The bride spends months, even years planning, imagining and bringing to life the wedding of her dreams. As you walk down that aisle you want to know that you did everything in your power to make your skin glow. It will make the wedding dress a lovely complement to flawless skin. But no matter your skin type the “glow” will not magically appear. You must plan and prep your skin for its magical debut.

There are simple steps you can take to prep your skin for the big day but you need time to rejuvenate and repair it. The last thing you want to do is to try new products and treatments right before the wedding. To get the best results start treating your skin and face 3-6 months before the wedding.

“Over treating or introducing new products to your face and skin right before the wedding often causes breakouts and red skin. It is your shocked skin reacting to what you are doing to it,” says Joy of Spa skin expert Janell Loving.

If you have already developed an effective skin routine and are managing specific skin issues, don’t change it; just be diligent in maintaining it. The reality is that the months leading up to the wedding are exciting and stressed filled. As simple as it may sound, managing stress well remains one of the best things you can do to minimize impact on your skin. Read on for skin stress relief tips as well.

3-6 Months Before the Wedding

Consult an esthetician:

Let a skin esthetician evaluate your skin and recommend a regimen leading up to the big day. Taking the time to do it right will have a significant impact on the look and feel of your skin on your wedding day.

During the evaluation you will want to learn your skin type and then determine the best products to use on your skin and face. You will also want to know how often you should be cleansing, exfoliating, hydrating and applying sunscreen.

There are 3 ranges of skin tone: light, medium and dark. A skin esthetician at a day spa or medical spa can help evaluate the best products and skin treatments to give your skin an even skin tone. The esthetician will look for dark spots, redness and any unevenness in your complexion. In addition, they will look for sun damage and acne scars that will give your skin a drab appearance. Once they evaluate your skin they can recommend products and treatment options.

Your skin type is very important because it will determine your approach to cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and protecting your skin in order to maximize its even tone and soft texture. There are 5 skin types: Dry, combination, oily, sensitive and acne prone skin. A skin esthetician can evaluate your skin type and help you determine the best products to use on your skin and face and how often you should be using them.

If your skin reacts poorly to stress, let your esthetician know and they may be able to give you valuable advice so you can be prepared for it.

The magic to glowing skin is rejuvenating its even tone and soft and subtle texture. It will make your skin look young, vibrant and beautiful.

Spa Facials

During a facial the esthetician will analyze your face and describe each product and the treatments they are performing in detail. They will clean, exfoliate, hydrate and moisturize your skin during the facial.

After the facial, you should receive a written list of all of the products used and and any skin recommendations. Make sure you share the wedding date so they can help you formulate a skin plan that will include additional facials and treatments. With the list of skin products, a regimen that you can maintain between facials, and the next facial scheduled you will be on your way.

If you get home and a product produces a reaction to your skin, make sure you call the spa and let them know. They will want to reevaluate their plan and provide you with alternative products to use.

Many spas allow you to return the unused portion of a product if it causes a reaction on your skin. High-end skin product companies routinely encourage spas to refund or exchange products and will allow the spa to return the unused portion for a credit toward their next order. This allows the spa to promote a product line and ensure that the product recommendations are appropriately tailored to each individual.

Make an appointment for your next facial before you leave the spa. The more consistent you are in managing the process, the better your skin will look on your wedding day.

Body Exfoliation and Spray Tan

You found your wedding dress months ago and now you are getting your final fittings. Have you found your athletic, farmer tan fighting the beauty of the dress? I imagine there are plenty of brides in this situation without a solid plan for resolving their skin tone/dress conflict.

I consulted the Joy of Spa skin experts and arrived at a solution that might just be helpful to active brides out there.
  • Three months prior to the wedding go to one of your favorite local spas for a salt body glow treatment. The goal is to get exfoliated from head to toe and get rid of all the dead skin on your body, especially in areas where the skin will be exposed when you wear the dress. This will make your skin glow and ensure a more even and professional looking spray tan.
  • Next, go to a reputable spray tan salon for a light-medium spray tan, it all depends on your skin tone. The goal is to even out the light and dark areas of your skin so you can enjoy wearing the dress.
  • By doing these 3 months before the wedding you can plan, adjust and decide if a spray tan is for you. You will be able to see what works and how your skin reacts to the spray. Make sure you spray tan a few times before the wedding so you can perfect the process.
  • The salt body glow followed by a perfected spray tan about 3 days before the wedding will allow the spray tan to absorb and look its best.
  • Spray tans are messy so make sure you have icky clothes to wear home from the salon. It will smell funny, too, but for best results you need to wait 12-24 hours before showering.

If you plan to get a spray tan, become an exfoliation/ spray tan expert before the wedding. Eliminate the mystery and the questions well before your big day. The last thing you want is to have an orange hue to your skin on your wedding day.

