By Dana Dougherty Reinke
Pimples, blemishes, zits-whatever you call them-blockages of the sebaceous glands are a brides worst nightmare. Adult acne affects about 20 percent of adults, many of whom never suffered from it as teenagers, says Dr. Paul Cohen, a Toronto dermatologist (416-487-1978, www.drpaulcohen.com)
Months before your wedding
Start going for a facial every three to four weeks. Regular extractions help to clean out the skin and remove any toxins. If you have more than the occasional breakout, head straight to a dermatologist. A skin doc can use a combination of intense pulsed light (IPL) with Levulan ($500-600) to treat acne while targeting oil gland production. You may need a few treatments before you’ll see results. In very severe cases of acne, the prescription drug Accutane is also an option. It can offer amazing results, but it has some very serious side effects.
If you find yourself suddenly breaking out, Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto dermatologist (www.dlkonavenue.com), suggests looking at the factors in your life that may affect your skin. “Hormones, stress and environment all play a role, but I think the biggest reason younger women have breakouts is because the are using anti-aging creams that are too rich for their skin.” Kellett recommends steering clear of anti-aging products until you are at least 30, and says switching up your skin care routine can often clean up skin in a flash.
If you feel a monster spot lurking beneath you skin’s surface, call your dermatologist immediately. In special cases (i.e. your wedding day) dermatologists will inject steroids into your spot ($150), making it disappear completely within 24 hours. If you don’t have a dermatologist on call, try a spot treatment containing salicylic acid. Try: Dermalogica Special Clearing Booster ($60, www.dermalogica.ca)
The older we get, the longer our skin cells hang around. The result: tired, dull-looking skin that makes you look older than you actually are.
Months before Your wedding professional microdermabrasion treatments (at spas and through dermatologists) are the first step to radiant skin. By thoroughly exfoliating surface skin cells, microdermabrasion exposes the younger skin underneath. Book a series of treatments, the last one a week before your wedding. Keep up the look at home by using an exfoliant every other day, and wearing sunscreen to protect your delicate visage.
Weeks before Your dermatologist can help you battle dullness better than anyone. Epidermal peels ($200-400) are topical preparations which can improve skin surface texture. Schedule a peel for two weeks before your wedding to ensure maximum results and healing time.
Day before At-home microdermabrasion and peels will help re-texturize skin when used a few times a week. The results won’t be as dramatic as a professional treatment, but neither will the price tag! (Don’t try anything new for the first time immediately prewedding.) Try: Avon Anew Clinical 2-step facial peel ($40, www.avon.ca)
3. Fine Lines Like it or not, certain people are genetically predisposed to wrinkles. Dry, fair skin is a wrinkle’s best friend. You may be starting to notice fine lines around the eyes, and with wedding pix looming in your future, what were character-building laugh lines a few weeks ago have likely transformed in your mind into full-blown crow’s feet!
Months before Your wedding your dermatologist can help you see a dramatic reduction in fine lines, given enough time. Invest in a series of glycolic peels or micrdermabrasion treatments. If you have four to six months to wait for results, you may also wish to explore the more expensive (but very effective) erbium peel ($2300). Weeks before keep skin well hydrated and up the skin-care ante with a good quality product line. Serums will help boost the effects of ordinary moisturizers, so look for one containing vitamins A, C and E. Gel-based masks are another good investment, as they feel great and give parched skin a much-needed drink of water. Try: Pure + Simple Skin Nourishing Vitamin Serum ($25, www.pureandsimple.ca)
Rosacea is a vascular disorder that is very hard to control. The condition can cause facial redness, visible spider veins and pustules. For more information on rosacea and its treatments, visit www.rosacea.org.
Months before Your wedding if you suspect you may have rosacea, get to a dermatologist ASAP. He/she can recommend topical creams to calm redness; antibiotics to treat pustules; or a series of IPL treatments for maximum results. The most important thing to remember is that all of these treatments take time to work. The longer your lead time, the better the results will be. Make sure your skin-care routine is suitable for sensitive skin and focus on keeping skin hydrated with very gentle products.
