April 18, 2013 at 1:47 PM ET
You may be frantically focusing on seating charts and save-the-dates—but as the clock ticks down towards the big day there’s no need to stress about how to make your skin a priority. Celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau shares her easy timeline for getting skin glowing and spot free for your walk down the aisle.
Six Months Before: Start A Good Cleansing Program
“Six months is the perfect amount of time to ensure that your skin is clear, smooth and glowing for the big day,” explains Rouleau, who recommends following a gentle, non-drying, sulfate-free cleanser with an alcohol-free toner and moisturizer as part of a daily regimen.
For an added boost, start to incorporate skin serums. “When used under moisturizer they are able to penetrate deep within the skin for maximum performance and results,” says Rouleau.
Three Months Before: Up Your Antioxidant Intake
Forget the clichés—a beautiful complexion is anything but skin deep. Gorgeous skin actually starts on the inside, so Rouleau recommends adding beauty-boosting power foods a few months before your walk down the aisle. Berries, for example, are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that slow the aging process. Dark skinned grapes boast more than 20 age-defying antioxidants. Anti-aging citrus fruits and cantaloupe contain skin-enhancing vitamins.
One Week Before: Prevent Blemishes
As stress increases, so does the chance for breakouts. To keep skin clog-free, exfoliation is key. “This will keep off dry skin cells to lessen clogged pores and blemishes and help fade post-breakout scars,” explains Rouleau, who recommends products with exfoliating acids and enzymes.
Counteract bacteria with products that include salicylic acid and tea tree--and don’t forget to hydrate. “If you’re prone to blemishes, your skin needs water-based moisture to keep cells healthy to discourage dead skin cell buildup,” she says.
One Day Before: Exfoliate, Hydrate and Get Your Beauty Sleep!
“Using a mild exfoliant the day before your wedding will ensure that new, healthy cells are on the surface and makeup will go on silky smooth,” says Rouleau, who also recommends using a gel mask post-exfoliation to boost hydration. “They calm the skin from wedding-day nerves, and give your skin a smooth, healthy glow.”
And don’t forget to get a good night’s rest. “Sleep is not only important to keep dark circles at bay, but it is also the time when your body is most metabolically active, ridding itself of toxins which would otherwise wreak havoc with your skin,” she says. “Sleep also reduces stress, the number one aggravator of acne!”
The Day Of: De-puff and Control Shine
When your big day finally arrives, cruise through it radiantly by controlling shine and keeping puffiness to a minimum. “The simplest, fastest, no-fuss way to manage shine and wedding day perspiration is to blot--not wipe--the skin with tissue,” says Rouleau. “This will instantly absorb oil and moisture to keep the skin looking matte.”
And if you wake up feeling puffy, head to the fridge. “When nerves are at their highest, it can cause increased blood flow to the skin,” says Rouleau, who recommends keeping skincare products cooled. “Cleansing, toning and moisturizing with cool temperature products keep the skin calm and soothed.”
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.