We all have that one friend who stops eating carbs and works out every single day while she prepares for her wedding. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be in the best shape of your life for that special day. I mean, you'll only take thousands of photos in a dress that you'll only wear once. But don't neglect your beautiful face which is equally (if not more) important! These are my tips for healthy glowing skin for the bride-to-be. But honestly, these are my skincare essentials, upcoming wedding or not!
I'm not going to tell you that you need to go get a medical grade chemical peel each month. I'm not going to tell you that you need botox (and I would caution against it unless you've had it before and you're super confident in your injector). A wedding costs plenty and we need to save all the money we can, right? All you really need is a good skincare regimen. Your makeup should enhance your natural glow, not cover it up. Makeup on unhealthy skin often ends up looking cakey. So here are my top 6 recommendations to prep your skin for your big day!
1. Wash your face.
Wash your face twice a day. Use a gentle cleanser that's specifically formulated for the face. Bar soap is too harsh for the skin. If you suffer from acne use a medicated cleanser e.g. a face wash containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulfur.
2. Wear sunscreen daily.
Get into the habit of wearing sunscreen every day. There are so many moisturizers that contain SPF 30 or higher. It just takes a quick trip to Target (if a quick trip to Target exists?) or just a few clicks on Amazon. Apply this before you apply your makeup in the morning, or by itself if you don't wear makeup. This will ensure that your skin stays moisturized and healthy, and believe it or not, this will minimize the appearance of pores. Plus, wearing sunscreen is the single best thing that you can do to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles!
3. Use a retinol.
If you're not already using a retinol now is the time to start. Retinol works on a molecular level to make your skin cells renew themselves more frequently while stimulating collagen production. This process slows down the aging process of skin and leaves you with healthier and younger-looking skin. Retinols improve overall skin texture, minimize wrinkles, minimize the appearance of pores, and evens out dark spots.
Retinols are the over-the-counter version of prescription retinoid creams, such as Retin-A. So what's the difference? Retinol is a derivative of retinoid, which is retinoic acid. Both are vitamin A derivatives. Retinol, however, needs to be converted into retinoic acid by the skin cells, which is why over-the-counter preparations take longer to have an effect. Retinol creams take about 3-6 months to show visible results. While prescription Retin-A (retinoic acid) will show quicker results, it can also be more irritating on the skin. It's always a good idea to start with a less potent formulation.
Irritation is part of the process when starting a retinol cream or a prescription retinoid, and it is to be expected. So you have to keep on keepin' on! It can help to use it every other day or just several times a week when starting in order to avoid too much irritation. You can expect very dry skin, red patches, and flaking. This shouldn't last more than about 3 weeks. So 2 weeks prior to your wedding is not a good time to start!
I use Differin, and have been using it for about a year. It's a prescription strength retinoid (adapalene) that became available over-the-counter last year. While it's main indication is acne, it is a retinoid, and I have definitely noticed the anti-aging benefits.
You should consult with your doctor prior to starting any of the above if you are pregnant.
4. Use a nighttime moisturizer.
My favorites are those that contain ceramides, niacinamides, hyaluronic acid or all of the above. I mostly use CeraVe PM. Moisturizers are important even for those with oily skin. Washing your face strips it of its natural oils. If you don't moisturize it afterward your skin will actually compensate and produce more oil! This can lead to oilier skin, clogged pores, and even acne.
5. Use an antioxidant.
Antioxidants protect the skin from damage-causing free radicals. They help to protect the skin from sun damage and environmental irritants such as pollution or cigarette smoke.
Some lotions or creams contain antioxidants, so you could kill two bird with one stone by incorporating this into your nighttime moisturizer. If you're not a big fan of multiple steps, this is a good way get that antioxidant into the regimen. As mentioned above, CeraVe PM moisturizer contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) which is a powerful antioxidant. I don't mind an additional step, so I use a serum that contains either vitamin C or E, or rosehip seed oil which is rich in multiple antioxidants. I like to apply my antioxidant serum in the morning before I apply my sunscreen for added protection against UV rays and environmental insults.
Here are some antioxidants commonly found in skin preparations:
Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B5
Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
Alpha lipoic acid
Antioxidants have strength in numbers. When combined, vitamin C and E are incredibly potent.
Last, but not least, exfoliate! Exfoliation prevents the build up of old skin cells on the surface of the skin, which can make your skin look dull and dry. The build of of old skin cells can also clog pores and cause pimples. In contrast to retinols which work from the inside out, exfoliating works on the outer surface of skin. Both are important for radiant skin!
You shouldn't exfoliate daily. Over-exfoliation can cause inflammation and irritation of the skin. If you have oily skin, 2-3 times per week is plenty. You can use a physical exfoliant, such as a gritty face wash, or you can use a chemical exfoliant, such a beta or alpha hydroxy acid (e.g. salicylic acid, glycolic acid).
If you are just beginning a retinol wait until your irritation subsides before you begin to exfoliate. Then, just exfoliate once or twice a week. Listen to your skin! If it becomes irritated or flaky again, stop exfoliating.
Follow the above steps and you will have the best skin of your life in time for your big day- and long after!
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