It's T-minus one month to your wedding, and you're still dealing with acne?!? Help is here. New York City dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf reveals her zit-zapping action plan to get a clear complexion by the big day.
30 days before your wedding
See a dermatologist. "Your acne could be caused by a bunch of different issues — like stress, hormonal acne, diet, or the wrong skincare regime," Graf says. A pro can figure out what's making you break out, and can prescribe the right routine to fix it in time for your wedding. In the meantime, get your skin-care routine under control. Look for products specifically formulated for adult skin, which tends to be less oily, Graf says. Her pick: Benzac Complete Acne Solution Regimen Kit ($36, available at Drugstore.com), which is formulated with East Indian sandalwood oil, a soothing anti-inflammatory. If your routine has been leaving your face red and stinging, switch to a sensitive-skin acne system, like AcneFree ($10, available at Amazon). "And don't forget to remove your makeup every night and wash your face in the morning," Graf says. "Buildup of dirt and oil is the easiest way to keep acne from disappearing."
See More: How to Treat Pre-Wedding Skin Concerns
3 weeks before
A gentle in-office chemical peel or exfoliation treatment like DermaSweep (about $125 per treatment) can go a long way in reducing acne and evening your skin tone, Dr. Graf says. But don't make an appointment any later than this—it can sometimes take skin weeks to recover. Or try a home treatment like Glytone Mini-Peel gel ($38.23, available at Amazon), which exfoliates skin with a potent dose of glycolic acid.
2 weeks before
Overhaul your diet. Processed food, alcohol, sugar, and dairy can all contribute to acne, Graf says. Your best bet for a clear-skin diet? A Mediterranean diet with plenty of greens and brightly-colored fruits and vegetables (think tomatoes, carrots and peppers).
The week of your wedding
If you're dealing with any big, painful zits right before your wedding, head to the derm for a cortisol shot. (They'll make the blemish disappear in just a day or two!) And never, ever pick!