Here's everything you want to know (Does it hurt? What's the cost?) about medical-grade beauty procedures and prescriptions.
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Perhaps the most integral focus of your pre-wedding beauty routine, your skin serves as the foundation for your big-day look—at least from the neck up. While preparing your complexion for your nuptials is a month-long process (after all, good skin doesn't happen overnight!), there are several treatment options that offer faster results than others. You'll discover that the majority of these options are performed in the dermatologist's chair. This makes sense: Procedures that work quickly are often more intense, which is why they're best left in the hands of a trained medical professional.
Of course, the treatment you need for a wedding-ready complexion depends on your specific skin type or concern. To help you nail down which procedure is right for you, you'll need to check in with that aforementioned doctor—but if you're interested in educating yourself about your options ahead of your appointment, you've come to the right place. Ahead, you'll find the latest cutting-edge treatments brides need to know about right now. From acne and wrinkle busters, to redness relief and brightening agents, the following tried-and-true procedures and products are your best medical-grade options to achieve skin you'll be proud of on your wedding day.
As for your available options? Brides looking to combat acne will gravitate towards retinoids and microdermabrasion, while women fighting fine lines or discoloration might opt for a chemical peel. Whatever treatment (or combination of treatments!) you and your derm decide is best for your needs, it's important to note that most of these options require multiple treatments—which means you'll need to set a budget for skincare. In the end, though, this is an investment worth making. On the big day, you'll walk down the aisle with your best face forward.
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Retinoids & Retinol
Thanks to its collagen- and elastin-building capabilities, prescription vitamin A smoothes fine lines and fades sun damage, and it's been used for years to treat teenage and adult acne, alike. It can cause some peeling and dryness, so apply it every other night to build your skin's tolerance.
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Got a cystic blemish? Dermatologists can "quickly inject it with a diluted steroid so it disappears in a day or two," says Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist in Omaha, Nebraska. If you can't make it to the derm, try applying an over-the-counter 5- or 10-percent benzoyl peroxide cream directly to the blemish twice a day. Studies show it's just as effective.
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A small Botox injection can quickly smooth out wrinkles. A lesser-known Botox use—but a good one for brides—might suprse you: It can actually stop excessive perspiration. When injected into the underarm, it temporarily blocks the chemical signals that cause sweating.
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Loaded with glycolic or salicylic acid, peels can brighten dull complexions and fade discoloration by removing the top layer of dead skin. The most popular types? Jessner peels which boost glow, TCA peels which reduce acne scarring, and Theraplex treatments which help treat breakouts. Your dermatologist will prescribe the percent of the peel—which can vary from a light surface peel to a deeper-level treatment for more severe cases—that's just right for your skin issue.
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This form of exfoliation gets much deeper than your typical scrub—and does so in an even fashion. It uses aluminum particles and a suction wand to gently even out bumpy texture, unclog pores, and reduce discoloration.
Unlike a laser that precisely pinpoints unwanted pigment, this broadband light covers larger areas of skin and, depending on the light used, can dull the appearance of brown and red spots, reduce pore size, minimize wrinkles, reduce redness, and kill acne-causing bacteria. The number of sessions needed varies depending on the skin issue, but on average, about three are recommended with four weeks between each treatment.
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Skin-resurfacing laser treatments like Fraxel and YAG are used to treat brown patches, broken capillaries, bumpy skin, and red spots, as well as to remove hair and tattoos. On average, three to six treatments spaced about four weeks apart are needed for full results. But like intense pulsed-light treatments, these numbers vary from case to case.