For more than 70 years, thousands of brides have traveled to Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City to find their wedding day looks. From the moment you walk through the doors, you’ll feel the magic of Kleinfeld. Not only does Kleinfeld have 30,000 square feet filled with the largest selection of wedding dresses in the world, it also has the greatest professional staff of over 200 employees who are dedicated to finding and perfecting your bridal look.
While it’s always important to always follow a structured skin care regimen, many brides want to know what else they can add to their skincare routine leading up to their wedding day. With many weddings around the country postponed until the fall and winter, we decided to speak to Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist, clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone, and founder of Entière Dermatology to get the scoop on how brides should take care of their skin this summer. It’s all about fun in the sun, but don’t forget to think about your skin! After all, you do want healthy, glowing skin as you walk down the aisle, don’t you?
With weddings being postponed until the fall or winter, how does a bride keep her skin safe in the sun this summer?
“The sun is the biggest contributor to not only increasing your risk of skin cancer but developing early photoaging with fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots,” explains Dr. Levin. She recommends the following to all of her brides:
1. Apply sunscreen every day, even if you’re working from home.
You might not think that you’d need to wear sunscreen indoors if you’re shaded from the sun, but think again. “UVA rays penetrate through windows and are the main contributor to worsening pigmentation,” she explains. If you’re planning to be outdoors for more than 2 hours, also make sure you’re reapplying. “Sunscreen only lasts for 2 hours so if you’re going out for a walk or run midday, you need a fresh application of sunscreen to keep you protected from the sun’s damaging rays,” Dr. Levin says.
2. Brighten your skin with Vitamin C.
Vitamin C antioxidant serums are a great way to protect the skin from free radical damage—caused by infrared, heat, and UV radiation, she suggests. Plus, they help to brighten the skin and give you an overall refreshed look. “My personal favorite is Isdin Melaclear which not only has L-ascorbic acid but other antioxidants and phytic acid to correct brown spots,” explains Dr. Levin.
3. Exfoliate and use retinoids in moderation.
The summer heat causes our skin to produce more sweat, oil, and sebum (skin cells), explains Dr. Levin, so make sure you’re taking time to regularly exfoliate to improve the texture of your skin, but also any hyperpigmentation. The summer is also an important time to keep up with your retinoids if you use them, but make sure it’s in moderation. “Vitamin A derivatives are the gold standard when correcting sun damage and evening out texture and tone, but be mindful of not overdoing it,” she explains. “The acceleration of skin cell turnover from retinoid use can make the skin more sensitive to the sun,” In turn, this can cause further sun damage if not coupled with sunscreen.
Are there differences between sunscreen for the face and body? What should a bride look for in both?
There are definite differences between skin and face sunscreens that you should be mindful of, explains Dr. Levin. “The face is more sensitive to irritation and more at risk for clogging pores and triggering breakouts,” she says. With that, make sure you’re using a sunscreen formulated for your face, with words like non-comedogenic (non pore-clogging) listed in its details. But either way, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for both the body and face, says Dr. Levin. “It’s important to make sure you use a nickel-size amount for the face and a shot glass amount for the entire body from the neck down,” she recommends.
How can a bride get her acne or breakouts under control?
“With the summer and mask-wearing, many of our brides are breaking out,” says Dr. Levin. Acne can be treated in many ways, but the most important thing to remember is to see a board-certified dermatologist who can properly assess and decide what treatments are best for you, she urges. Learn about the ways she treats acne at her practice, below.
1. Topical medications combined with a skincare routine.
“I often will prescribe topical medications, however, I always emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy and hydrated skin barrier by moisturizing, gentle cleansing (rather than harsh over-cleansing or too much exfoliation), and simplifying your skincare routine,” explains Dr. Levin. While “more is more” with your 20 step skincare routine might feel right, sometimes doing too much can actually have a negative effect on your skin, drying it out and making acne worse. “I recommend a gentle hydrating cleanser, an active topical medication, moisturizing, sunscreen, and then adding one additional product at a time as long as the skin isn’t irritated,” she suggests.
2. Topical retinoids, anti-inflammatories, or exfoliators.
“Retinoids are the absolute backbone of an acne treatment since they treat and prevent acne by declogging pores by normalizing skin cell turnover and act as an anti-inflammatory,” explains Dr. Levin. Now, with an over-the-counter retinoid available, this treatment option can be available to anyone. As far as anti-inflammatories go, there are many medications to choose from, one of which is benzoyl peroxide—which works as a great anti-bacterial agent, preventing the bacteria that causes acne from growing. Finally, Dr. Levin’s favorite chemical exfoliators are alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid—another great way to promote cell turnover and help with acne.
3. Long and short term oral medications.
Dr. Levin usually recommends two different types of acne medications based on long or short term use. “Antibiotics are used to slow or stop the growth of bacteria but mainly as an inflammatory medication for short term use,” she explains. The best long-term option for acne sufferers? Spironolactone. “Spironolactone is probably my favorite go-to medication for female adult acne (think cystic deep tender lesions on the jawline and chin),” says Dr. Levin. Believe it or not, Spironolactone is an androgen (testosterone) blocker—meaning it helps to block masculine traits, like increased oil and sebum production—typical of hormonal acne.
4. In-office procedures.
Dr. Levin provides a multitude of in-office procedures you can try before your wedding to help clear acne and brighten your skin. Options like fractionated resurfacing laser treatment (reduces pore size, fine lines, and inflammation), antibacterial and anti-inflammatory blue and red LED light treatments, chemical peels, and extractions. Woke up with a pimple or cyst? Opt for an injection of corticosteroid—it helps decrease pain and inflammation.
5. Diet and lifestyle changes.
“Diet is always a question I get,” explains Dr. Levin. “Data and research currently supports that a diet that has a high glycemic index (which elevates blood sugar levels) and dairy consumption (hormone levels in dairy) can increase the risk of acne,” she explains. In terms of other lifestyle changes, her biggest suggestion is resisting the urge to pick at your breakouts, no matter how tempting. “Avoid picking because it will make it worse and causes post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that makes the mark lasts for months after it has cleared up,” she explains. Give your skin time to heal—you’ll be thanking yourself later!