While I have a few minutes before my next facial client, it's got me thinking about 1. How infrequently I blog (Bad Suzanne!) and 2. How important good skincare and prep for your wedding makeup is. So I decided to blog a little blurb about taking care of your skin in preparation for your wedding day makeup look.
The most common issue I run into with brides is improper exfoliation. Either they are doing it too much or not at all. The skin should be exfoliated 1-2 times a week with a mild exfoliant, like a scrub made from ground cornmeal or jojoba beads. Since the FDA has banned microbeads, most scrubs use natural based ingredients, but just because it's natural does not make it better. Good scrubs will have spherical scrubbers that buff the surface of your skin evenly. Crushed nut shells, popular in drugstore brands, have jagged edges that can cause microscopic tears in the skin and actually increase aging over time. If you don't want to use a manual exfoliant like a scrub, you can use a chemical exfoliant instead. Something like a glycolic or AHA based toner or "peel pads". The stronger the concentration, the less often you should use it. Over exfoliation will actually lead to a build up of dead skin cells and a dull rough complexion as your body tries to compensate. It will also leave your skin's natural barrier thin and impaired, leaving you more prone to irritation, redness, and breakouts.
Acne and breakouts are not the same skin condition. Acne is hereditary and needs to be managed on a daily basis. Acne takes 90 days to form under the skin, and therefore it will take constant attention to good skincare habits to keep under control. Breakouts, on the other hand, are caused by hormonal fluctuations and irritation from products, dietary choices, stress, and bacteria introduced through dirty hands and items like phones or unwashed makeup brushes. They are more localized and usually treated when they flare up and are occasional spots. Many people confuse occasional breakouts with acne and use products designed to treat acne instead of those designed to treat breakouts. Acne products increase skin cell turnover, reduce oil, and fight bacteria. The concentration of ingredients can be very drying for skin that isn't acneic and can therefore cause rough flakey patches, redness and irritation, and dryness. Little bumps under the skin that never form a head and feel like tiny grains of rice are actually millia, and a common cause of those are dehydration in the skin- something caused by overuse of acne based skincare. Adding more moisture to the skin will eventually help heal them and boost the overall look of your skin. If you aren't sure if you have acne or just breakouts, I'd love to sit down with you and discuss it with you during a free consultation! I am a certified acne specialist, and I have a wide variety of skincare products in my studio to offer you solutions tailored to your skin's individual needs.
With improper exfoliation and overuse of acne products, I see a lot of people with very dry skin. As a society we are conditioned by the media to somehow believe that oil or shine to the skin is a very bad thing. Take a look at any makeup trends you see on social media. The skin is caked in matte foundation and an artificial stripe of highlight is added instead of starting with healthy glowing skin from proper moisturization. Healthy skin has a naturally dewy finish. Makeup will sit on the surface of the face more evenly and last longer if the skin is hydrated. Dry skin will suck up any moisture in the foundation and leave a residue on the surface that will settle into pores and fine lines. Moisture starts will adequate water intake, so don't rely on your moisturizer to do all the work for you. A healthy diet and proper skincare practices will do more for you than anything in a jar will, but a moisturizer in the proper formula for your needs can be the last piece of the puzzle to truly transform how your skin looks and functions.
Oil does not equal moisture, and oil will not hydrate the skin. The skin naturally produces oil to create a barrier, locking moisture into the skin and preventing bacteria and germs from entering. Oil is not a bad thing, but too much oil can break down makeup and make it slide around on the face. Instead of stripping the oil from your face with drying products, try upping your water intake, reducing the amount of exfoliation, and finding the right formula of moisturizer for your skin. By creating balance with your skincare and diet, your body will naturally begin to produce less oil over time. It's like training your scalp to be less greasy by shampooing less. It takes time, but balance can occur with patience. If you're oily in the meantime, use blotting sheets to absorb extra oil without stripping the skin or messing up your makeup. They are a super inexpensive way to cut down on shine while your skin adjusts.
Lastly, discoloration from PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation- dark spots left behind after a breakout), hormones, and sun damage can leave your skin looking uneven and blotchy. Exfoliation can help to brighten up the appearance, but adding in ingredients to break down excess pigment and inhibit the production of more are needed to really even everything out. The most important thing to remember when treating discoloration is to wear sunscreen. Or else all of your hard work will be for nothing, as your skin produces more pigment without protection. Some products like AHA, glycolic acids, retinol, hydroquinone, and some forms of Vitamin C can sensitize your skin to sunlight, making discoloration and irritation easier. You can treat discoloration at home with over the counter products, but for the best results a series of chemical peels or brightening facials in combination with professional grade products are needed to see the best results.
What does this mean for your wedding day makeup? Well, at your trial your makeup artist (hopefully me!) will go over your homecare skin routine to see what you are already doing at home and make suggestions on what steps you can take and products you can add to get your skin in tip top shape. But even if you don't, or more likely have stress-related skin concerns that pop up the week of your wedding, my kit comes fully stocked with the right products to temporarily fix whatever issue you have and help your makeup sit perfectly on top. The key thing to remember is that makeup cannot fix textural issues, so if you want to truly look flawless taking care of your skin at home is the best way to achieve that.