Getting Clear Skin on your Wedding Day

Let’s start out by saying, if you are one of those people who have impeccable, baby-smooth, blemish free skin, this post is not for you. And… we can’t be friends. Only kidding. :)

I know that I wasn’t the only Bride out there struggling with acne. Acne is no new thang for me. I have fought a losing battle with acne for many years. I even joke to Mr. Knight that I don’t know how he ever fell in love with my crater face (over 8 years ago!). He always tells me that it’s what was on the inside that counts for him… and that he liked my booty. MEN!

So what did I do to get my skin looking like this?

photo by Starks Photography

It’s been a long, tearful journey my friends.

Throughout high school I was constantly plagued with painful, red pimples and all over (relatively minor, considering others) acne. My Junior year of high school I was prescribed tetracycline (relatively inexpensive, even without insurance) which seemed to help CONSIDERABLY. Having clearer skin gave me a new found confidence I didn’t have before. Eventually, I had to stop taking tetracycline (as it’s an antibiotic) due to it’s interference with BC.

I was bummed. I tried a few different BC’s that were FDA approved to treat acne. Every half-year I would change to a different brand (wrecking havoc on my system), trying to find the perfect combination of over the counter products, Rx products, and BC brand for my skin. 6 years later, I think I’ve finally figured it out.

Now, I don’t contend to be a professional at acne prevention, but I thought maybe sharing my regimen  (and the regimen of others), and what I did to prepare my skin for our Wedding, may help y’all. As always, please consult your Doctor/Dermatologist before beginning any treatment plan.

Here’s a few other tips (that worked for me!) in preparing your skin for your Wedding day:

  • Drink TONS of water. Seriously people, water is the KEY. Instead of reaching for that soda or coffee, reach for some water. It totally cleanses your system and your skin.
  • DON’T TOUCH your face. Restrict all need to touch your face. Don’t rest your chin on your palm, don’t rub your face, just don’t touch it at all. Trust me.
  • Wear little to no make-up leading up to your Wedding. I went several weeks sans make-up leading up to our Wedding. There was no way I was going to let something clog up my pours and cause a crazy breakout on our Wedding day!
  • Break a sweat, if you can. Working out and sweating is another way to pull all that junk out of your pours. Just make sure to follow up with a mild cleanser afterwards.
  • Alter your cycle*. I altered my monthly cycle (via BC) so that our Wedding fell during the time of the month when I had the least amount of breakouts.
  • Don’t pick at your face! If you have a pimple, resist the urge to pick at it. Picking at pimples and acne will only make the problem worse and can lead to an infection and scarring. Leave it alone and let your body do the magic, before you know it the pimple will be gone.

*I am not a Doctor. This is just what I did in preparing for our Wedding day. As always, PLEASE consult a Physician.

Products I currently use:

  • Estrostep BC (Pretty much DOES the job of protecting you against unplanned pregnancy and acne. For me, the brand runs around $90, and the generic around $35. I know, it’s expensive, but it’s been my little miracle and I’m going to pay for it as long as I can!)
  • Differin Gel (Can be very expensive without insurance, as I discovered. But, many dermatologists will give you a discount card to use on your first few tubes of gel. This often brought it down to a more reasonable price. Once I had a better control of my acne, I only needed about 1 tube a year)
  • St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub (2-3 times a week. All the other days I use a mild cleanser like Clean and Clear’s Morning Burst)

Now that I’ve regained control of my skin, I am looking into reducing the amount of products I use. Which got me thinking, what does everyone else use? So I posed the question to my Twitter posse on what they’ve found works best for them to control acne and break outs.

Twitter Posse responses:

ShelikesRuffles“Proactiv. Used it since age 13! Love. I also moisturize with oil of olay lotion. Awesome”

LandlockedBride – “I don’t have one set thing – but I tend to use organic and natural products. My skin responds really well to them.”

obxwife – “Just started Proactiv a few months ago and love it. I used to use Aveeno a lot and it worked great.”

Laurenetc – “Murad products are fantastic and anything with sulfur. Benzoyl peroxide causes scarring. I use a retinol cream at night and it has worked wonders to fade old acne scars.”

dianalapoint – “Anything from BeFine. Especially their brown sugar face scrub.”

jesstagirl – “For me, the only way my skin stays clear is by NOT washing it daily. True story. Only once, every other day in the shower.” Mr. Knight swears by this too, and he hardly EVER has break-outs. I think he just has good skin genes, but him and Jesstagirl could be on to something. Maybe we poke at our skin too much with products which causes it to freak the F out. Who knows.

OMGmomBLOG – “Drink lots of water and use a thick oil free night creme. That’s what I’ve done and now I don’t even wear makeup anymore. Aveline night creme. $$ but worth it! Spent 15 years with bad product of every $ range and this is best for me.”

If you have more than just a breakout here and there, and want to make SURE your skin is at it’s best on your Wedding day… consult a Dermatologist. But don’t wait too long. Make sure to do so 6 month+ leading up to your Wedding as many products and suggestions they give you take a little while to kick in (often up to 3 months, but give yourself a little wiggle room with 6 months).

My Dermatologist also said that if I did have a terrible, hard, painful pimple leading up to our Wedding, that I could come into the office for an injection (which would cause the pimple to go down, considerably, overnight). Have any of y’all tried that?

Don’t think you can afford to go to a Dermatologist? Call around and see what kind of prices for consultations Dermatologists are charging in your area. Mine was about $30-40 for visit (and I didn’t have the best insurance at the time).

Not ready to take the plunge with a Dermatologist? There are plenty of great over-the-counter products to try (listed above via Twitter Posse). Make sure to give yourself a few months of using the product before moving on to another product. Acne doesn’t clear up overnight and it often takes a few months of a strict regimen to regain control.

