Your wedding day - it's the one day of your life when your skin needs to step up and stay spot-free. Between seeing everyone you've ever known since you were around 2ft tall and having a bazillion and one photos of your face whizzing round the internet, and ever scarier, your family and friends' homes, this is not the time to get a stress-induced break out. It's just not an option, in fact, we absolutely refuse.
The answer? A pre-wedding facial. From oily t-zones and the odd spot to dry patches and acne prone skin, we quizzed skincare expert and super facialist Debbie Thomas on everything you need to know to nail a perfect complexion on your big day…
'For a bride, the worst thing to do is wait until the last minute to tackle any skin issues, even if your concerns are mild.
Having a series of professional skin treatments and facials in the run up to the wedding is ideal in preventing blemishes and skin conditions as well as to give your skincare professional a chance to check that your home care products are suitable to your skin. Treatments should coincide with skin’s renewal, which happens every five to seven weeks to aid this process and to keep congestion and puffiness under control.
For new treatments and those new to facials, it’s important to leave at least six weeks before the wedding to see how the skin reacts. If all is well, the treatment should be repeated the week before the wedding.
I recommend laser treatments and advanced skincare to those who suffer from specific skin care concerns, such as rosacea or pigmentation. I would advise starting these kinds of treatments at least six months before the wedding day. It can take a few treatments to get the skin to good condition and there can be some reaction during the course, so it is best to have the stronger corrective treatments early on and the maintenance treatments closer to the big day.
If you’re simply planning on getting some new products to use at home for mild skin conditions, you should always do this six to twelve weeks before the wedding to make sure no adverse/allergic reactions occur and if they do that you have enough time to get your skin back on track.
If you've got…dull skin
Try a mild chemical peel or microdermabrasion to brighten skin before your wedding day. I would recommend six to eight treatments at one to two week intervals with the last one a few days before the big day. At home, make sure you’re using a moisture binding humectant like hyaluronic acid in conjunction with a mild daily exfoliating product like a cleanser containing mild AHA or BHA acids, like Medik8 Gentle Cleanse, £7.
If you've got…mild acne/occasional breakouts
You should try the Hydra-Facial, Skin Breeze facial, or a mild chemical peel (especially one with salicylic acid). I would recommend you have six to ten treatments at seven to ten day intervals, the last one a few days days before. For home use, look for salicylic acid, which is a great ingredient for acne prone skin, but it can be a little drying so always use a light oil-free hydrator too. Try SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5, £59.
If you've got…more severe/problematic acne
I would recommend laser treatments combined with salicylic peels. Many lasers help but the most effective are the Dual Yellow Laser and NLite. You will need four to six treatments at one to three week intervals with the last one being five to ten days before the wedding.
If you've got…excess shine
No bride wants to look shiny in her photos, so the ideal treatment is a mild chemical peel containing salicylic acid. You will need four to eight treatments at seven to ten day intervals, with the last one two to three days before the wedding.
If you've got…very oily skin
You may consider laser treatments to reduce the oil production, so I recommend four to six treatments on a mild acne setting at one to three week intervals with the last one five to ten days before the wedding. For your at home regime, you need to tackle the cause of the oil. A mild retinol product will over time balance the skin. Use in conjunction with oil free hydrators like a hydrating serum rather than a thick cream. Try SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, £59.
If you've got…enlarged pores
A good at-home cleansing regime is vital. Using a daily cleanser that is balanced with good active ingredients like salicylic, lactic or glycolic acid will clean and unblock the skin without stripping it. For extra benefit, use a mask every few days with ingredients like zinc, titanium dioxide, Alpha-hydroxy acids and kaolin to draw out impurities and anti-inflammatory chamomile to soothe and calm the skin. Try Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish, £55.
If you've got…lack of volume
For severe lack of volume, I would recommend booking a consultation at a reputable clinic that offers lasers, peels and injectables and get a recommendation from a specialist if you’re not adverse to needles. If you would rather opt out of having injectables, the at-home, no-needle filler Fillerina, £79 (which is clinically proven to work) is a great option as you will get mild to moderate plumping on the cheeks and around eyes, a subtle lift and fuller lips! It contains six different hyaluronic molecules in different weights and sizes so that the skin-plumping hyaluronic acid ingredient gets into the epidermis and the dermis. This is far more superior to a hyaluronic gel product that can only work on the surface of the skin. It's a fourteen-day treatment that lasts three months and is perfect for a last minute boost.
If you want to do….an at home facial
If you don’t want to go for a salon facial then DIY.
1. Start by cleansing make-up and daily grime from your face, and then lightly exfoliate to dislodge loose dead skin.
2. Now you need to get the radiance and hydration back into your skin, so use a thick creamy mask but instead of just slathering it on and waiting twenty minutes, do a vigorous massage over the mask. Using the heels of your hand, do firm upwards and outwards movements starting in the centre of the face and work out.
3. Afterwards, pinch your skin, using enough pressure that skin pinks a little but don't go too mad, do this in lines starting at jaw and working up to cheek area. Massage for at least five to ten minutes.
4. Leave the mask for a further 10 minutes then rinse off. If you’re not prone to redness, finish with an ice cube rub down, simply rub an ice cube over the face keeping it in constant motion to further stimulate the circulation.
5. Pat dry and apply your hydrator.'
Now read 7 things InStyle's very own Lucy Pavia learnt about bridal beauty from her big day...