Preparing to get married and unsure where to start with your skincare regime? It’s not an uncommon tale. Questions I’m frequently asked as a beauty editor include the treatments to try, the skincare to use, and how to get that even-toned luminosity that wedding day dreams are made of. Here, aesthetic medicine doctor Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme shares her wisdom on which treatments are most effective, and exactly when to schedule them into your diary, to help you look like you, only better, on your big day.
12 months away
Optimise your skincare routine, using my five pillars of good skincare:
1. Cleanse effectively to clear pores and help prevent breakouts. Which cleanser you should use depends on your skin type. For sensitive or dry skin, opt for a gentle, non-foaming cleanser – those with very dry skin should opt for a cleanser with ceramides in it to hydrate the skin. Those with oily skin might need a foaming cleanser, and should consider using a formula that contains two per cent salicylic acid twice a week, such as the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant Toner, or Obagi’s Clenziderm.
2. Use antioxidants to boost skin glow: vitamin C is good for most skin types and helps with pigmentation, reduces free radical damage, brightens the skin and boosts collagen production.
3. Incorporate treatments. At this stage, identify your core skin concerns and add in ingredients to start addressing them. For example, if fine lines concern you, add in a retinoid, which will help plump the skin and work on them. If it’s redness, azelaic acid (which works to brighten uneven tone, calm inflammation and remove bacteria sitting on the surface of the skin), will be best, and for pigmentation, try a tyrosinase inhibitor, such as arbutin; it’s a safe skin-brightening ingredient that reduces melanin production by targeting the look of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
4. Moisturize. Oily skins should choose something oil-free or water-based, such as a serum. Dry skin types may be able to tolerate something creamier and thicker.
5. Use SPF daily to protect the skin from UV. Always use factor 50 and apply as the last step in your skincare routine in the morning, but before primer and foundation. Reapply sunscreen on top of your make-up – sprays are great for this.
Twelve months ahead of the big day, starting having monthly in-clinic facials. At my clinic, Adonia Medical Clinic, we recommend the Adonia Ultimate Facial, a bespoke facial which uses four technologies in one and is tailored to your skin type and problem areas. It includes a deep cleanse, a gentle peel to remove surface-level dirt and impurities, followed by either hydrodermabrasion or diamond microdermabrasion, LED light therapy and oxygen infusion to push bespoke serums to the skin for a final boost.
6 months away
Medium-depth chemical peel
To boost the effects of your skincare and address core issues such as hyperpigmentation, scarring and spots, I recommend going for a medium-depth chemical peel. Skin peels can greatly enhance the appearance of the skin. They come in three strengths: superficial, medium and deep and are applied to the face as a solution. The solution causes the top layer of the skin to shed, sloughing off impurities and mature skin cells. As the skin peels, healthier, tighter and more even skin surfaces, while discolourations are lighter, and skin tone and texture is improved.
To plump and lift the skin, consider incorporating a microneedling treatment into your routine every four to six weeks. The treatment involves the creation of thousands of tiny holes in the skin’s surface and its benefits are twofold. Firstly, these micro-wounds trigger a healing response, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. Secondly, microneedling creates tiny pores on the skin’s surface that allow for optimal absorption of topically-applied serums to boost the skin.
3 months away
PRP (or platelet rich plasma)
With your skincare routine nailed, a great treatment to have three months ahead of your wedding is PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, to add some extra glow. Sometimes referred to as the “Dracula facial”, PRP involves taking a sample of the patient’s blood and spinning it in a centrifuge. This separates the platelets from the rest of the plasma to settle in a concentrated form, and it is then injected into the patient’s face. It increases collagen levels, creates smoother, fuller skin, boosts general skin health, and reduces the appearance of scars and fine lines.
If you choose to have fillers, these should be done at least three months before the big day to allow time for them to settle.
If you choose to have Botox, you should have this six weeks before the big day, with a touch up at four weeks out.
3 weeks away
I advise going for no more treatments in the three weeks before the wedding, but do continue with a diligent skincare routine.
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Originally published on Vogue.co.uk