Radiance is what defines a bride. But it’s not just about being happy or having a great make-up artist. It’s about having fabulous skincare too. And for that, leading dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, author of the Skin Care Bible, says you need to start at least six months before your big day. Here she talks to us about what you need to do to achieve radiant skin - and advises on what not to do.
By Dr Anjali Mahto
Skincare – just as important as your make-up
You rarely see skincare mentioned in advice for brides-to-be – why’s that?
Skincare is just as important as make-up, but in the UK, there is no tradition of seeing a dermatologist unless you have a skin problem. Brides-to-be in the UK tend to worry about getting their face camera ready for the wedding photos and booking the make-up artist, but skincare for healthy skin is hardly thought about. In contrast, in the States, where everyone has a dermatologist on speed dial or France where even pharmacists will offer skincare advice, there is much more focus on skincare for those with healthy skin.
When should you start?
When should you start – presumably at least a month before?
If someone comes to me a month before, there’s very little I can do. Ideally give yourself much time as possible before the big day, around 6 – 12 months if you have normal skin. I know that sounds like a long time, but in fact most people will be booking their reception venue at least a year out, so it’s not so outrageous an idea. When someone comes to me, I want to see what works for them and try some things out. There’s a bit of trial and error here and remember, it takes on average 12 weeks to see the benefit of a new skincare routine.
Everyone’s skin is different so everyone’s regimen will be different and dependent on what is most important for them – firming, elimination of fine lines and so on.
As for injectables, such as botulinum or fillers, if you’ve never used them, 6-8 months before the wedding is the time to start them. If you use them regularly, aim to have a treatment no later than a month before the day.
In the final weeks, use a weekly face mask such as the SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque, which is hydrating, calming and restores radiance.
What about the other areas of skin on show in a wedding dress, the décolletage and neck?
I think of the face and neck as a single unit and treat them the same. AHAs that are suitable for your face, are fine for your neck, particularly if you are worried about pigmentation. What people don’t realise is that you can use retinols on all the skin on show, including décolletage and the backs of hands.
The must nots
What shouldn’t you do?
- Above all, don’t rock the boat! Don’t change anything on the day. No new products, no borrowing your friend’s face mask the night before.
- Definitely don’t use chemical peels or retinol in the week before the wedding because it may cause flaking or drying, which will affect the look of your make-up.
- If you are using a make-up artist, don’t let them use products, such as a primer, that they haven’t allowed you to trial in advance. It’s not the time to discover that you are allergic to a particular product.
- Some people say don’t use mineral sunscreens on your face because they make you look a bit chalky in photos. I say real life scenarios get in the way. My view is that if you are marrying in 35 degree heat because you’re lucky enough to have a beach wedding, and your skin is sensitive or you have rosacea for instance, worry about your skin not the photos. Use a sunscreen that’s appropriate for sensitive skin, such as SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense.
In case of disaster on the day
The weeks leading up to a wedding are some of the most stressful in your life, so not surprising that you break out in a rash or get a big shiny spot. It’s the last thing you need, any advice?
I think every bride should have some hydrocortisone to hand (1% hydrocortisone cream is available over the counter very cheaply in any chemist) to cope with any last minute rashes or blemishes. If you normally use SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective, it will help calm and hydrate but as I said, don’t use anything for the first time on the day.
If you are the sort of person who regularly gets stress related breakouts, it goes back to my point about starting well in advance. You’ll have had plenty of time to switch it off by choosing the right skincare before the stress develops.
And what about a cold sore – that would really be a disaster!
Most people who get them regularly know what triggers bring them on, like strong sunshine or wind. So make sure you protect yourself with high factor UV protection, for instance SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50 in the weeks before. If you feel tingling, a dermatologist or your GP can prescribe an oral anti-viral that shortens the duration.
Any other tips?
Share your skincare problems with your make-up artist if you have one, well in advance. For instance, if you are using medication to control acne, it has a tendency to dry the lips, so a gloss hydrating lipstick should be the one you use, rather than a matte one.
There may be 16 hours between your make-up going on and the last dance and you are potentially wearing more make-up than normal. So, if you don’t want to break out on the honeymoon, make sure you wash your face thoroughly, removing every last bit of make-up. SkinCeuticals’ Simply Clean is a gel cleanser, which exfoliates and soothes, the Gentle Cleanser is more appropriate for dry and sensitive skin.
This article reflects the opinions of Dr Anjali Mahto and is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regimen or course of conduct.