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How do I avoid looking blotchy in my wedding photos?

Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2009

What can I do to keep from looking blotchy in photos and at the ceremony?

Redness can be caused by a number of factors ranging from chronic conditions to allergic reactions to simple pre-wedding stress. If you're prone to severe redness or blotchy flare-ups, visit a dermatologist at least three to four months before your wedding. (Even if you have less time, a consultation can be helpful; just be sure your doctor knows how soon you'll be taking photographs.) He or she can rule out or treat possible allergies or medical causes, such as rosacea.

If you do have rosacea, the symptoms can be mitigated under a doctor's supervision with therapy, such as intense pulsed light therapy, topical skin treatments, or oral medication. Avoiding temperature extremes and spicy foods that can trigger dilation of blood vessels may also help, says Hilary Baldwin, M.D., an associate professor of dermatology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn and president of the American Acne and Rosacea Society.

For those who experience only mild, occasional redness, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of it occurring on your wed¬ding day. Start with a gentle and simple beauty regimen, says Leslie Baumann, M.D., professor of dermatology at the University of Miami and author of The Skin Type Solution (Bantam Dell; 2005). Use a mild cleanser and a fragrance-free moisturizer, and avoid scrubs as well as treatments with heat, both of which can aggravate sensitive skin.

Introduce any new skin-care products at least six months before your wedding in case you have an allergic reaction. Baumann even suggests taking a warm -- not hot -- shower on the morning of your photo session or the ceremony.

If your cheeks just tend to look rosy but uneven, you can remedy things with makeup. First, use a silicone-based primer that will act as a barrier between your skin and your makeup to prevent irritation. Baldwin suggests Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum or Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. Then apply a sheer-to-medium-coverage foundation, says New York City makeup artist Jenna Menard; this may be all you need.

But if blotchy areas are still noticeable, add concealer on the trouble spots. Ones with yellow or green undertones are particularly effective for redness, but Menard prefers to combine them with a regular concealer. She suggests Make Up For Ever's 5 Camouflage Cream Palettes, each of which provides different skin-tone variations in a single product (palette No. 1 has a green concealer); you can blend the colors on a brush and test them on the back of your hand. Once you've canceled out the color you don't want, apply a sheer blush on top.

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