These are the 6 treatments that celebrity dermatologists recommend brides-to-be

Written by Nateisha Scott

From LA to London, expert advice on how to stop stress impacting your skin.

We all experience stress. From familial commitments to navigating a new professional landscape and trying to care for ourselves post-pandemic, stressors are an unavoidable part of modern life. 

As anyone getting married will know, this stress is compounded by trying to plan and organise a wedding. Between guest lists, financial commitments, bridal attire and back-to-back appointments leading up to the big day, the toll can become apparent in your skin.

However, stressed skin can be tricky to navigate. “Stress increases cortisol (the stress hormone) in our body, which leads to an increase in oil production which spurs on breakouts and potential scarring,” explains dermatologist Dr Pippa Bowes. 

Long-term stress can have an even greater impact on skin, says Dr Bowes. “Chronic stress affects the skin over long periods of time and can lead to disturbances of the gut microbiome. This ultimately affects the health of the skin, which can then lead to blemishes, acne, dryness, redness, inflammation, eczema and psoriasis.” 

Between breakouts, inflammatory conditions, redness and sensitivity, your complexion can be constantly defending itself against further internal and external aggressors with a weakened skin barrier – resulting in an unpleasant cycle. 

But, with some expert advice and consistency, your complexion can find balance once again. To help, we asked leading experts for their recommendations for in-clinic and at-home treatments that will help to soothe, nourish and calm skin for a healthy radiance on your wedding day. 

1. Active ingredients

Stress can manifest itself in several ways, and an effective way to support the skin in-between facials and treatments is to integrate key ingredients that can help your skin day to day. “Vitamin C is highly effective for complexions that either experience dullness or inflammation because of its brightening and antioxidant properties,” says Dr Natalie Lindner, founder of Natalie’s Cosmetics. 

“I always recommend hyaluronic acid alongside ceramides and peptides to moisturise and plump skin, and AHAs like mandelic acid or lactic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. Other key ingredients are retinol, bakuchiol and glycolic acid for anyone concerned with texture, pigmentation or fine lines,” she explains. 

Dr Lindner warns not to over-apply products and confuse your skin – start low and slow with new ingredients and build up gradually. If you experience any dryness or further irritation from retinol or exfoliating ingredients, allow your skin some recovery time.

2. Consistency 

Sometimes treating your skin for signs of stress can be as simple as establishing a consistent at-home routine. 

“A regular pamper evening a few months before and a week leading up to the big day will allow you to regularly de-stress and treat your skin as well as dampen any stress-related skin flares,” explains Dr Bowes. 

“Retinols, vitamin C and salicylic acid are all useful in treating acne and breakouts whereas non-scented bath oils, emollient creams and ointments may be needed for dry to dehydrated skin and skin conditions.” 

She also notes that a regular routine or pamper evening leading up to your wedding day allows time to see what ingredients and potential treatments work for you. But, she cautions, “always patch test first, avoid retinol if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and don’t exfoliate if you have a dry skin flare-up or skin that is red, hot or cracked”.

For celebrity aesthetician and founder of Joanna Czech Skincare, Joanna Czech, it starts with balance. “I am always looking to balance and hydrate the skin first and then address specific conditions,” she explains.

At-home masking between treatments is a simple and effective way to continue looking after your skin between appointments. Opt for hydrating and soothing masks, primarily focused on the cause of concern. “Incorporating vitamin C in the morning and vitamin A at night with LED therapy will help skin impacted by stress.”

3. Light therapy

LED light therapy works wonders for stressed skin: it’s painless, non-invasive and available at clinics or with at-home devices. 

“Using photon energy filtered through primarily red, blue and near-infrared light, LED helps to stimulate and renew cells, reduces inflammation and acne as well as heal wounds and improve scarring by scattering the melanocytes underneath the skin,” says medical aesthetician Amy Peterson. 

“Using LED light therapy for several minutes every day can also help to improve fine lines, wrinkles and inflammatory conditions,” she adds. With no downtime or additional products required afterwards, it can be the perfect treatment to accompany a relaxing, unwinding evening.

4. Laser treatments

Often forgotten about but very effective are laser treatments. According to Peterson, laser treatments such as Aerolase Neo “can be used to eliminate the impact of stress on the skin”. 

Aerolase Neo is “an aesthetic medical laser designed to address a variety of skin concerns that can treat acne, scarring, rosacea, psoriasis and more. This laser is extremely comfortable as it requires no numbing, can be used on all skin types and tones and has no downtime.” 

This treatment is one to consider at least six months before the wedding, as enough time between each treatment is essential to allow skin renewal. If you are pregnant, you must seek medical advice.

5. Microneedling

Dr Yannis Alexandrides, founder of 111 Harley St and 111SKIN recommends Potenza RF Microneedling: “combined with radiofrequency: it’s a great treatment to tighten skin, treat acne and smooth texture,” he says. “For brides, we recommend starting this treatment six months before the big day, with each treatment four weeks apart and the last treatment no less than two weeks before the wedding.” Potenza uses ultrafine needles to stimulate collagen and elastin production to help rejuvenate skin cells and renew the complexion.

6. Hydrafacials

“Hydrafacials are an incredible treatment that can be utilised to combat the negative effects of stress on the skin,” says Peterson.“The process includes gentle exfoliation, suction of debris from pores, and nourishing the skin with intensive moisturisers. This treatment addresses fine lines, uneven skin texture and tone, and congested skin with no downtime.” 

Hydrafacials are also recommended by experts to be used in line with other treatments and products to increase efficacy, such as dermaplaning for smoothing skin and improving acne scarring, heat-based lasers to stimulate collagen production and plump skin, as well as Ultrasonic Facials which use high-intensity frequency ultrasound to loosen and remove dead skin, oils and dirt, and decongest pores. 

If trialling a Hydrafacial on its own, Peterson recommends a treatment every four weeks to ensure long-lasting improvement to the skin. 

7. Oxygen masking and cryotherapy

“These are two incredible pre-wedding treatments that’ll hydrate and soothe skin,” says Shani Darden, skin expert and founder of Shani Darden Skincare. 

Oxygen masking allows the hydrating ingredients to penetrate the skin’s deepest layers for maximum effort while the mask creates the perfect incubation. Additionally, Darden’s favourite is harnessing the power of freezing temperatures using cryotherapy (for both the face and body).

“Cryotherapy uses vaporised liquid nitrogen to cool the skin, offset inflammation, support healthy collagen production, tighten the skin, and minimise the appearance of lines and puffiness.” It’s a treatment you can do either once a week or once a month with no downtime, or invest in ice rollers and cryo tools for a more affordable at-home option.

8. Chemical peels

The thought of a chemical peel before the big day can be daunting, but skin experts swear by a gentle peel. 

“Before a wedding or a big event, I love to give my clients a light lactic acid peel,” says Darden. “It’s great for all skin types and is not overly harsh (so don’t worry about any red, peeling skin). It leaves your skin glowing and doesn’t cause any dryness.”

There are ways to treat a stressed complexion and, with time, your skin will certainly heal. However, while these experts recommend treatments that can help a stressed complexion, seeing a medical expert in person is vital to assess and treat your skin accordingly.

Main image: Getty

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