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Preparing for the Big Day: A Bride's Guide to Radiant Skin

Straight off the bat, the number one piece of advice I'd like to give you, is to start early.

I can't tell you how many times brides have booked in at Skin Ritual one, or maybe two months before their wedding day, with skin concerns that were very treatable - if we'd just had more time.

My recommendation: start preparing your skin 6 months minimum, and ideally 12 months, before the big day.

Now that might sound like overkill to some - but I'm not talking about a crazy intensive program for that entire 6-12 months.

Something as simple as incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, takes months to see the full benefit from. Give it a few months, you'll see improvements. Give it a year, and it really starts to shine.

The thing to understand with changing your skin, is that it's almost never quick and dramatic. It's an accumulation of small, slow, steady changes on a cellular level that give your skin the WOW factor you are looking for - both on your wedding day, and beyond.

In this article, I'll cover skincare at home, treatments in clinic, and what to do in the lead up to the day.

The Basics: A Consistent Skincare Routine

Key word, consistent. Don't go changing your products every few months and expect a good result. Choose high quality products that you know will do their job, so you don't end up chopping and changing.

A good skincare routine should look something like this:

AM (in order of use)

Clean your skin, but don't necessarily use cleanser. If it's morning, and you have nothing on your skin (no sunscreen or make-up) - just rinse your skin with water, and continue with your routine.

(Over-cleansing can upset the balance of your skins microbiome and skin barrier, so skipping the morning cleanse is beneficial for most people).

Antioxidant + Melanin Inhibitor serum - this could be vitamin B, vitamin C, or both. The antioxidant will reduce inflammation and redness in your skin, the melanin inhibitor will reduce formation of pigmentation.

Moisturiser - every skin benefits from a moisturiser, regardless of how oily you are (or think you are). Moisturisers seal in water and keep your skin hydrated, please use them.

SPF - for obvious reasons (preventing DNA damage and long term ageing) - but also some not-so-obvious reasons. UV exposure increases redness in your skin (by stimulating formation of blood vessels), and it can also increase breakouts (through a complicated mechanism involving peroxidation of squalene, but we won't get into that here). Please wear it daily.

PM (in order of use)

Cleanser - something simple (say goodbye to exfoliating cleansers, AHA/BHAs, etc). Serums are for correcting problems, cleanser is there to clean your skin, that's all. If you have sunscreen or make-up on, cleanse twice.

Vitamin A serum - AKA, retinol or retinal. This is going to be a pivotal product in your skincare routine - and believe it or not, vitamin A does in fact improve every skin concern on my aforementioned list. Every single skin can benefit from vitamin A, regardless of how sensitive you might be. If it doesn't work for you, you just haven't found the right one (we can help with that!).

Moisturiser - for reasons already explained. Note - please don't just put your serum on and call it a day, you still need to use your moisturiser.

Products you don't need:

  • toner (obsolete, don't bother)

  • exfoliant (your vitamin A will speed up cell turnover, meaning you naturally exfoliate already)

  • masks (a nice to have but not a need to have - and in most cases, they don't do a whole lot other than hydrate).

  • Essence (don't bother)

  • "night cream" (there is no reason you can't use the same moisturiser day and night, unless your moisturiser contains sunscreen)

And the age old question: Do I need an eye cream?

Answer: Eye products tread a thin line between active enough to do something - but not active enough to cause irritation the delicate skin around the eye. It's a tightrope, and that's why "over-the-counter" eye products are so watered down that there really is no point using them. In a ten year career in skin therapy, I have tried countless eye products, and can confidently vouch for just two: Cosmedix Opti Crystal, and Aspect Platinum Eye 4D (available in clinic only as we legally can't sell it online). Opti Crystal works well for everyone, Eye 4D is better for more advanced ageing in the eye area (visible lines at rest).

Cover all of the above and start 12 months before the wedding date, and you will see the change in your skin. Tip: take a before photo so you can see for yourself.

Clinical Treatments

Once the skincare routine is covered, you can consider professional treatments to speed up you progress and boost results. My advice - don't bother with fluffy facials that do nothing but hydrate and relax you. If you really want to transform your skin, you want treatments with purpose.

HydraFacials / excellent if you are oily/congested, or dry and have dead skin buildup. Great for improving texture and hydration. I highly recommend this treatment in the final lead up to any event, ideally 2-3 days prior.

Micro-needling / great for texture improvement, softening scars (acne scarring or otherwise), softening lines, and reducing pore size.

Chemical Peels / (not as scary as they sound) Peels are best for dealing with breakouts/acne, red scars, and pigmentation. They are also great for improving texture.

Laser / can be great for reducing redness and pigmentation, but very provider dependent. Go to a reputable clinic, and I hate to say it but have to - avoid the chain clinics.

Injectables / For a niggly frown line, crows feet, or any other deep expression lines - muscle relaxants (like b*t*x) really are the best option. Retinol, needling, peels, will all help - but ultimately with a muscle-mediated line, a muscle relaxant is the most effective treatment. Again - the provider is important, find someone you trust (Vanessa McNamara is my go-to), and stick with them. Do not chop and change your injector, and do not see a new injector anytime close to your wedding date - just in case.

And no, I don't recommend microdermabrasion...

Nutrition and Lifestyle: The Inside Out Approach

Great skin isn’t just about what you put on it - your diet and lifestyle play a significant role. That said - it can sometime be easier to control what goes on our skin, than what goes into our bodies.

Stress is also a tough factor to control, and does have an effect on our skin. If at all possible - I highly recommend planning around reducing your stress levels in the lead up to the day. Book an extra day off before or a few days before the wedding to take some time out and reduce your cortisol levels. Book a massage, a hotel staycation or Airbnb, or just a day at home - whatever you need, to soothe your nervous system.

A few internal health things to focus on:

1. Hydration: Duh, but it's still worth including. Aim for 2L per day.

2. Diet: Incorporate plenty of vegetables into your diet and try to avoid processed food and refined sugar. Foods rich in antioxidants, like berries and leafy greens, should be prioritised.

3. Sleep: Adequate and consistent sleep is crucial for skin repair and regeneration. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. If you have trouble getting to sleep, Cymbiotika's Liposomal Sleep tonic is incredible. Also a helpful tool to have on hand the night before the big day.

The Final Countdown: Last Minute Tips

In the weeks leading up to your wedding, there are a few final steps to ensure your skin looks its best.

1. Avoid New Products: Stick to your established routine. Introducing new products too close to your wedding day risks reactions, purging, irritation - it's just not worth it.

2. Avoid New Treatments: Do not try a new facial in the month leading up to your wedding. You and your skin therapist should ideally have decided on a pre-wedding treatment, and trialled it already at least a month before the wedding day to ensure no risk of unexpected outcome.

3. Several days before: Again, I highly recommend a HydraFacial. It is the ideal pre-event treatment and is guaranteed to have you glowing on the day.

In conclusion, I'll give you my final piece of advice.

All of the above are tried and true recommendations based on my experience over the last ten years - but this is generalised advice. For the best possible outcome, and the most optimal plan for your skin - it is absolutely worth having a professional skin consultation at the start of your wedding prep.

This will include a skin assessment, audit of your current skincare routine, testing of your skin barrier function, and an in depth discussion about your skin history, goals, and what you want to focus on most.

We can then put together a plan that is created specifically for your skin and your goals, ensuring the best possible outcome. Best of all, our consultations are free - giving you are chance to see what your options are, and get some tailored advice, with zero obligation or commitment.

If you'd like to learn more, you can book a consultation via this link. We can't wait to guide you on your journey to healthy, beautiful skin!

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