As for me, I’m thinking of trying OMGMomBLOG‘s Aveline Night Cream. In the past I have used RA Cream (equivalent to Retin A), and my skin was super glow-y. Not hyperactive glow-y, just the “I have super fabulous skin” glow-y. Laurenetc also loves RA Cream. I’ll be sure to update ya’ll in a few months with my results and how I feel about the product. Plus, it’s a cream that helps combat the effects of aging on your skin, SCORE! I know I’m only 24, but as Seminole Bridesmaid always says “It’s never too early.”

Today, I’m so thankful for my skin. I have worked hard to get it where it is today. I know y’all probably want to see a “before” picture. When I have the balls to post it, I will. I’m not there yet.

Sure, I have my moments where I feel a pimple beneath the surface and I don’t want to leave the house, but in the end I know that it could be a lot worse.

How do y’all deal with breakouts? What products do you swear by? And for those struggling with bad acne, hang in there! You’ll eventually find the regimen that works for you!

13 Comment

  1. Brandi says:

    I struggled with acne for years. I tried proactive, I tried every over the counter products, differin, retin-A, and a whole slew of other creams and antibiotics from a dermatologist. I even went on Accutane in high school. Nothing worked.

    Then I went to a different dermatologist, who finally gave me the right diagnosis: rosacea. Turns out persistent acne may not actually be acne, so a dermatologist is super important if you’re struggling!

    A lot of your tips do make my skin less inflamed, even though my condition is a little different – water, water, and more water!

  2. Since I’ve gone off BC, my skin got all wonky. Proactiv did an amazing job clearing up my pimples but I’ve found it’s not so great for make-up removal, that’s where my Aveeno obsession comes in. I love using it right before bed to get squeaky clean.

    Your recommendation for St. Ive’s scrub is great too! I often use that once or twice a week for a good scrub down. :)

  3. Anni says:

    Potentially awkward question, but do you get any side effects from that BC? I know everyone’s body is different, but I’ve been on 3 different pills. The first one (LoEstrin 24 FE) was great for about a year and then I started having side effects. After that I tried two more, both of which wreaked havoc on my emotions. I’m kind of hesitant to keep skipping around with all these hormones!

  4. Mrs Gator says:

    @Anni: Mostly the reason I was switching around was because of side effects too. I was on Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo and Yaz, which I like both because they made me in a SUPER happy mood that time of the month but had some other side effects that I didn’t like. So, finally I went BACK to Estrostep after not taking it for a few years. I’m pretty happy now. It’s hard to say what kinds of side effects each will give you because everyone reacts so differently.

  5. Emily says:

    I LOVE this post. Thank you so much. I too struggled with acne through my late high school and early college years. I got diagnosed with PCOS last year and I pretty much have it under control now via BC. My wedding is in 9 months and believe me, I am doing everything on that list to keep my skin as perfect as can be!

  6. Emily says:

    Great post! You are right to start 6 plus months out. I have just started Murad and like it so far, have managed to wean off all prescription products with it. Everyone is different. I went sans makeup for a week before the wedding and it made a difference.

    To add to your tips:
    -Monthly facials with extractions (I cried the first time but sometimes its the only way to remove blackheads) If you have scarring glycolic peels are amazing too. Some medi-spas associated with dermatologists can get insurance to cover facials, so mine were free.
    -MOISTURIZE, when your skin feels oily we tend to shy away from moisture, but it desperately needs it! Murad skin perfecting lotion, philosophy hope in jar or good
    -Have a great makeup artist:)

    Also the injections you are talking about are cortisone shots, it supposedly makes the pimple instantly disappear, never tried it.

    I could talk skin care all day aaahhh! Love this article

  7. Emily says:

    OH, and one of my brides told me the other week to schedule your wedding?alter your cycle to when you are OVULATING, because that is when you and your skin is most beautiful. Thought it was interesting.

  8. Erin says:

    This is a great Post. I totally agree with all the things u recommended- esp. the water and no touching part! I have to COMPLETELY change my whole skin care regimen every season so keep in mind that something that works for the winter may not work for the summer. My skin is actually much better in the summer when I can just take my prescription Tretin X, a Retin A product, but it doesn’t work in the winter when my skin is more dry. I altered my cycle for my wedding too haha! seems drastic but it works!

  9. Jesselyn says:

    Yeah, I had horrible acne growing up. In middle school when I was not just scarred but awkward someone called me moon face. I have never forgotten it!

    These days, I use the Aveeno line which to me works great. Proactiv just dried out my skin horribly. So I try to go as gently as I can for my products. Aveeno Radiant face wash and scrub. And if I get a breakout (which thankfully these days are far less often), I use Burt’s Bee blemish treatment stick.

  10. Lauren says:

    Great post! I love that you included tips from so many people! Another thing I have learned that has made a HUGE difference in my number of breakouts is scrubs vs. cleansers. I’ve learned to never use a scrub when I’m having a break out (or don’t use it in the area the pimple is located). Scrubs just aggravate acne, making it take longer to heal….which is why I never understand using the Proactiv scrub twice a day while having severe breakouts. And I love St. Ive’s scrub, too! Sometimes drugstore brands really are the best!

  11. I swear by cetaphil. I use it everyday and have been using it for years. It’s delicate enough for sensitive skin and it keeps the breakouts away. I also use it with my clarisonic. I love it!

  12. Tati says:

    Omg can I please give you an AMEN on that St. Ive’s scrub. I swear by it! Also try the Queen Helen Mint mask. I use it right before and during my time of the month because my skin gets super oily and it gets all the oil out and shrinks my pores. You can buy it everywhere from CVS to Publix to Walmart.

  13. ana says:

    hello! can you please share your dermatologist here in Gainesville, FL. I have not find any derm that does cortisone shots here yet? i really need one!!

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