Many people dream of their wedding day from a young age but rarely do those fantasies include walking down the aisle with skin irritation, hyperpigmentation, acne, and other skin concerns. But unfortunately, that can be the reality of the situation, which can put a damper on the big day and the memories attached to it. That is unless people put the time and effort necessary into preparing their skin ahead of time to look its best when they say “I do.”

The Skin Report is a podcast created to educate listeners on methods to improve skin health for people of all ethnicities and ages. On this episode, host Dr. Sethi shares her secrets about preparing one’s skin for weddings and other significant occasions. In the six months leading up to the day of the event, people can experiment with skin treatments and products, address their skin insults, and even treat their aesthetic skin concerns. Dr. Sethi discusses the safest and most effective ways for people to transform their skin all the way up to their big day so they can feel beautiful and confident when they tie the knot.

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This transcript was exported on July 19, 2022 -view latest version here.

Skin care can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether it’s finding the right products, ingredients, or treatments. There’s a lot out there, but not always for women of color. That’s why I set out to educate myself and others so that we can all feel beautifulin our skin. Hello, and welcome to the Skin Report. I’m Dr. Simran Sethi, an internal medicine doctor, mom of three, and CEO and founder of RenewMD Medical Spa and SKIN by Dr. Sethi. This summer is wedding season, that’s why today I want to talk about howto prepare your skin, whether you’re getting married, just got engaged or are simply attending weddings.

Test the season to get married. According to a survey done by The Knot, it is estimated that there will be 2.6 million weddings this summer. In part, this is due to delays and rescheduling weddings that were meant to be thrown in 2020 and 2021. With the backlog of weddings for desired venues over the past year or so, many people are expected to tie the knot this summer.

Whether you’re attending or throwing a wedding, I want to talk about the best ways to prep your skin. And in later episodes, we’ll also dive into how to prep your body for that special day, and if noninvasive body sculpting is the right choice for you. For now, let’s focus on skin and what you can do leading up to the big day.

I’m going to zoom out and focus on the big picture and what you can do in the six months to a year before your wedding. Remember, if you’re looking for correction of skin texture issues or dark spots, you should definitely start that process at least six months before your big day, because these procedures take months to show final results. Now, if your wedding is sooner than this, don’t panic, we will cover what to do and what to expect at each point in the timeline.

At the end of the day, committing to some level of investment in your skin will make a positive impact on how you look on your special day. Let’s start with what skin treatments or products to consider in the six months to one year leading up to your wedding. This is a great time to experiment with skincare, cosmetics, and even medical aesthetic treatments. Usually, getting ready for a special event, like a wedding, motivates people to address skin concerns that they’ve had for a while, or encourages them to try something they’ve always wanted to try such as injectables like Botox or fillers.

If that’s the case, you will want to try these treatments out as soon as possible to give yourself plenty of time to see how these work for you. And don’t worry, if you try injectables and don’t like them, you’re not committed to them for life. Injectables like Botox will wear off after three to four months, while fillers like lip fillers can easily get dissolved and reversed whenever you want. If you end up enjoying your injectables, that’s even better, as there’s plenty of time to get them redone closer to your big day. In the six months leading up to your wedding, you’ll want to address any skin insults that you already experience such as acne. By consulting with a physician specializing in medical aesthetics, you can find a regimen to tackle hyperpigmentation, acne, or other issues using ingredients such as retinol.

We’ve discussed retinol before on The Skin Report. But just as a reminder, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. It’s great for reversing fine lines and wrinkles, targeting acne and increasing skin cell turnover to reveal fresher and more radiant-looking skin. With the medical grade retinol, you may see visible results in as little as six weeks. With less potent, over-the-counter retinal formations, it can take up to six months to start seeing a visible difference, which is why I suggest starting sooner rather than later. Always use retinol only at night and start slowly so that your skin gets a chance to adapt to all the skin cell turnover that it triggers. I suggest using it maybe one to two times a week, and then working your way up to a daily usage. Around the six month mark is also a great time to find a medical spa where you would like to begin your skin correction journey or try some injectables or both.

At RenewMD, we see new soon-to-be brides, grooms, or even wedding guests every week to put together a plan based on their goals. The same way you might invest in a wedding hair stylist and makeup artist, I’m a big fan of finding an aesthetic medical provider who can help guide you. The provider can recommend and perform treatments you may have never considered before and can also help get to the root of any skincare issues. In starting several months ahead, your aesthetic provider can get to know your skin type and tone as well as your lifestyle, timeline, and other factors that impact the health and appearance of your skin. Just as you may try different makeup looks, hairstyles, and even nails in the months leading up to your big day, you may also need to try different facials, massages, and other treatments to help resurface your skin.

