How to Prep You Skin For Your Wedding If You Have Acne, Rosacea, or Hyperpigmentation
Kate Somerville is a celebrity esthetician with a wildly successful eponymous brand and spa, located in Los Angeles. Here, she explains how to prep your skin for you wedding if you have acne, rosacea, or hyperpigmentation.
Don't stress about your skin for your wedding. There are treatments and products to help improve and control every skin condition from acne to hyperpigmentation and rosacea. Start treating your skin as soon as you are able to after you get engaged; ideally three to six months before the wedding. You may need to do a series of treatments, and most topical treatments take between four to eight weeks before you start seeing results. Three to six months will allow enough time for treatments and products to deliver the best results. At my Skin Health Experts Clinic, some of my clients even start prepping their skin a year in advance.
Keep reading to learn exactly how to get your skin in top shape, including products to use, treatments to try, and what to avoid.
Acne can take a few months to get under control, so start treating at least six months before the big day. The goal is to get your skin to optimal clearance a couple of months in advance, so that you’re just maintaining when you’re down to the final weeks.
Ninety percent of my acne clients can get clearance with regular LED facials and topical treatments. Yes, you might you have an occasional breakout, but not nearly as bad as it would be if you weren’t taking these proactive measures.
If you suffer from severe or cystic acne, you should speak with your dermatologist, as over-the-counter products and facial treatments may not be strong enough to combat your acne alone. He or she can prescribe a topical or oral medication (like spironolactone, doxycycline or minocyclin) to help boost your results.
For severe or persistent acne, Accutane is an amazing drug. If you find your body isn’t responding to LEDs and topical treatments look into Accutane. It’s very rare a client on the optimal dosage for their body weight does not get clear with Accutane. You need to be on Accutane for six months, so start at least seven months before the wedding.
Products To Try:
I find sulfur, benzoyl peroxide tea tree oil, and salicylic acid to be among the most effective ingredients when treating acne. Sulfur is a naturally occurring element that helps shed dead skin cells and minimizes clogged pores. It also has antimicrobial properties, so it inhibits the growth of bacteria. Sulfur is great when used in the form of a mask or spot treatment and is very effective in drying up blemishes.
Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial that kills germs by oxygenating the skin. It has good results on mild to moderate acne but can be drying and irritating. If using benzoyl peroxide, I strongly recommend that you find a time-released version because it won’t give you as much irritation.
Salicylic acid is derived from plants and related to aspirin. Like aspirin, it has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s an effective exfoliant and strips away oils and cleanses pores.
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the melaleuca plant and is one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin. It helps minimize oil production and kills acne-causing bacteria in the skin.
Everyone’s skin responds differently to active ingredients. For some of my clients, benzoyl peroxide works best to treat their acne For others, benzoyl peroxide is too drying and they rely on salicylic acid. Try these ingredients to see what works best for you
Look for products that deliver these active ingredients without over drying skin. It’s so important not to strip skin of oil, because it will overcompensate and become off balance by producing excess oil. Also, look for time-released formulas and/or formulas that are coupled with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, to minimize drying. The biggest mistake I see my clients make is applying multiple acne treatments with different active ingredients at once, which is harsh and drying to skin.
Treatments to Try:
I’m a huge believer in light therapy for treating acne. Light therapy uses wavelengths of UV-free LED lights that penetrate deep into the skin, stimulating your acne-causing bacteria, making them work against each other and self-destruct. This means you’re reducing your acne count and the amount of bacteria lying dormant in pores. For mild to moderate acne, I recommend LED facials twice a week for eight weeks for clearing and once a month for ongoing maintenance. More acute acne typically needs two series of twice a week for eight weeks.
If you have scarring and/or large pores, try microneedling or laser genesis. These treatments refine pores and even texture and can be done in conjunction with LED. With microneedling, microfine needles are used with a serum to produce transdermal channels on the skin’s surface, activating cellular regeneration to help even out texture. Laser genesis is a noninvasive laser that uses near infrared light and heat to get down to the dermis to stimulate collagen production and healthy cell growth. I call it my “skin polisher,” since its smooths out the surface layers too.
For best results, start treating six months out with laser and topical treatments. Not every client needs to use both lasers and topical treatments but I’ve found best results with combination therapy.
Products to Try:
Look for products containing calming agents like aloe, lavender, and green tea. For severe rosacea, see your dermatologist. There are great topical antibiotics available to help control flare-ups, like Metrogel and Finacea.
Treatment to Try:
Laser genesis and LED red light therapies are both great noninvasive treatments to gently diffuse redness and calm skin. Clients with rosacea get a lot of little bumps on their skin, and laser genesis resurfaces the skin, minimizing their appearance. For best results, start at least three months out and do six treatments once every one to two weeks. LED red light therapy uses multiwavelengths to target various layers of skin to reduce inflammation and superficial redness.
If your rosacea is severe, kick-start your treatments with Global. Global is a laser is a revolutionary laser that delivers results after just one session. Utilizing an advanced green laser technology, the treatment heats abnormal vessels that cause discoloration and helps eliminate rosacea, vascular conditions, redness, and discoloration. It restores a more normalized skin tone and color. There is around seven to 10 days of downtime. The skin has a rippling effect to it and you may experience more redness.
With pigmentation, the sooner you can start treating the better (at least six months is ideal). There are different types of pigmentation (red, brown, or both) and treatment varies depending on the type of pigment you’re targeting. Some pigmentation (generally on darker skin types) needs to be pretreated with a lightening agent before a laser treatment for optimal results. Some clients have stubborn pigment and it could take more laser treatments than average to minimize the pigmentation. If you start pretreating with a lightening agent about two weeks before a laser treatment, it will help to break up pigment better.
Products to Try:
Ingredients like vitamin C, licorice root extract, and kojic acid can help even the appearance of skin tone, but the most effective ingredient for treating pigment is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone bleaches the skin by stopping melanin production. It’s available over the counter or by prescription. Clients with darker skin tones can use hydroquinone, just remember that the goal to using a lightening agent is to even out skin tone not to hypopigment the skin. It’s a fine balance and should be discussed with your healthcare provider for usage and duration. Darker skin types may not be a candidate for laser, so they might only be able to treat with a lightening agent.
Prevention is also key! The best thing you can do at home is wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily! Reapply every two hours.
Treatment to Try:
Those with fairer skin tend to respond best to lasers, because you can be more aggressive with the treatment and get better results. When it comes to darker skin tones, you have to be more careful because there is risk for hypopigmentation developing.
Limelight is our most popular treatment for hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Our clients tend to opt for Limelight because it delivers great results with minimal downtime. You can expect three to five days of downtime. Skin will appear to have dark coffee ground looking spots and your face may look muddled or dirty, but it can easily be covered with makeup. Depending on the type and severity of hyperpigmentation, I generally recommend one to three treatments one month apart.
My Global Treatment is the strongest treatment we have for targeting hyperpigmentation, and as a result there is more downtime (seven to 10 days). I recommend one to three treatments for best results.