By Jennifer Steffy Swanson
More pictures will be taken of you on your wedding day than on any other single day in your life (no pressure there!). Abby Backlund, owner of Facing Thayer in Providence, offers her advice on how to get your skin looking (and feeling!) its absolute best.
Brides (understandably) tend to be stressed, especially as their weddings approach. We know stress affects muscles, but what about skin?
AB: Stress definitely affects our skin! Stress causes our adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which may increase the skin’s oil production and make us more prone to breakouts and blackheads. Stress breakouts are most common on the chin and jaw line, the area Chinese medicine assigns as representing the adrenal glands. To avoid stress breakouts, keep the skin in this area extra clean. Try using a skin wipe with some salicylic acid throughout the day. Another tip: Wipe your desk phone, cell phone and hands with antibacterial wipes. These touch our faces throughout the day and can transfer pimple-causing bacteria. Also, drink lots of water. Skin that is hydrated produces less oil and clears toxins more effectively. Plus, water helps diminish fine lines and puffiness.
Is there an at-home beauty regimen you recommend?
AB: It’s important to see a skin care therapist to determine the products that are appropriate for your skin and that will help you achieve your skin care goals. No matter what skin type you have, you should be cleansing morning and night, exfoliating with a gentle enzyme/hydroxyl acid exfoliant daily or weekly depending on the strength of the product, moisturizing, wearing sunscreen and using an eye cream. I also think adding a Clarisonic skin brush is a must — it’s an amazing investment for every skin type.
What type of professional skin and body treatments do you suggest?
AB: I think it’s important for brides to start having customized facials several months before their big day. Speak with your skin care therapist about your current routine, your skin care goals plus past and current skin issues. He/she can help you create a plan to reach your goals by the big day. For brides dealing with adult acne (which is so common) we suggest weekly high frequency treatments and monthly facials, along with a customized home care routine. For brides with dryer skin, monthly facials with daily gentle exfoliation at home and a great moisturizer and serum are a must.
Having a gentle body exfoliation and lotion massage a few days before the wedding is a good idea, too. It will ensure your skin is glowing and hydrated for the big day, and it’ll give you a chance to relax and distress. At Facing Thayer, we offer a Body Glow service that includes a full body exfoliation with an all-natural sugar scrub that’s removed with hot towels and is followed by a relaxing massage with a rich coconut oil-based lotion.
How many days before the wedding should you schedule your last facial?
AB: If you’ve been having facials regularly with the same therapist it’s fine to have that last facial two or three days before. If it’s your first facial in a while or with a new skin care therapist I would recommend at least seven days prior. That way your skin has plenty of time to recover on the off chance you have any kind of reaction to a product.
Now that our faces are glowing, what can we do for the rest of our skin: Specifically, what’s with those little bumps on the backs of our arms?
AB: Those little bumps that so many of us have on our upper arms and back are called keratosis pilaris, and they’re the most common skin stressor we address with brides. It happens when dead skin cells get stuck in the tiny hair follicles on our arms, cheeks, back or almost anywhere else on the body. The best treatment for this is to use a body wash with salicylic acid in combination with a gentle exfoliating cloth or buff. We love Dermalogica’s Ultimate Buffing Cloth because it has the perfect amount of grit to exfoliate. Plus, its fibers are antibacterial so it won’t make the problem worse.
And if you feel a blemish coming on the week of your wedding…
AB: Apply a blemish treatment with benzoyl peroxide directly to the blemish three times per day (my favorite is Dermalogica’s Special Clearing Booster). Facing Thayer Beauty Spa offers a high frequency treatment that targets breakouts and can speed up the healing process. Sometimes it can even stop a brewing pimple from emerging.
To sum it all up, what’s the best thing a bride can do for her skin prior to her wedding?
AB: My number one tip is to talk with a skin care professional who can design a home care routine and a manageable facial schedule that works with your budget and life. Establishing a relationship with a skin care therapist is important because they will know your allergies, the sensitivity level of your skin and what products and techniques give the best results.
Are there any don’ts?
AB: I strongly advise against any kind of cosmetic procedure that is going to dramatically change your look like lip injections, fillers or implants. These are going to change the girl your guy fell in love with, and you want to look like yourself walking down the aisle! Major decisions like cosmetic surgery shouldn’t be made during such a joyful, stressful and important time in your life.
For more information about the services at Facing Thayer (located at 297 Thayer St., Providence), or to schedule an appointment, call them at 331-4777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.