About six months before my wedding, I had an “ah-ha” moment. If I wanted my skin to be in its best possible shape, it was time to start thinking about the timeline it was going to take to get glowing skin before my wedding. Considering some treatments have a longer recovery, I needed to get started. But which treatments should I even have done? And how many months out is too many? Too few?
And then, of course, there’s the month-of crunch. How far out do I get my last facial so I’m clean and clear for the big day, but not still recovering from extractions? What treatments do I get the week of the wedding? With so many questions swirling, I thought it would be best to speak to a professional. I enlisted Dr. Jennifer Chwalek of Union Square Dermatology and Dr. Carolyn Jacobs, founder and medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. LINK TO THESE These derms have seen it all and had some sage advice for me when it came to putting together my wedding skincare timeline.
“When it comes to preparing your skin for the big day, you can never start too soon, especially if you have breakouts or issues with acne scarring or pigmentation,” says Dr. Chwalek. She recommends visiting a dermatologist and coming up with a treatment plan at least one year out.
Dr. Jacobs, on the other hand, got specific with me about what treatments I should focus on. “In the months leading up to a big event like a wedding, having peels performed monthly will help the skin be its best by the big day,” she suggests. Keep reading for more of what I learned.
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If you’re looking to treat acne scarring or pigmentation, starting early is key. Both Dr. Chwalek and Dr. Jones swear by consistent peels to get your skin in tip-top shape. “Now is also the time to start treatments like Fraxel/laser resurfacing or microneedling if you have acne scarring or if you are trying to improve the texture of your skin,” says Dr. Chwalek. “If you have pigmentation issues like melasma, starting a good skincare routine is vital in combination with laser or peels.”
And of course, starting up (or maintaining) a consistent skincare routine is key to looking your best. And don’t forget your SPF. Every. Single. Day.
This is the key time to try out any new products or treatments you think you might want to add to your routine before the wedding. With enough time, any reactions you have or results you don’t like will have worn off before the big day.
Dr. Chwalek recommends using this time to test out Botox or fillers, treatments for redness, skin tightening treatments, and even body contouring treatments like cool sculpting if you’re looking to go all out. That is, if you think you need them! It’s all about your personal preference.
This is also the time to start working chemical peels into your routine. “Having peels performed monthly will help the skin be its best by the big day,” says Dr. Jones. She recommends monthly professionally applied peels like the Sensi Peel or Ultra Peel by PCA Skin, starting at least six months prior.
As you get closer to the big day, you want to make sure you’re not doing any treatments with long recovery times. “Any aggressive treatment that has significant downtime should be avoided,” recommends Dr. Jones. This is also the time to touch up any filler and to continue any long-term treatments you started a year out from the wedding.
“This is a good time to start switching to lighter treatments as you near the four-week mark,” says Dr. Chwalek. “If you struggle with acne then sometimes I will give patients a low dose oral antibiotic to cover them against any breakouts for the month prior to the wedding.” No breakouts on the big day!
Don’t try any new treatments during this time, and just focus on maintaining the gorgeous skin you worked so hard for in the months prior.”“I would also really focus on hydration/moisturization and good, regular sleep,” adds Dr. Chwalek. “Nothing does more for the skin than these.”
Again, now is not the time to try any new products. Stick with your trusted faves. “Treatment [at this point] is something more gentle, and also something you’ve already experienced in the past and tolerated well, like an enzyme treatment,” says Dr. Jones, who recommends the PCA Skin Revitalizing Mask with papaya enzyme or the brand’s Micro Peel At Home kit. CAN YOU LINK TO THESE? OR include above instead of Skinceuticals?
“Doing a gentle hydrating face mask the night before or a red LED light treatment can ensure your skin is glowy for the special day,” says Dr. Chwalek, who recommends the Skinceuticals bio-cellulose mask. Drink plenty of water and don’t go too crazy at your rehearsal dinner! Avoid any alcohol and make sure you get a good night’s rest. You’re going to need it for the big day. A quick morning meditation will help you feel calm, collected, and ready to commit yourself to the love of your life.
Congratulations, you made it!