How to Treat Pre-Wedding Skin Care Concerns

Acne, rosacea, fine lines and wrinkles—whatever your worry, get a flawless complexion just in time for your big day

Updated 10/01/13

This content originally appeared as "Skin Solutions" in Brides magazine.

Todd Huffman

No one is immune to tricky skin conditions, not even a bride. On your wedding day, banish all thoughts of fine lines, acne, and dark spots with a little prep work and a few miracle products. Brides Beauty Director Dana Wood brought top beauty experts together to round up the best no-nonsense beauty products for brides-to-be: Clarisonic's Deep Pore Detoxifying brush and Boscia's Cool Blue Calming Mask just to name a few. Paired with helpful tips—staying out of the sun, cut back on the coffee and ditch alcohol all together—these secret weapons are all you need for a picture-perfect face on your big day.

Tip: Be label savvy. Items at the top of the ingredients list are the most potent. Watch for over-medicating!

Lancôme Absolue Sublime Oleo-Serum, $180; SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense, $80; Darphin Paris Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum, $88; Dr. Brandt Pore Thing with Evermat T-Zone Pore Tightener, $45; Olay Professional Pro-X Spot Fading Treatment, $45

Skin Concern: Acne

Todd Huffman

Blemishes aren't just for One Direction fans. Stress, a poor diet, and hormones can wreak havoc on an adult complexion.

The RX: You may be tempted to pile on the zit zappers. Don't. "Your skin isn't as oily as it was during your teenage years," says Nicholas Perricone, M.D., author of The Acne Prescription. "Drying products can just cause more problems." Swap salicylic-acid cleansers for gentle options like Cetaphil or CeraVe, and ask your derm to write you a prescription for Retin-A to decrease and prevent blemishes. (A pea-size amount coats your entire face.) Finish with a light gel moisturizer—yes, we said moisturizer. (Dry skin can trigger more pore-clogging oil.) Stubborn blemishes around the mouth may signal a hormonal imbalance and require oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or spironolactone.

Lifestyle Fixes: Two weeks before the big day, cut coffee, dairy, sugar, booze, and processed foods, and switch to a diet of salmon, organic lean meat, whole grains, fruit, veggies, and green tea. Top it off with 30 minutes of exercise per day, which helps cut stress. "What you eat makes all the difference," says Perricone. "An anti-inflammatory diet clears acne and decreases fine lines, pores, and puffiness so you ll look your best."

Must-Have Products: Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment, $9; Glam­­­glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment, $69

Skin Concern: Large Pores

Todd Huffman

Who knew? The oilier your skin, the bigger your pores.

The RX: Make them look smaller by unclogging them. Book an extraction with a facialist at least two months before the wedding, or use a Clarisonic at home. Exfoliate with a glycolic-acid cleanser and peel, which can be done monthly at the derm or at home with glycolic pads.

Lifestyle Fixes: Wash your face before and after workouts. Stay out of the sun; UV rays weaken collagen. And don't pop blemishes! Trauma stretches pores.

Must-Have Products: Clarisonic Deep Pore Detoxifying Solution, $169 (also comes with cleanser and mask); Perricone MD Intensive Pore Treatment, 75

Skin Concern: Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Todd Huffman

They can start creeping up in your 20s. But if you catch them now, they'll be much easier to reverse.

The RX: A mega multitasker, Retin-A blasts acne and counteracts and prevents wrinkles. "Use it for the rest of your life," says skin doc Jeffrey Dover. Not ready for the big guns? Opt for products with retinol, a less potent Retin-A derivative. Also seek out creams with vitamin C to boost collagen and gentle enzyme peels for dewy wedding-day skin.

Lifestyle Fixes: For extra plumping, gulp eight glasses of H20 a day and snack on antioxidant-rich fruits like melons and berries. Also, sleep on a satin pillow­case to prevent creasing.

Must-Have Products: Kiehl's Super Multi-Corrective Cream, $62; Restorsea Restoring Night Cream, $175; DDF Restoring Night Serum, $98

Skin Concern: Hyperpigmentation

Todd Huffman

It's bigger and splotchier than freckles and can appear after a single bad sunburn.

The RX: Ask your derm for hydroquinone 4% cream, or pick up OTC lightening products with kojic, ferulic, and azelaic acids. For a dramatic difference, try PicoSure, a laser that erases spots in three treatments, at least six months before the wedding. (Cost: From $400 per session.) BTW, it works on tattoos too.

Lifestyle Fixes: Wean yourself off birth-control pills. (They can darken discolorations.) And don't even think about a pre-wedding tanning session, unless you want dalmatian spots on your wedding day, says derm Zoe Draelos. "Sunscreen is super-important," Draelos adds. "Some spots lighten by themselves with sun protection."

Must-Have Products: Dior Diorsnow Anti-Spot Serum, $150; Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, $85

Skin Concern: Rosacea

Todd Huffman

Though the cause is unknown, the clusters of red bumps are exacerbated by stress and are most common in fair-skinned brides.

The RX: For long-lasting results, see a derm, who may recommend cleansing with a sulfur wash and treating with prescription Metrogel. Need something quicker? Look for OTC products with chlorophyll, willow herb, and chamomile.

Lifestyle Fixes: Avoid triggers such as hot showers and drinks, spicy foods, and booze. Scale back on huge cardio sessions the week before the wedding, and keep an ice pack on hand to chill your face during workouts. And be gentle! Apply foundation with a brush—it's less abrasive than using a sponge or your hands.

Must-Have Products: Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask, $34; It Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream, $32

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