Everything to Know About the Rise of Bridal "Tweakments"

From lasers to fillers, non-surgical procedures are more popular than ever.

Gif of lips, eyes, and nose

Design by Cristina Cianci

There is absolutely no shame in wanting to look and feel your best for your wedding. Many people tap dermatologists, surgeons, and other professionals for procedures that promise a dewy complexion and a bit of face-sculpting for their big day. And, it makes total sense—weddings are about making memories and capturing special moments for years to come.

In fact, it's an increasingly common part of wedding preparation. A study done by online cosmetic procedure resource RealSelf showed a 30% increase in people considering cosmetic procedures as part of their wedding plans in 2019 alone.

But, it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to begin, especially if this is your first treatment—after all, it is one of the most photographed days of your life. Understandably, many brides and grooms don't want to take any chances with a big cosmetic change. As a result, a growing number of people are considering getting "tweakments" before their nuptials, as opposed to surgical options with drastic results and long recovery times. Read on for expert opinions on the matter, as well as the most popular procedures people consider ahead of their weddings.

What Are Tweakments?

Maybe you're new to the world of cosmetic procedures, or perhaps you're just hoping to look extra amazing (but still like yourself) on your big day. That's where "tweakments" come in. The term, coined for little adjustments that help sculpt the face for a natural-looking effect, represents a growing area of dermatology and plastic surgery that requires little downtime and still delivers noticeable results.

"A tweakment is a small procedure to help enhance your beauty," says New York City-based plastic surgeon and founder of Doft Plastic Surgery, Dr. Melissa Doft. "They are small procedures with a fast recovery or no recovery to help make you look better without a major change."

When Should I Start My "Tweakment" Prior to a Wedding?

Tweakments are definitely safe to undergo before your wedding, but it's important to give yourself plenty of time—just in case results don't turn out exactly the way you had expected. New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Dara Liotta, MD, FACS suggests making a plan for your "bridal skin boot camp" with your doctor six months out for the best outcome.

"Starting your skin boot camp three to six months prior to your wedding gives you plenty of time to see how your skin reacts to each treatment so that the intensity can be either ramped up or down to produce maximally effective and perfectly predictable results for you on your wedding day," Dr. Liotta tells us. She also says that these require little to no downtime so that you won't miss a beat with wedding planning.

"This type of plan is less risky, allowing you to achieve the same or superior results gradually by stacking the right treatments at the appropriate intervals," she says.

But, if you're looking to receive more high-impact procedures, like laser treatments or a deep chemical peel to "kick start" your bridal skin boot camp, Dr. Liotta recommends scheduling those appointments at least six months out. Some of them "require significant healing time, and may cause pigment irregularities, or excessive dryness or redness during the healing period."

What Are the Best Tweakments for Pre-Wedding Prep?

There are many procedures out there, and it can be overwhelming to pick from the extensive list. We've broken down the "tweakments" that are commonly tapped for wedding prep, what their results look like, and when to receive them.

It's also worth noting that finding an experienced doctor you trust is imperative when considering any procedure or tweakment. Dr. Doft also suggests looking for a board-certified practitioner with a similar aesthetic to your own, so you can ensure that you'll be happy with the results. Make sure to scroll through their website and Instagram page for photos of their work.

Medical IPL

According to Dr. Liotta, Medical IPL, or intense pulsed light, uses "special filters to erase imperfections below the surface of the skin." She says it's a great first step to achieving dream skin for your big day. If you're prone to acne, she also suggests adding on a SkinTyte treatment at the end of every session to help shrink pores.

VI Peels

A peel is a great second step to prepping your skin. According to Dr. Liotta, a peel can encourage skin cell turnover, as well as "replace dry, damaged skin cells at the skin surface" to reveal "brand new, perfect, skin on its surface."

Dr. Doft agrees that a VI peel is an ideal treatment to "perfect to brighten your complexion before the wedding." She suggests starting these treatments three to fourth months before an event and receiving a series of three treatments one month apart.

Botox

Ah, Botox. While this procedure has garnered attention for years, there's a slew of benefits and applications for the treatment that you might not know about. Of course, it can eliminate fine lines and deep wrinkles (even those pesky "11" lines and crows feet). But, according to Dr. Liotta, you can also use it to make some subtle changes that will make a big difference, especially in photos.

For example, Liotta says that a Botox brow lift can open up your eyes and make them look larger. Always tap your plastic surgeon to discuss your desired effects with this treatment—you might be surprised at what changes can be made with little-to-no recovery time.

Filler

Full, prominent lips are probably what come to mind when you hear the word "filler." And while filler can create the perfect pout, there are actually several other applications. According to Dr. Liotta, a strategically placed filler can help to erase shadows on your face and make for more flattering photos.

In fact, Dr. Liotta says that filler and Botox often work well together. So much so that the surgeon created and trademarked a treatment (which she calls LitLift) that combines filler and Botox to highlight your face in all the right places—and eliminate those shadows and dark spots that you might notice in photos.

Liposuction

Liposuction also has several uses—and not just in the areas you might think. Sure, liposuction will reduce body fat and contour your frame. But, according to Dr. Doft, it can also help shape your jawline. Dr. Doft suggests receiving liposuction under your chin six weeks before the wedding if that's an area you're trying to target. And, if you're opting to receive the treatment on your body, she recommends starting six months out.

Fraxis Pro Laser

According to Dr. Liotta, this laser treatment combines a fractional CO2 laser and radiofrequency microneedling to treat all layers of the skin. "The treatment is powerful enough to improve the look of scarring, wrinkles, and even stretch marks, while also perfecting skin tone and texture, and promoting the formation of new collagen," she adds.

Microneedling

Microneedling is a great addition to your bridal skin boot camp. Dr. Doft recommends starting these treatments six months before the big day to "reduce pores, fine lines and improve texture."

Liquid Rhinoplasty

If you're looking for a change in your profile but not interested in going under the knife, liquid rhinoplasty can help give you the same effect for your wedding photos. Dr. Liotta says this can be done with filler to create a straighter and more defined nose.

How Can I Maintain My Tweakments Leading Up to the Wedding?

Just like with anything else, it's all about maintenance. You can keep your skin fresh leading up to your wedding in several ways. For starters, implementing an effective (and consistent!) skincare routine will definitely help improve and maintain your skin's appearance.

Dr. Liotta says everyone should have a regimen that includes active ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. These are the holy grails of skincare, and they will help to "plump, brighten, and minimize discolorations," as well as maintain the tweakments you've had done. She notes that you need to give skincare a consistent three months of use to see real results.

Dr. Doft says you can also refresh filler and Botox one month out from the wedding day. But it's still important to receive the treatments further out initially to ensure that you're satisfied with the results.

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