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A dermatologist's guide to wedding prep

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A dermatologist's guide to wedding prep
A dermatologist's guide to wedding prep

by Kathleen Morrison, Lead Writer

July 3rd, 2019

The weather is warm, the sun is out, the birds are chirping… you know what that means. It’s wedding season! Apostrophe’s very own Dr. Mamina Turegano recently got married and sat down with us to chat about how she dealt with wedding planning stress, how to get the perfect wedding day glow, and how to prevent mishaps the day of (answer: test everything – and we mean everything – in advance). Her key takeaways are about making sure brides keep things in perspective: it’s your wedding! Enjoy it!


Q: Planning a wedding is a big deal! How did you handle the stress in the weeks and months leading up to the big day?
A: I tried to get into a routine with meditation. If you are having trouble figuring out where to even begin with meditation, I recommend either checking out the Headspace app or the Ziva Meditation online courses. I also got into a regular exercise routine. Just taking time to myself every morning was helpful and making sure to spend time with my family and friends. If you’re really stressed, I recommend looking into seeing a therapist. The other big thing is to remind yourself to keep things in perspective (who cares if your invitations don’t have the exact font you envisioned) and practice gratitude every day. Reminding yourself what you’re grateful for can help with stress and general happiness, and it can be meditative, too. Of course, I say these things and don’t always do them, but we can all try!

Q: How about your timeline? How did you plan things out and how far in advance did you prep?
A: I recommend brides make an appointment with a dermatologist about six months to a year out from the wedding, not only to make everything pretty, but to address any medical issues like acne, eczema, melasma, keratosis pilaris (a super common skin condition on the back of the arms) – you want to get treatment for things like that as soon as you can because it can take a while for treatment to be 100% effective. Acne, for instance, can take a while to completely resolve.

If you are someone who is interested in Botox or fillers (not that anyone ever needs to do those things!) getting evaluated by your dermatologist a year in advance can be a good idea, too. Getting started on those things early lets you see how they look so you can make adjustments as needed before a final touch-up before the wedding.

In terms of skincare, getting started on a retinol or retinoid six months to a year out and making sunscreen a habit can make a big difference. Don’t forget to apply any treatments (and sunscreen!) on your neck, chest, and hands too! Those areas will probably be exposed with your wedding gown and you want to make sure they look just as good as your face. So many women come to see me about wrinkles and sunspots on their hands and now I always am sure to moisturize and apply SPF on my hands. Exfoliating cleansers with glycolic acid or glycolic acid pads once a week will also help your skin glow. Getting on a skin brightening antioxidant serum, like a vitamin C serum, or skin lightening cream is great and also helpful if you have any dark marks (like sun damage, sun spots, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

If you are looking to more aggressively address specific concerns like pores, dark marks, or sun damage, there are lots of in-office procedures to consider. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser treatments, and microneedling (which also encompasses the “Vampire Facial”) are all options to explore, and getting a treatment monthly leading up to your wedding can help with a particular concern. Of course all of this is completely optional! The most important thing is that you feel good on your wedding day.

Q: With so many different options and procedures, what did you personally decide to do leading up to your wedding?
A: We actually picked our wedding date about three months before, although I knew for a while that a wedding was coming so I had been prepping. I’ve already been using a retinoid and moisturizer at night, and an antioxidant serum and sunscreen in the morning along with weekly exfoliation with glycolic acid pads and cleanser. I personally began doing chemical peels once a month when the wedding got more real (I used the VI peel which helps with sun-induced hyperpigmentation and it also tightens skin). I had our aestheticians use the Laser Genesis on me to shrink pores and improve skin texture and tone. I also did a few treatments with the Exilis device around my jawline. This treatment uses radiofrequency to tighten skin. While I did not use it, the Clear and Brilliant laser is another good wedding prep option for evening out skin texture and tone, treating sun damage, and tightening the skin.

Q: What about exercise? You mentioned earlier that getting into a workout routine was great for de-stressing.
A: Yes! I really got into Orangetheory (Editor’s note: a few other Apostrophe team members also love Orangetheory!) and it helps that it was two blocks from my house. I also got into lifting weights which made one of the biggest impacts on my body and my body shape. Doing weighted squats with a barbell and deadlifts were the two exercises that made a big difference. I integrated lifting with Orangetheory, doing it once or twice a week. Closer to the wedding I got into bikram yoga, or hot yoga, to really sweat and detox once a week. Doing it more frequently can be stressful on the body since bikram yoga specifically is very intense. I think overdoing exercise is not healthy either because too much can be a physical stress on the body and can affect your adrenal glands and/or cause hair loss. That’s why it’s important to find a balance and start early so you have time to make gradual, healthy changes. And be sure to make time for fun things too! I really enjoy rollerblading so I worked that in as well.