Hard Core Skin Treatments Require Professional Help

If you decide that facials are not going to give you the look you want on your wedding day, you can consult a dermatologist about achieving the skin tone and texture you're seeking. It is important not to trust your skin to just anyone, especially when you are choosing stronger skin enhancement procedures. Find a dermatologist that has a great reputation and strong credentials.

Chemical Peel

There are a variety of chemical peels that range from gentle to strong and are appropriate for specific skin types and treatment needs, so make sure your skin can tolerate a chemical peel. A chemical peel will take off the top layer of your skin to accelerate skin cell rejuvenation. There is some downtime for healing, but once the discolored skin is gone and it heals there should be a noticeable difference in your skin. Check with your dermatologist to determine how many chemical peel treatments are recommended with the time you have left before the wedding.


A procedure performed in medical spas and doctor’s offices, microdermabrasion removes the top layer of the skin. It is designed to eliminate damaged skin and reduce the appearance of scars and dark skin spots. This treatment method can be effective for patients with acne scars but may require a consistent, long-term plan that should be determined in concert with your dermatologist.

There are other treatment options that your dermatologist may recommend. They include, Intense Pulsed Light(IPL), Plasma Resurfacing, Laser treatment and Botox.

Two months before the wedding

The stress surrounding the wedding is mounting and the list of undone tasks is growing. This is when all the built up stress really hits you and your skin can react in a bad way. Regardless of your skin type, you may experience skin problems relative to the amount of stress and over-excitement you are experiencing in the months before the wedding.

You probably know how your skin reacts to stress; college finals and job interviews come to mind. Ask your skin esthetician to recommend things that can help minimize what you know awaits when you are stressed.

During times of extreme excitement sensitive skin in particular can experience upheaval and be most affected by it. Spa experts warn against any skin product or regimen change. Keep up with your current skin routine of hydration, sleep and staying out of the sun to help avoid the “Shocked Skin” reaction to stress.

This is when your environment and lifestyle can make your skin go haywire. The variables that can most affect the texture of your skin include hydration, antioxidant foods, SPF, hormones and your lifestyle.

Help combat the stress factor from outing it's self on your skin by:

  • Hydrating your skin.
    • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (more if you are exercising).
    • Use hydrating lotions.
    • Use hydrating masks as recommended.
  • Exercise.
    • Sweaty workouts will relieve stress and activate your sweat glands, boost circulation and promote beautiful, healthy skin.
    • Take up Yoga to minimize stress and strengthen your body.
  • Stay out of the Sun.
    • Use a minimum of 30 SPF all over your body before you leave for the day. If you are out in the sun make sure you reapply the sunscreen on a regular basis.
    • Keep covered.
    • Avoid unattractive suntan lines that will make your dress look ridiculous.
  • Sleep.
    • Doctors recommend 8 hours of sleep a night. Adequate sleep can have restorative effects on our skin, and it gives time for the body to heal and repair. Also, enough sleep helps to diminish dark, puffy circles under the eyes and bloodshot eyes.
  • Watch what you eat.
    • Load up on foods that are rich in antioxidants.
    • Eat healthy and let food nourish your body.
  • Keep skin damaging lifestyle choices to a minimum.
    • If you smoke, stop already-it is absolutely horrible for your skin.
    • Eliminate alcohol consumption, no excuses.
    • Stop using any harsh skin products. Many people overdo it with their skin routine and end up damaging their skin in the process. A gentle hand is best for your skin.

One Month before the Wedding

You are in the home stretch; the distant ring of wedding bells keeps you going at this point in the game. The wedding date is approaching fast and you are busy and very stressed.

Schedule your last facial for 3-4 days before the wedding. Make sure the technician is gentle; a light touch is best right before the big day. If you need to do extractions, plan to have that done a month before the wedding. You could break out after extractions and that is the last thing you want on your wedding day.

Drink lots of water

This is an important habit to establish long term but right now you really need it. It is easy to become dehydrated and that is not good for the bride.


It seems impossible to get the standard 8-hour of sleep in the month leading up to the wedding but saggy eyes are not good for a bride.


If you need any facial waxing, especially eyebrows or above the lip line make sure you have it done at least 2 weeks before the wedding.

The best skin and stress reducing advice for any bride leading up to the wedding is to delegate, delegate, and delegate. You will reach your limit and the best way to reduce it is to say YES when help is offered.

  • Make a list of tasks that others can perform.
  • Recruit the right person for each project and task.
  • Once you hand the task over, give them the power to act on your behalf.
  • Allow for imperfections.
  • Give them timeframes, limits, and instructions before you send them out to complete the task.

Doing too much of any one thing will have a detrimental effect on your skin. This is all about rejuvenation, healing and caring for your skin during the months leading up to your wedding.

There is nothing more lovely than a bride shining bright and glowing in a dress meant just for her. Invest adequate time and effort in your skin now to reap the benefits on your wedding day-you deserve it!

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Read more in 2009 - Summer, Wedding, Women