If you think June is the most popular month for weddings, think again. October is numero uno. But whether you’re planning to be an October bride or groom or still holding out for the tradition of June, you’ll want your skin to look its best.
Let’s “face” it: If you or your spouse-to-be is acne prone, anxiety about a wedding breakout can interfere with lead-up fun. Stress is not good for our skin. Neither are some of the other pre-Big Day events. Everything from anticipatory parties with friends to trying to achieve that “perfect” look can contribute to problem skin.
Acne is named after the skin bacteria p. acnes, which announces itself as a pimple when it clogs our pores. Optimally, skin cells will regenerate without any clogs. But if we have excess skin oil, called sebum, dead skin cells can get trapped. Add in the acne bacteria, and now we’re hosting a pimple party.
Hormones, genetics, stress and lifestyle are all factors in acne. Weddings are exciting, but making plans and celebrating along the way can involve stress, late nights, food and drink splurges and new hair and makeup products. All can disrupt our system’s equilibrium and trigger breakouts.
To keep acne away on your special day, I suggest the following:
1. Make skin care a VIP guest from the start: To keep acne stress to a minimum, you want your skin-care program working for you from engagement day. Pimples take time to develop, and they take time to clear. In an emergency, for severe acne, a steroid shot can treat a single cyst or nodule. But that’s limited, as injections shouldn’t be used on multiple spots. So it’s important to use effective products regularly. For less severe acne, those might be over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide plus a de-clogging agent like salicylic acid. For severe acne, that probably means treatment at the dermatologist’s. In either case, it’s important to follow a maintenance plan.
2. Don’t cater to a pimple: Increasingly, research points to sugar’s role in inflammation — a major player in acne. And sugar — from ingredients that quickly break down to glucose during digestion — comes in many forms, not just desserts, including white rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and cocktails. As the couple enjoys pre-wedding festivities, it will help their skin if they indulge in moderation when it comes to high-glycemic foods.
3. Stay faithful to your regimen: Once your skin plan is working, you’ll want to stick with it. It can be tempting to try new products or techniques, maybe first-time sunless tanners or facials. If you’re interested in trying something new, consider a trial run well in advance of your day, to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises.
4. Make sure makeup and hair are skin BFFs: Styling products need to be skin friendly. They should not introduce oil or any ingredient that may clog pores or irritate skin. If the couple is using stylists, they’ll want to make sure that their products are compatible with sensitive skin. For those managing acne, selecting a makeup artist who is skilled at addressing problem skin and scheduling a trial session is a great way to feel confident about looking great.
5. Still got acne jitters? Schedule a skin prenup: Having an established relationship with your skin-care specialist means that you can plan ahead. Those who have gotten maintenance treatments — lasers or peels or extractions — can schedule an appointment that is timed to optimize clear skin for their wedding week. The key is sticking with the expert they trust and the approach that has worked. Those who contend with severe acne can alert their dermatologist’s office in advance so that an “emergency” appointment — for a corticosteroid shot, for example — can be scheduled in a timely way, if needed.
The focus should be the wedding, and a reliable skin-care plan can prevent worries about a skin eruption from interfering with the celebration.
Jacqueline Andrews-Evans, is a certified physician assistant through the National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants. She specializes in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey). For more, visit advanceddermatologypc.com.