Go for the glow: Beautiful skin takes time

Dr. Anna Magee counsels brides on pre-wedding skin care.

You've picked the dress, planned hair, make-up, and accessories. But what many brides don't realize is that one natural accessory– skin– can't be made perfect overnight.

"People come in and give me a month to fix them," says dermatologist Anna Magee, who says she regularly sees brides worried about break-outs or wrinkles in the days leading up to their wedding. 

While there are a few quick fixes, Magee says getting gorgeous skin is a process that takes time– in fact, she says, brides should take a look in the mirror at least six months before their weddings to identify any problems they'd like fixed before they say I do. Making a skin plan, she says, is the surest way to glow.

Six months before: Exfoliate! Magee says she recommends mild glycolic cleansers and lotions, which gently remove dead, dull cells without causing irritation. For stronger glycolic peels, Magee recommends a series of several once a week followed by one per month for maintenance. Microdermabrasion is another way to unclog pores and let healthy new skin show. For some brides– even those in their 20s and 30s– getting rid of crow's feet or brow furrows is high on the agenda. Botox erases lines and lasts three to six months– Magee says the best results come after the second treatment, which also demands some budget power: each round of Botox can run upwards of $300. This is also the time for any brides considering laser skin resurfacing for sun damage and freckling. Such treatments, including the "V-Beam' and IPL, usually require multiple treatments and the total cost can run into the thousands.

Three months to one month before: Continue with exfoliation, says Magee, but if there are any more significant treatments a bride is considering, time's almost up. Lip plumping injections run around $400 and last four to six months. They need to be done well in advance of the wedding and any parties that precede it to allow bruising to heal. 

One week before: Don't exfoliate too much!  "Your skin is going to get dry and scaly," Magee explains. This is the time for a facial, if you've got the budget. If not, keeping skin clean and moisturized at home is key.

Day before: Make sure you're well hydrated– drink plenty of water, use good moisturizer, says Magee. Then look beautiful!