The scenario: You're a full-fledged adult who's about to get married, but you're still breaking out like a teenager. How is that possible, you ask? We're unearthing several culprits (and solutions) you might not have thought of yet. So, instead of covering up with loads of concealer on your wedding day, you can show off your natural bridal glow. Here's what may be causing you to break out before your wedding, and what you can do to fix it.
Not Staying Loyal to Products
If you're constantly trying the newest life-changing potions, you're not allowing enough time for any of them to work. (For example, it takes three months to see results from a retinoid.)
The Fix: "Stay simple—the less, the better," says dermatologist Diane Berson, MD. Wash with a derm-approved cleanser followed by retinol and a light moisturizer. If you're still getting blemishes, at least you know they're not product related.
A Hormonal Imbalance
This can be caused by stress, weight fluctuations, and changing birth control. The upside? It's easy to tell whether blemishes are hormonally induced: They appear on the lower cheeks, jawline, chin, and neck, Berson says.
The Fix: If stress is the issue (you are, after all, planning a wedding), make sure to relax and get eight hours of sleep per night. Twenty minutes of daily exercise can also stabilize hormones. If you're starting birth control, do so at least three months before your wedding date. Hormones will even out when you hit the three-month mark and the pill will reduce breakouts, Berson says. Another trick? Binge on Vitamin B (brown rice is a great source)—it fights stress and regulates hormones.
Overdrying Your Skin
If you're well versed in the acne-fighting powers of retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide, you're on the right track. Using them until your skin flakes off, however, is indulging in too much of a good thing. "Overdrying compromises your skin's barrier, and acne flares when the moisture barrier is lost," Berson says. (Pro tip: Using benzoyl peroxide on top of a retinoid lessens its effectiveness.)
The Fix: Keep on using (not abusing) them. Listen to your skin. If it's too dry to endure a retinoid every night, cut back to a couple of times per week. Also, you're only supposed to use a pea-size amount for your entire face. Anything more can make your complexion red, itchy, dry, and sensitive.
They're not only bad for your figure—they also wreak havoc on your skin. Sugar and anything processed spikes insulin levels, which leads to increased oil production, which leads to clogged pores, which leads to—yep, you guessed it—acne (and bacne!).
The Fix: Stick to an anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic diet in the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, organic poultry, and fish. On that note, your skin is an indicator of what's going on inside your body, so pay attention. "If you notice a synchronization between the foods you eat and acne flares, decrease them in your diet," Berson says.
Not Washing Your Pillowcase and Makeup Brushes
Oils and bacteria accumulate and become a breeding ground for acne; ditto when you use the same towel to dry your hair and face after showering.
The Fix: Use separate towels for your hair and body, and wash your makeup brushes and pillowcase at least once a week. Bonus points if you sleep on satin; the slippery fabric will prevent those unattractive sleep lines. Speaking of cleansing, washing your hands before washing your face is a must—just think of all of those germs your hands accumulate by the end of the day.