Byrdie's Official Guide to Prepping Your Skin for Your Wedding

We would never want to burden you with more stress when it comes to planning your wedding—we know a lot goes into the logistics of it all. But because everyone wants their skin looking healthy on one of the greatest days of their lives, we decided to provide a little skin cheat sheet on how to take care of it leading up to the main event. We spoke to dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, and asked for her input on how to get your skin glowing by the big day.

Treatment Timeline

1. One Year/ASAP

According to Engelman, you want to start seeing your dermatologist at least a year before your wedding or as soon as possible if you're planning to have a short engagement.

"It is important to assess what can be improved with your skin by consulting with your dermatologist. Then you can create a regimen that will have you looking your best on the big day," she says. "Remember, it takes time to see real results. In addition, don't forget about the neck, arms and décolleté." Treatments that will be planned if you're able to see your dermatologist a year out include botox and fillers.

Apart from scheduling treatments in advance of your wedding day and rearranging product use based on ingredients, she also says to try to limit your processed food and sugar intake. "Keep in mind that dehydration and nutrient deficiencies can play a major role in skin health," she says. "Cut back on unhealthy foods the week before to keep water retention low and avoid puffiness. Get lots of sleep and drink lots of water."

2. Two to Three Weeks

"A facial with lasers, LED light treatment or a chemical peel should be at least two to three weeks before the big day," she says.

3. One Week

"For a cleansing spa facial, I would recommend at least a week just in case your skin has a reaction to one of the products," she says.

4. Night Before

"Try a strong chemical exfoliant, like glycolic acid, to weaken dead skin cells, reveal healthy cells underneath, and unclog any pores," she says. "Hydrate with an overnight mask to lock in moisture all night long. This will help prep your skin for makeup the next day."


Ingredients/Products to Avoid

Days, even weeks, before the big day are crucial crunch time in your skin prep. She suggests you avoid the following:

1. Retinoid like Differin Gel

"Retinol exfoliates the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, to help achieve these results. Over-exfoliation, which will expose skin, weaken skin-barrier function, and trigger inflammation in some cases. Since it is so effective, it can be too drying to introduce right before the big day, especially if used in conjunction with other active ingredients. There is an adjustment period with this active and should be avoided for such a big event," she says. Instead, she suggests introducing something like Differin Gel very early on in your wedding regimen, which is not something you'd do a few weeks before.

2. Chemical Peels

"Your skin is especially sensitive after a peel. Peels are high concentrations of active ingredients performed to correct skin damage," she says. "This is a great option a few weeks out, but not right before the big day when skin can be red or breaking out from a peel."

3. BHAs

"BHAs, like glycolic, are stronger and better at penetrating deep into the skin to target acne-related issues," she says. Instead, she would opt for an AHA. "An AHA, like lactic acid, will improve discoloration and spots, which is more appropriate for right before the big day."

As for what you should use the day of your big day, scroll down to see some of her product recommendations.