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's former beauty director Dana Wood brought top beauty experts together to round up the best no-nonsense beauty products for brides-to-be. Paired with helpful tips—stay out of the sun, cut back on the coffee, and ditch alcohol altogether—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!
Absolue Revitalizing Oléo-Serum
SHOP NOW: Lancôme, $200
Blemish + Age Defense
SHOP NOW: SkinCeuticals, $92
Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum
SHOP NOW: Darphin Paris, from $90
pores no more® PORE EFFECT
SHOP NOW: Dr. Brandt, $55
ProX Spot Fading Treatment
SHOP NOW: Olay, was $53.49, now $40.12
Skin Concern: Acne
Blemishes aren't just for One Direction fans. Stress, a poor diet, and hormones can wreak havoc on an adult complexion.
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.
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."
Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel
SHOP NOW: Neutrogena, available at Amazon, $6.84
Super-Mud Clearing Treatment
SHOP NOW: Glamglow, $59
Skin Concern: Large Pores
Who knew? The oilier your skin, the bigger your pores.
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.
Wash your face before and after workouts. Stay out of the sun; UV rays weaken collagen. And don't pop blemishes! Trauma stretches pores.
Mia Smart Anti-Aging and Cleansing Skincare Device
SHOP NOW: Clarisonic, $169
Deep Pore Brush Head
SHOP NOW: Clarisonic, $27
Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner
SHOP NOW: Perricone MD, $45
Skin Concern: Fine Lines & Wrinkles
They can start creeping up in your 20s. But if you catch them now, they'll be much easier to reverse.
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.
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.
Super Multi-Corrective Cream
SHOP NOW: Kiehl's, $65
Restoring Night Cream
SHOP NOW: Restorsea, $175
Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
SHOP NOW: DDF, $85
Skin Concern: Hyperpigmentation
It's bigger and splotchier than freckles and can appear after a single bad sunburn.
Ask your derm for hydroquinone 4 percent 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 (it costs from $400 per session.) BTW, it works on tattoos, too.
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."
Diorsnow Essence of Light Brightening Milk Serum
SHOP NOW: Dior, $140
Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution
SHOP NOW: Dr. Dennis Gross, $88
Skin Concern: Rosacea
Though the cause is unknown, the clusters of red bumps are exacerbated by stress and are most common in fair-skinned brides.
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.
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.
Matcha Magic Super-Antioxidant Mask
SHOP NOW: Boscia, $38
Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream
SHOP NOW: IT Cosmetics, $34
This content originally appeared as "Skin Solutions" in Brides magazine.