Q: Any thoughts on diet and how that affects your wedding glow?
A: As far as diet, you want to be sure to eat as clean and as well as you can – in a realistic way. You want to start as early as you can, ideally a year out. I know it sounds so cliché, but fruits and vegetables play a big role in skin health, wrinkle prevention, and getting that glow. I think eating fruits and veggies are a great way to get antioxidants (which help prevent the breakdown of existing collagen), and I think it’s better than eating collagen itself (which still has something of a role in treating/preventing wrinkles). Eating collagen doesn’t mean you will make more collagen – you need to eat things that will provide the enzymes and the tools (think colorful foods rich in vitamin C, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other antioxidants), to help your skin. For myself, I tried to drink celery juice every day along with a smoothie with spirulina, spinach, blueberries, banana, pineapple, sometimes vegan protein powder or matcha, cilantro, and seaweed flakes (for iodine).

Some foods to avoid: processed sugar, artificial sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and processed vegetable oils/ canola oil. I would also recommend staying away from alcohol beginning about three months prior to the wedding. That will help a lot with decreasing abdominal fat and improving skin complexion. But I think mostly focusing on avoiding those processed foods and eating lots of fruits and veggies are the most helpful things to do diet-wise.

Q: Alright so we’ve been prepping with diet, exercise, and trips to the dermatologist all year. The wedding is just a few months away. What can we do at this point to get those last minute cosmetic boosts?
A: Well, if you want lashes for days, I recommend starting Latisse no later than three to four months out (you can always start it earlier of course). I didn’t start it soon enough and ended up breaking down and getting lash extensions, but I’m going back to Latisse now that the wedding is over.

At three months I would also check in with your derm to see where you are with your skin to see if you need to tweak or refine anything you’re doing. For people who have used Botox or fillers, you can do a touch-up one to two months out. You don’t want to do anything like that later than three to four weeks out because you want it to settle in and look natural. If you’ve never used Botox or fillers, but are maybe thinking about it for this special occasion (and you’re also on a budget) I would do a small amount about two months out, erring on the side of natural. That way it can be a little more affordable, and if you want a little more you can do a touch-up one month out from the wedding.

Q: A lot of brides are looking to get tan before their wedding day. Are there any specific recommendations you have for those who are looking for that sun-kissed glow?
A: If I were to do something like a spray tan before my wedding, I would start a few weeks out to give it time to wear off in case I came out looking too scary or too orange. If it turned out well then maybe do a touch-up the week of the wedding. But I really want to promote paleness as beauty! I don’t want people to feel like they have to lay out in the sun or spray tan to look nice. Being pale is a really big thing in Japan and something I feel like us as Americans could learn from them.

Q: Speaking of looking good, any makeup brands or products that worked great for you the day of your wedding?
A: I’m not a big makeup person, but my friend did my makeup for my wedding and I met up with her two or three weeks before the wedding to try things out. She recommended that I go to Sephora to find a good foundation that matches my skin and I ended up with the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, which I loved. I don’t typically recommend foundation because it can clog pores, but I really liked that one and I still sometimes wear it.

I also used the Hanacure mask to tighten and lift. I don’t recommend them for use every day, but I think it’s great for special occasions. Even just a hydrating mask is great for giving you that extra glow.

Q: Any regrets or last minute crises? I feel like every bride has at least one wild story.
A: I actually did go to a new nail salon because it was really cute on the inside and I wanted to get good photos with my bridesmaids. But my nails came out weird! I guess the lesson is to give everything a trial run before the big day.

Q: Ok! We’ve made it to the week of the wedding! What final tips and tricks are key to looking your best?
A: Stay away from salty foods that will hold water in the body, as well as refined and processed sugars and carbs. See your derm if you have any last minute issues like a giant zit! We can give you a local anti-inflammatory fast-acting injection or an emergency short term medication that can resolve something like that quickly.

Overall, everything I’ve said so far is completely optional and the most important thing is that you are getting married to a very special person, and it’s all about gathering together to celebrate love. Keeping that in perspective is the more important thing… but of course you also want to look good.

Q: What about for your honeymoon?
A: I went to St. Lucia, which was beautiful. I will say the saltwater completely ruined my eyelash extensions and hair extensions from my wedding, but at that point I didn’t care anymore. The biggest thing is sunscreen (I prefer at least an SPF 30 and zinc oxide for its broad range of UV protection) and a wide-brimmed hat. The honeymoon is your time to unwind and let go and forget all the stress!

I’m also a huge fan of doing sheetmasks on long flights! Airplanes are so dehydrating and a hydrating mask will save your skin and you will get off the plane looking amazing. Also be sure to drink lots and lots of water (and sit in an aisle seat!).

Q: Finally, any tips for grooms?
A: I know a lot of men get acne or ingrowns from shaving. My husband exfoliates using a Clarisonic in the shower right before he shaves, and it’s been great for his skin to help prevent ingrowns and keep his skin clear.


Congratulations to Dr. Turegano on her wedding and a big thank you to her for sitting down and chatting with us! You can find her professional Instagram @dr.mamina for more dermatology content.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Got more questions for our derms? Ask us on Twitter @hi_apostrophe or visit our IG @hi_apostrophe for more wedding tips and tricks!

Welcome to the fine print! Just so you know, this article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. It’s always best to talk to a doctor for that stuff.

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