Updated June 16, 2014.
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com’s Medical Review Board.
Congratulations on your engagement!
You want your wedding day to be perfect, from the flowers and music to your dress or tux. But if you have acne you have another big worry — how your skin will look on the wedding day.
Although nothing can guarantee flawless skin for your wedding, the right management can greatly improve acne. Follow these steps to help get your acne under control before your wedding.
As Far in Advance as Possible:
See a doctor and devise a treatment plan. You could spend months jumping from one over-the-counter treatment to another with absolutely no improvement at all. When you’re on a deadline it’s best to bring in the pros right away.
Acne treatments don’t work overnight, and you may need to try several options before hitting on one that works for you. Keep time on your side. See a doctor as soon as possible to ensure treatments have plenty of time to work.
Even if you don’t need a prescription acne treatment, your dermatologist can suggest effective OTC products, saving you time and money shopping around.
Discuss the possibilities for scar treatment. Your dermatologist will also assist you if acne scar treatments are needed. Usually, your doctor will want acne to be under control before starting a scar treatment program.
Even if you don’t have true scarring, many people find that as their acne starts to clear they are left with uneven skin tone, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Your derm has treatments that can improve this too. Again, allow for plenty of time for these treatments to work.
10-12 Months Before:
Start a strict skin care regimen. A good skin care routine will include cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and sun protection, and will incorporate your acne treatment medications.
Head to your nearest day spa. You may want to invest in a series of facials. A well-trained esthetician can give deep-cleansing facial treatments and extract stubborn blackheads. She’ll also recommend skin care products if you’re feeling overwhelmed by choices.
One caveat: if you’re using prescription acne medications, get your doctor’s OK before having a facial done. And tell the esthetician about any acne treatment you’re using, even over-the-counter products.
8-10 Months Before:
Book a makeup artist. If you’re opting to have a pro do your makeup, now is the time to start lining one up. Meet with a few makeup artists, and let them show you their work.
A good makeup artist can help camouflage breakouts, so even if your skin isn’t quite perfect by the time your wedding arrives, at least it can look like it is. The best makeup artists are busy, so book your date well in advance.
Grooms — ask your bride-to-be’s makeup artist to carve out a few minutes to touch up any blemishes you have. Don’t worry, this is a common practice and the results are very natural. Many makeup artists offer this service as part of a package.
6-8 Months Before:
Take stock of what’s working, and what isn’t. Let your doctor know how the treatments are working. Are you noticing side effects? Are you seeing improvement? There’s still time to try another treatment if needed.
Often, acne treatments don’t work well not because they aren’t effective, but because they aren’t being used correctly. Make sure you know exactly how to use your treatment, and follow these directions exactly. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure.
4-6 Months Before:
Manage stress. By now you’re totally immersed in wedding-planning details and starting to feel the pressure. A few studies have shown a link between acne severity and stress . There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence as well.
Take plenty of time to de-stress. Try yoga, meditation, reading, running, or any other activity that helps you feel more centered. If alleviating stress doesn’t help your skin, it will at least help you enjoy the wedding planning.
2-4 Months Before:
Continue using your treatments consistently. You’re busy planning all those last-minute details, but don’t let your acne treatments fall by the wayside. Remember, consistency is important, so no skipping days!
Also, don’t let your busy schedule preempt your dermatologist visits. Keeping them now is just as important as ever.
Even if your skin is clear, keep using your medications diligently. Acne treatments don’t cure acne; they just control it. Once you stop using them acne is likely to return.
1-2 Months Before:
Schedule your last facial treatment. If you’ve been having regular facials, get your last treatment done a few weeks prior to the wedding.
Don’t get a facial less than one week before the wedding, especially a procedure like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or even extractions. The last thing you want is a red or splotchy complexion for the wedding.
If you’re keen on having a salon treatment done, instead of a facial try a relaxing massage or body wrap instead.
1-2 Weeks Before:
Don’t try any new treatments. Now is not the time to start a new acne treatment or skin care product. The last thing you need is a reaction to a new product, or excessively dry, peeling skin.
Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze. With the wedding just around the corner, you’re starting to scrutinize your skin. Resist the urge to pop those pimples. Picking at the blemishes can trigger more inflammation and only makes acne look worse. Plus, makeup can cover a blemish more easily than it can a scab. So don’t pop!
1-2 Days Before:
Get a cortisone shot. It’s everyone’s worst fear — a massive pimple appearing just before the wedding day. Cortisone injections to the rescue! A cortisone shot helps reduce inflammation and flattens out those big blemishes, sometimes within a matter a few hours.
Talk to your doctor about the possibility of having a cortisone shot done before you desperately need one. Then, if the need arises you can be in and out, without a big fuss.
Day of the Wedding:
Relax! If your skin isn’t as clear as you’d like, don’t panic. Remember, makeup can do wondrous things. Let the makeup artist do his work.
If you are doing your own makeup, use a dab of green concealer to cover red blemishes. Cover with skin-toned concealer and a dusting of powder. (You’ll want to practice and perfect this technique before your wedding day.) Grooms — ask a sister, cousin, or female friend for help.
Enjoy your wedding day! Remember, your skin problems are more noticeable to you than they are to anyone else. Don’t agonize over pimples, just enjoy your wedding. After all the preparation, you deserve it.