Meet Spotlyte™ columnist Cori Zeichner, a 38-year-old mother of two who is married to a dermatologist. As the DermWife™, she shares the skincare and aesthetics secrets she’s learned from living with a dermatologist.
You've imagined every detail of your picture-perfect wedding from the band and the gown to the flowers, and — of course — gorgeous photos to capture it all. However, it’s not just the photographer or the lighting that are important to consider: How will your complexion look in each image? This is a key detail that you’ll want to plan, too. After all, you want to look like the best version of yourself on the big day, free of brown spots and lines, which sometimes can be a bit of a challenge without professional help. Luckily for me, saying yes to the ring meant my skincare and aesthetics fate was also determined: I married a dermatologist.
If you’ve been inconsistent with how you take care of your face, let your wedding day be your goal for greatness. Here's a rundown of how I adjusted my regimen to achieve a smooth, glowing appearance when I walked down the aisle.
If you have skincare and aesthetics goals in mind, meet with a professional, pronto. By the time you’ve booked your venue, you should have your dermatologist picked out, too. For those of you not marrying into the field, set up an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist to put a skin and aesthetics treatment plan in place. (Learn more on how to pick a credible provider here.) Whether you want to even skin pigmentation or clear up acne, it can take months to achieve results, so don’t wait. Just as you can't drop two dress sizes overnight, skin can’t clear up that quickly, either.
Start a regimen. As soon as we got engaged, Dr. Z designed a simple wedding skincare routine for me. His basic premise was to protect the skin from the environment during the day and to repair it in the evening. While product brands have changed throughout the years, the basic regimen has stayed the same since I got engaged. In the morning, I use a gentle skin cleanser (my go-to is Neutrogena® Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, $8), an antioxidant serum containing vitamin C, like Drunk Elephant® C-Firma® ($80), and a sunscreen — I use Supergoop!® Unseen™ SPF 40 ($32). In the evening, I apply moisturizer, specifically Crème de La Mer® ($175). It’s a splurge, but it hydrates without feeling oily. I top it off with a prescription-strength retinoid, tretinoin, prescribed by Dr. Z.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by those who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
Stick to the plan, even if you’re not seeing results. Though the regimen I use is simple, actually sticking to it is the challenging part — and it was my wedding that finally inspired me to stay loyal to my skincare products. Just like going to the gym to tone, you need to stay motivated to continue using the same formulas regularly. I had a short lead time for the wedding — we were only engaged for six months before the big day — which really drove me to be consistent with my application. I used to give up on products when I didn’t see instant changes, but now I have learned that it takes weeks or even months for your skin to adjust to products, and for their effects to kick in. The glowing skin I had on my wedding day was the result of months of dedication.
Don’t experiment with new formulas. Having experimented with more skincare products than I can count, my best advice for a bride-to-be is to not try new products right before the wedding. For example, if you tend to have sensitive skin, now is not the time to try a new at-home chemical peel, while those with acne-prone complexions shouldn’t dive into a new jar of an ultra-rich moisturizer. The last thing you want is a rash when you are finalizing those last-minute details. Your skincare, like your dress, should be planned and purchased way in advance. Consult with your dermatologist if you want to incorporate anything new.
Consider in-office treatments. When I started to see wrinkles when my face was at rest, I knew I wanted professional treatments, so I talked to Dr. Z about injectable wrinkle reducers. He judged me to be a good candidate for them, and we strategically planned out when I would get my treatments before my wedding.
Dr. Z had told me that he will not administer a wrinkle reducer treatment for the first time right before the wedding because he wants patients to know and experience what the effects are like. (After all, your wedding photos are forever!). So, he advises brides to test out treatments well in advance of their wedding to make sure that they are happy with the results (similar to how you’d do a makeup trial before booking the artist!). Then, he does the final treatment a few weeks before the big day so it has time to kick in.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
If you’re determined to be a candidate, you could also try other medical aesthetics treatments, like lasers and peels. These can help improve skin tone, texture, and even redness and blotchiness. I personally had a Fraxel® laser treatment about three months before my wedding to lighten pesky spots, a memento from years of unprotected sun pre-Dr Z. We timed the appointment this way so that I would be freshly treated, but have enough time to heal without cutting it too close to the ceremony. After the treatment, I soothed my new complexion a few times per day with a skin barrier repair cream. La Roche-Posay® Cicaplast® ($15) is a great option to help protect the skin as it recovers.
While this all may sound like a lot of dedication, it was absolutely worth it. I looked like the best version of myself on my wedding day.
So there you have it, wedding-ready skin: dermatologist recommended and DermWife™ approved!
DermWife™ is a trademark of Cori Zeichner.
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