If you're getting married this spring, your to-do list is probably overflowing. You're doing everything from finalizing your guest list and making seating assignments to packaging favors and attending dress fittings. Another must-do on your list—which experts say too few brides actually focus on early enough—is adopting a skincare regimen that helps your complexion flawlessly transition from winter to spring. "It takes time to see results," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a dermatologist at New York City's Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. "Even the best skincare products take four to eight weeks to really induce measurable skin changes."
To streamline your routine and ensure the most desirable results in time for your spring nuptials, she recommends consulting with a dermatologist who can create a tailored regimen that's best for you. After all, what your skin needs in the spring is very different than what it needs in the winter, and it's not always easy to understand what should be adjusted in your routine. In the meantime, pay close attention to these dermatologist-approved tips for achieving a beautiful complexion ahead of your seasonal wedding.
Eat a healthy balanced diet and stay hydrated.
It's true that what you eat can affect your skin. "Specifically, foods with a high glycemic index can trigger inflammation resulting in acne and rosacea and that cutting out major calories or food groups can leave skin looking sunken and lackluster," explains Erum Ilyas, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology. Stress takes a toll, too, which is why she recommends relaxing as much as possible and fitting some TLC into your schedule.
Use the right cleanser for your skin type
According to Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the right cleanser can make all the difference. "It often takes several weeks or even months for products to start working so you need to give your skin enough time and be sure to wash your face every night before you go to bed." Additionally, Dr. Engelman recommends sleeping with a clean, silk pillowcase, since they are the most gentle on hair and skin.
Start using retinol early.
"Retinol is the best-studied ingredient we have over the counter to treat fine lines and wrinkles, however, it can be a challenge to use," says Dr. Zeichner. "In the first two to four weeks, it commonly causes dryness and irritation—plus, it takes several months to start exerting its effect." He recommends Rapid Wrinkle Repair® Retinol Oil to his brides-to-be. "The ultra-hydrating properties of the oil itself minimize irritation and allow the retinol to be more effective."
Wear sunscreen and avoid tanning beds at all costs.
You can still experience sun damage in the winter months—even on cloudy or snowy days! That's why dermatologists always recommend wearing an SPF of 30 and never, ever stepping foot in a tanning bed. "The majority of melanomas and skin cancers I see in women in their 20s and 30s is likely related to their tanning bed use before proms and weddings," says Dr. Ilyas. "Spray tans and tanning lotions are safe ways to get a glow."
Consider a laser.
If your skin tone and texture is not improving using topical treatments, Dr. Zeichner suggests asking your dermatologist about laser treatments. "Lasers like Clear and Brilliant or Fraxel can take your skin to the next level and pick up where topicals drop off," he says. "You may need more than one treatment for optimal results and you may require some healing time, so plan in advance."
Don't neglect the neck, arms and décolleté.
It can be easy to forget these areas, but for a spring wedding it is likely one or all might be showing. Dr. Engelman recommends products that help thicken the skin like Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-Aging Neck and Décolleté Firm & Repair Cream, which has antioxidants, retinyl linoleate, and tightening polymers to tighten skin and reduce laxity. "You can certainly use the same retinol face products on your neck and décolleté—and, if you need an extra boost, try the Sio Beauty SkinPads, which are made of medical-grade silicone patches that firm, plump, and erase the appearance of telltale aging lines around your neck, forehead, and eyes while you sleep," she says.
Keep your dermatologist's number on speed dial.
Dr. Ilyas tells all her patients as they plan their wedding to keep her in the loop when it comes to their skin prep plans. "There are a number of 'rescues' we have up our sleeves to make sure you look great for your big day," she adds.