Weeks before get your last IPL treatment now, as your skin may take up to three weeks to heal, Cohen says. A week before the big day, get a relaxing facial but use very little steam, as it can cause rosacea to flare up. At this point in the game, all you can really do is try to calm down the redness- that means using anti-redness products to calm blood vessels. Cooling products containing aloe vera and camphor will also help. Try: Clinique CX Redness Relief Cream ($110, at Holt Renfrew)
Day before Steer clear of common rosacea triggers including red wine, spicy food and sun exposure. Unfortunately, you’re probably a bit stressed out which can aggravate rosacea, but try to stay calm…for your skin’s sake.
5. Deep lines As your skin ages, it loses elasticity and the ability to bounce back from facial expressions. Perhaps the permanent furrow between your brows is proof if you make a face too many times your face really will stay that way (Mom was right again).
Months before Your wedding start getting regular facials and explore microdermabrasion with your esthetician or dermatologist. Anti-aging products restore collagen and elastin. They will help prevent line, but won’t eliminate them, so the sooner you start using them, the better. For deeper lines, look for products containing vitamins A,C and E and hydroxyl acid. Try: RoC Retin-Ol Correxio Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Care for Night ($42, www.rocskincare.com)
Andrea Olivera, owner of the Andrea Olivera Centre for Ayurveda (www.ayurvedictouch.com) says skin care goes beyond spot treatments for specific complaints. “We look at the whole package,” she says. “What people are eating, what’s happening with their mind- if they’re sluggish or depressed- and then suggest lifestyle changes.”
Weeks before Botox injections ($400-600 per treatment) are the best way to combat expression lines, Kellett says. Find a good dermatologist who tries to use as little Botox as possible, thus avoiding the frozen face look. “ I tell my patients, we can always add more later, if you want to,” Kellett says. You’ll need to wait two to three weeks to see the true results of your injections.
Day before Deeper lines are hard to deal with quickly. Your best bet is to invest in an illuminator and apply it where you want to make light bounce off of the shadow the wrinkle creates.
6. Dark &Puffy under-eye Areas
An excess buildup of blood and fluid under the eyes can make even the brightest of eyes look tired. Often this condition is hereditary, making it a result of genetics, not necessarily sleep deprivation. The good news: there is help!
Months Before Your Wedding Restylane, an injectable cosmetic enhancement comprised largely of hyaluronic acid, is the latest medical breakthrough being touted as a cure-all for puffiness and dark circles. While a Restylane treatment ($500) should be done a few weeks before the wedding, talk to your dermatologist now to have a series of treatments for best results, Cohen says. This is also the best time to invest in a great eye cream and to use it daily, because you have lots of time to let it work. Try: YonKa Phyto-Contour for puffiness and dark circles ($48, at select spas or 1-800-361-1263)
Weeks before Have the last of your regularly scheduled facials a week before the big day, and throw in a rejuvenating eye treatment while you’re at it. Not only will it leave you looking refreshed, you’ll feel that way too.
Day Before Uh-oh. you woke up and you’re as puffy as a blowfish. Take a deep breath and walk to the kitchen. Put some cold tea bags or cucumber slices on your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. It’s not an old wives’ tale- these kitchen staples really do have anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce eye bags in a pinch, Cohen says.
7. Brown Spots Lentigines, often called sun spots, may appear as freckles on the back of the hands or on the sides of the face. They are the result of hormonal upheaval, usually caused by pregnancy or the pill, combined with sun exposure.
Months Before Your wedding consult a dermatologist and ask about laser or light treatments (about $500) and prescription strength skin-bleaching creams. Depending on how deep your spot goes, you may require a series of treatments. Microdermabrasion and glycolic peels will also offer results. Very light spots may respond to over the counter products. Try: Reversa UV Anti-Spot Lightening Cream ($28, at the drug store)
Weeks Before “Deeper peeling is the only way to get rid of brown spots,” says Kristen Ma, co-founder of Toronto’s Pure + Simple Spa. Ma’s spa offers a lactic acid peel that targets excess pigmentation and helps lighten it. Day Before Shop for a camouflage cream that matches your skin tone. A wide selection of products are currently available, offering everything from light to total coverage.