might be a priority for your big day (and not to mention the photos!), but the stress of last-minute planning and a few too many late night bachelor or bachelorette nights out might interfere with your flawless complexion.
Never fear: You can—and will!—look stunning when your wedding day rolls around. You just need a solid pre-wedding skincare routine in place to keep your skin in tip-top shape. Here’s how to get there.
To get your skin in tip-top shape for the wedding, it’s crucial to start early, says Lisa Tep, founder and esthetician at Sesen Spa in Vienna, Virginia. “Healthy, beautiful skin does not happen by accident. It's a conscious choice and it doesn't happen overnight.”
Start your skincare regimen early—ideally, at least six months before your wedding date, she recommends. “Treating certain conditions, like acne and pigmentation, can take many weeks and months to see desired results. Even when you're not treating or targeting these more complicated conditions, it can take some time to determine your ideal skincare regimen and to see ideal results.”
A skincare professional can direct you to the treatments and products your skin needs to look its best, Tep says. “It is downright daunting to sift through information on the latest technologies, treatments, ingredients, and product protocols. Researching these things all on your own generally leads to confusion and indecisiveness as you nail down your pre-wedding skincare. Find a professional—whether a dermatologist or skincare professional—who can help you navigate the sea of skincare choices,” she says.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow you to get all the treatments they suggest, you can request a (hopefully free) consultation and discuss which products and treatments are realistic before your big day. They can also recommend a daily skincare routine you can do at home based on your skin type.
Once you’ve decided on a daily routine and/or a series of skincare treatments, be sure to stay consistent, says Tep. “Now that you've committed to starting a program ahead of your wedding and you've lined up professional help, you need to stick with it,” she says. “A single facial treatment isn't going to solve all of your problems. Inconsistently following your routine is not going to get you any closer to your ideal results, either.”
You may be tempted to splurge on expensive skincare products before your big day, but the weeks before the wedding are not the time to try anything new. The key is to avoid any skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin. Instead, try to keep it simple, recommends Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist and CEO and founder of AmberNoon in Philadelphia. “If your skin is normally low maintenance, there is no need to go out and start a whole new routine,” she says. “ Keep it simple: Cleanse, treat, and protect with sunscreen. Use a mild cleanser to get rid of excess oil and makeup. Treat anything that is of concern like acne or discoloration with the regimen you discussed with your dermatologist. And, lastly, protect with a moisturizer and sunblock.”
Coordinating all of those last-minute details may send your stress level off the charts, but this can lead to breakouts, so try to find ways to decompress, says Anna Chacon, a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist. “I know of brides who are so stressed out that they break out into terrible rashes or acne right before their wedding,” she says. When things get overwhelming, she recommends pampering yourself with a spa day or a mani/pedi.
Your diet is just as important as the products you put on your skin, so try to keep it clean. “What you eat can affect your skin, so eat a healthy balanced diet and stay hydrated,” says Ilyas. “Foods with a high glycemic index can trigger inflammation resulting in acne and rosacea. Avoid crash dieting as it can affect your skin and hair. Skin can look sunken and lose its glow when you restrict your diets.”
If you do end up with a breakout right before the wedding, don’t panic. “Keep your dermatologist’s number on speed dial,” says Ilyas. “I tell my patients as they plan their wedding to keep us in the loop and make sure we know when the big day is. There are a number of ‘rescues’ we have up our sleeves to make sure you look great for your big day.”
Looking for more pre-wedding beauty tips? Visit Zola’s Expert Advice.