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How to get your skin wedding-ready

Peak wedding season might be drawing to a close just about now, however if you're getting married in the next few months like me or if you're beginning to make preparations for a wedding next Spring or Summer, this is the perfect time to start thinking about getting your skin ready for your big day too. Breakouts, pigmentation and redness can take several months to bring under control even in the best hands so consulting a Dermatologist earlier rather than later can be critical. If you're hoping for even skin tone, silky smooth skin and a juicy glow, remember to allow time for your skincare routine to take effect and factor in some downtime or bedding in if little tweaks and procedures are also needed for that extra boost.

In the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd give you my top 10 tips for radiant wedding skin so that the only thing that can go wrong at the last minute is the weather! The first 5 are below and I'll be adding the others same time next week:

1. Plan ahead. It is not unusual for women who have battled with problem skin for years to finally pluck up the courage to seek expert advice when their wedding is just around the corner. Breakouts, scarring, pigmentation and redness are the most common reasons for brides to book an appointment, panicked about how their skin might behave on the day and how they will look in their photos. I always do the best that I can to get them to where they want to be with whatever time we still have available, however really getting on top of any of these problems can take 6 (or even 12) months in some cases, so the earlier you plan for it, the better your chances of having clear skin on your big day.

2. Get your skincare routine right. We all want a glowing complexion and to look healthy and rested when we appear for the first time before our family and friends. Sadly, many of us get carried away in the beauty aisles and end up with skin that is congested and confused as a result of fussy, overcomplicated skincare routines. Keep it simple and stick to a few key products that contain proven active ingredients.

3. Wash your face morning and night with a cleanser containing AHAs or BHAs to exfoliate the surface of your skin and revive a dull, lacklustre complexion. Glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid prevent a build-up of dead skin cells leading to a smoother texture and a brighter skin tone. They also prepare your skin for the next steps in your routine by improving how effectively ingredients are absorbed.

4. Apply an antioxidant serum to your face, neck and the front of your chest every morning after cleansing. Antioxidants, for example vitamin C, neutralise free radicals from UV rays and city pollution which destroy our collagen leading to loss of skin firmness and elasticity.

5. Use an SPF30+ sun protection moisturiser every morning. This prevents pigmentation from becoming even more blotchy and noticeable. Skin lightening serums containing kojic acid or niacinamide can be added to your routine to help even your skin tone and fade dark marks.

6. Booking in for a course of chemical peels can supercharge your skin by giving an extra boost of brightness and radiance. Dark spots, acne scars and fine lines can all be targeted. Allow a few days post-peel for redness, dryness and peeling after your treatment when you may feel less presentable. Remember that peels shouldn’t be attempted in sunny weather as they can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. For this reason, it is important to start planning treatment in September or October if your wedding is the following Spring or Summer. 

7. Use a retinol cream at night to get rid of blackheads, tighten pores and reduce fine lines. These take 3-6 months to demonstrate an obvious effect, but it keeps getting better the longer they are used so it is vital to start early and persevere. For even more dramatic results, particularly if you also have scarring from old acne spots, a course of medical needling can be considered. This uses a very fine needle to make microscopic punctures into the skin that stimulate your cells to produce more collagen. Pores are refined, fine lines are softened and scars appear more shallow. Treatments are performed at 4 - 6 weekly intervals over a 6 to 8 month period so this is another one to plan well in advance. It is mildly uncomfortable, but definitely tolerable when you consider the potential benefits. Your skin is likely to be pink after each session, a bit like a mild sunburn, but this tends to completely settle over the following 24 - 48 hours.

8. If you’re worried about dark circles or tired eyes, pick an eye cream containing vitamin K oxide to banish sunken shadows or peptides to plump crepey skin.

9. In the last few weeks before your wedding, if a dewy and glowing complexion is your goal, mesotherapy is definitely worth exploring. This technique involves placing droplets of a powerful cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants and growth factors just below the surface of the skin to inject a bit of juiciness and glow. It is also a fantastic solution for rejuvenating a sun-damaged neck and decollete. 5 treatments are performed at approximately 15 day intervals so you would need to leave yourself 2 - 3 months before the wedding for this.

10. Spare a thought for your mum. The idea of your children growing up and starting a new life of their own as a married couple can make mums reflect on the passing of time, just as they’re about to be thrown into the spotlight by your side. This might be the time to see a Dermatologist for a few subtle tweaks to freshen the skin and improve a tired or sad appearance. Ask your Dermatologist about a "liquid facelift" for this very purpose!

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