In the 46-month window, you may also want to consider treatments reduce any hyperpigmentation and some spots. As we discussed in episode seven of The Skin Report, skin resurfacing is a great way to address texture and tone, from dark spots to scarring to uneven tone. This can all be addressed with lasers like PicoSure laser, one of the safest and most effective lasers to correct texture and pigmentation. PicoSure treats the dermis, the deepest skin layer to stimulate collagen production and correct pigmentation. By treating the deeper skin layer, the laser treatment becomes more effective at reducing scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and safer for all skin tones, including darker skin tones. It may take several treatments to get to the exact results you want, which is why I suggest starting at least six months before your wedding or any special event. If you do not have skin concerns like acne scars, wrinkles, or dark spots, the three months before your big day or someone else’s are a great time to start incorporating skincare products, such as face masks and ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid or AHA, beta hydroxy acid or BHA, and hyaluronic acid or HA into your skin care regimen.

Starting a few months in advance will still give you enough time to see if certain products or concentrations of AHAs and BHAs are right for your skin. AHAs or BHAs are hydroxy acids that help exfoliate the upper layer of your skin, removing dead skin cells. By doing so, your skin will appear more clear and even-toned, while allowing better absorption of serums and moisturizers as well. The great thing about AHAs and BHAs is that they’re in a variety ofproducts and come at different strength levels and concentrations. For more melanated skin tones, I recommend using lower strength concentrations because higher strengths can make the skin more sensitive and increase pigmentation. The next product to start incorporating is a hyaluronic acid, which does not strip your skin, but instead offers a nourishing and hydrating formula that helps protect the skin’s moisture.

Like anything new, it’s best to avoid trying new products for the first time if you’re only a month away from your wedding because you risk a breakout or bad reaction; and sometimes, these can take a few weeks to address. Even trying a new kind of facial a month before may not be a good idea, but getting a facial that you’ve had before even a week before your wedding would be perfectly safe. Finally, if you’ve been doing injectables like Botox or fillers, you can get them redone a month before your big day. But if you’ve not tried these before, I would steer away from doing them so close to your special day.

Let’s talk about what you can and should consider doing during the week leading up to your wedding so that your skin is glowing and ready for all the makeup, pictures, and action on your special day. A week before your wedding, you will want toget your last facial. Your last facial should not include any harsh chemical peels to avoid redness and irritation. Instead, you will want to focus on lower strength chemical peels, or microdermabrasion with a hydrating infusion.

The chemical peel or microdermabrasion will clear any mild dark spots and polish your skin to get it ready for deeper hydration. Prioritizing hydration will make your skin glow and minimize fine lines when makeup is applied. Right before your wedding is a great time to also get a facial massage. A facial massage helps sculpt the muscle and skin, providing more definition. It also helps boost circulation and drain the lymphatic system to reduce puffiness in any part of the face. You don’t need a separate appointment for a facial massage as it is usually part of a comprehensive facial, so just check to make sure your aesthetician will incorporate it during the facial treatment.

Now, finally, on the day of your wedding, the key to a beautiful glow is hydration, as hydrated skin will allow your makeup to spread better and keep it from taking in areas of the face where you have more expression, like under the eyes and around the mouth. To do this, make sure you start drinking a lot of water as early as two days before your wedding so thatyour skin is moisturized from the inside out. You should also avoid high-salt foods a few days before as this increases water retention that can lead to the face and body getting more swollen. On the day of your wedding, remember to apply a layer of hyaluronic acid above your moisturizer, and then start applying your makeup above that. The hyaluronic acid will lock in the moisture and keep it from evaporating off your skin through the remainder of the day.

Before we hop off, I want to say one final thing about your skin and wedding prep. At the end of the day, your skin is a sign of your overall health. While these skincare routines, ingredients, and treatments are amazing, they can only do so much if you are stressed. While wedding planning can be stressfuland it’s hard to avoid challenges, I would highly recommend remembering to take care of yourself, making sure to eat well without restricting yourself, as well as reducing stress by working out, yoga, meditation, or other mindfulness techniques can truly go a long way. Indulging in activities like the facial massage or a full body massage is a great way to also reduce stress. If you’re busy with a million things and may not have a lot of time to dedicate to staying active, I encourage you to try to prioritize your sleep, hydration, and just movement. Even a 15 to 30-minute walk or simply sitting outside in the sun can help boost your mood and lower stress levels. Sleep, healthy food, and reaching out to loved ones can be the best thing you can do for yourself and your skin.

If you’d like to learn more about science-backed skincare or medical aesthetic treatments, please subscribe to and turn on notifications for The Skin Report, so you always know when a new episode is up. If you have a skincare question or want to make an episode topic recommendation, please message me at, which is linked in my show notes. And I’ll be sure to answer your question in an episode soon. Thank you all for listening today. I hope you have a great summer full of fun plans and glowing skin.

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