Wedding day skincare surprises come in many shapes and forms. Whether it’s irritation from a new makeup product, a creeper blemish that decided to surface at the least opportune time, or a sneaky sunburn courtesy of an overcast beach day and (apparently) too few sunscreen applications, you could drive yourself mad trying to find a solution. To address last-minute skin fiascos that crop up on your big day, we tapped Avon consulting dermatologist Dr. Kim Nichols, BeautyRx founder Dr. Neal Schultz, and famed aesthetician and eponymous skincare founder Kate Somerville.
The Morning-of Fiasco: Monster Zit
Schultz notes that “it's unusual to wake up with a monster zit in the a.m. if there wasn't a forming tender pimple there the day before.” So pay attention to warning signs. He says that the real solution is to work on any and every pimple you have in the days before your wedding. His recommendation is to go directly to your dermatologist if you’re #blessed with an eruption the morning of to get it opened, drained and injected with cortisone. “That will do the most to improve it in the next 12 hours,” he explains. No derm available? “If it's a pus pimple with the pus forming into a head, clean the skin with alcohol, sterilize a needle and lightly prick the pus part, then apply pressure with 2 fingers on opposite sides of the zit to gently cause the pus to come out,” he advises. Then, apply ice immediately to prevent swelling. He suggests sparingly applying topical cortisone solely to the zit, and not your whole face, every hour or two. “In between those applications, apply a small amount of either egg whites, toothpaste, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or green tea extract,” he says. They all reduce swelling and/or inflammation and/or redness. “But don't overdo it,” he warns. “If you are too aggressive, you can cause more harm than good." Somerville recommends reducing inflammation by applying a powerful spot treatment like her EradiKate Treatment, and avoiding picking, if you can. “The day of your wedding, wrap an ice cube in a thin cloth or paper towel and rest it on the blemish for a few minutes,” she says. The ice will reduce the inflammation and redness. “You can also take an aspirin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that will help to temporarily reduce the swelling.”
Morning-of Fiasco: Puffy Eyes
Somerville’s favorite trick for de-puffing eyes is using green tea bags and chilled metal spoons. Just steep two bags of green tea in hot water and allow the bags time to cool, then lie down and place one bag over each eye. “The caffeine in the tea will help tighten the tissue, as well as reduce puffiness,” she says. Then place two spoons (that have been chilled in the fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes) over your eyes for about five minutes. “The cold metal will help depuff and reduce tired circles,” Somerville explains. She recommends massaging eye cream in with the chilled spoons, gently applying pressure outwards towards your temples. “This will take care of puffiness within 10 minutes,” she says.
Morning-of Fiasco: Under-eye Bags
What if you wake up with bags big enough to pack and take with you on your honeymoon? Nichols says to ice, ice, baby. “Just like with a swollen ankle, applying ice to your under eyes will minimize the appearance of tired, swollen eyes,” she says. And drink water: Tiredness and dehydration can cause under-eye bags. “Sometimes baggy eyes are caused from allergies, too, so be sure to take allergy relief medicine to minimize the amount of puffiness you might be experiencing,” Nichols advises.
Morning-of Fiasco: Flaky, Dry Skin
When your skin is dry, your skin appears dull—and who needs that? Somerville notes that exfoliation is key here. “Since the skin on the body is less delicate than skin on the face, you can leave your exfoliant on for longer,” she says. Apply your exfoliant with a synthetic hand scrubber glove and leave on for four minutes before rinsing off (she likes to exfoliate in the shower). Dry brushing is another great way to exfoliate the skin on your body, as it also helps with lymphatic drainage and circulation. “Dry brushing really roughs up the dead layer of your skin, so use an exfoliator with AHAs or enzymes after to fully dissolve and remove those dead skin cells. You can also use a wet cloth in the shower/bath to exfoliate,” says Somerville. If it’s facial skin that’s afflicted, Nichols recommends slathering up with a moisturizer like Avon’s Nutraeffects Active Seed Complex Hydration Daily Cream SPF15 and Gel Night Cream, or a hyaluronic acid, “to preserve the moisture your skin is producing for a fresher, more youthful appearance.”
Morning-of Fiasco: Sunburned Skin
Of course, you know the first rule of good skin is avoiding the sun, but if you somehow didn’t reapply your sunscreen as much as you should have, Schultz says to take one dose of 60 mg of prednisone (available without prescription at many nondomestic destination wedding sites) provided there are no medical contraindications (and you are not pregnant). Then, he says to apply milk and water compresses for 5-10 minutes every hour followed by topical cortisone or aloe vera. “Try to find green tinted primer to apply under your makeup to neutralize the red hues and color (of the sunburn),” he says. If it’s your body that’s afflicted, Nichols says to cool it down with cold water in a pool or shower for a few minutes to bring down the heat quickly. Then proceed to apply cold water compresses to the affected areas a few times during the day of the sunburn. “But do not apply ice directly to the sunburn because it can stick and burn the skin further,” she warns. Last, she says to drink a lot of extra water for the next couple of days to compensate for the dehydrating effect.
Morning-of Fiasco: Lack of Radiance
It’s all about steaming, exfoliating, hydrating, and moisturizing. Somerville recommends steaming in your shower or bath (you can use a hot warm washcloth and lay it over your face if in bath) to instantly bring moisture to your skin. “I tell my clients who travel a lot to steam as much as you can to bring the hydration back in,” she says. Then, exfoliate to slough off dead skin. “Dry skin is dead skin and you need to remove it to get that glow,” she says. One to try: Biore Charcoal Acne Scrub. Hydrate with a serum containing hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000 times its weight in water, like Skinceuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier. Then, moisturize to lock in hydration: We like DIY moisturizer kit Ktchn Apothecary, which uses a pure aloe base instead of water to hydrate.