If you want to avoid waking up with a spot on your wedding day then it's all about the prep. Get yourself into a routine weeks, if not months, before the big day to ensure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and looked after to minimise the chance of a spot appearing overnight. But, if you do get a blemish on your wedding day, keep reading to find out how to get rid of spots fast.
How do I help to prevent spots?
Skincare expert and international facialist Abigail James - who personally helped heal my bad skin - believes that diet and drinking enough water can have an effect on your skin's health (as can your hormonal cycle and stress factors). Before reaching for the salicylic acid, she advocates making sure you are hydrated and employ techniques to de-stress.
Paula Begoun, founder of research-driven skincare brand Paula's Choice, is all in favour of a clever routine. Her magic routine for blemish-prone skin is 'a combination of a gentle cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide product (available from your pharmacist), which eliminates acne-causing bacteria, and a leave-on exfoliant that contains salicylic acid (BHA).' As Beta Hydroxy Acid is oil-soluable, it works by loosening the bonds of the outer layers of skin to remove dead skin cells, clear out pores and soothe and hydrate skin. Despite having 'acid' in the title, they're actually much more gentle on skin than beaded exfoliants or cleansing brushes. By being educated about ingredients and their uses, choosing the right type of blemish product for your skin type can work wonders.
It's all about cleansing
It's an urban myth that using heavy makeup is to blame but in fact, as Paula explains, 'what really makes a difference is making 100% sure you get all your makeup off at night.' That means cleansing twice - use a gentle cleanser first, like Avene's Extremely Gentle Cleanser, (£10.50, boots.com) followed by a more targeted formula like SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel (£36.75, skinceuticals.co.uk). Then, make sure you've got everything off with Aveda's outer peace acne relief pads (£24, aveda.co.uk) for mild exfoliation to unclog pores without any harsh beads.
But what about moisturiser?
If you're skin's oily, you'll want to stick to a mattifying lotion or gel (stay away from heavy creams). Effaclar Duo+ Anti-Blemish Cream by La Roche-Posay (£15.50, boots.com) has earnt cult status in the beauty industry for its soothing texture that unclogs pores and helps reduce redness caused by blemishes.
For dry skin, try benzoyl peroxide's gentler sister Azelaic acid in Paula's Choice daily skin clearing treatment (£36, paulaschoice.co.uk), a light lotion that'll help smooth your skins texture with no flake in sight.
If you're concerned about ageing, Murad's Anti-Age blemish range (it has completely cleared up my bad skin), including the Advanced Blemish & Wrinkle Reducer (£45, murad.co.uk), contains collagen and retinol to stimulate cell turnover, plus salicylic acid to target spots.
Night time healing
To let your skin repair itself overnight, it's worth investing in an overnight product. 'The day before your wedding, use an overnight acne treatment mask to help prevent anything popping up while you sleep,' suggests Abigail. Vichy's Night Detox (£15.50, feelunique.com) controls sebum production and tightens pores so you'll wake up with clearer, refreshed skin.
What happens if a get a spot on my wedding day?
1. Treat it
The number one rule: Do. Not. Pick. It's so much easier to treat and cover up skin that is still in tact and hasn't been pierced by squeezing, tempting as it may be.
'Dab the affected area with a liquid salicylic acid product directly on the area and leave it to dry,' suggests Paula. La Roche Posay's Effaclar A.I. Targeted Breakout Corrector (£11, escentual.com) is great for fixing an on-the-day blemish, or Dr Sebagh's Breakout Spot-On (£35, libertylondon.com) helps speed up the healing process.
You could also create your own at-home treatment. A favourite of Alice du Parcq, beauty writer and bridal expert, is to crush an aspirin tablet (where salycilic acid derives from) and adding water to make it into a thick paste, then leaving on the spot for 10 minutes to calm redness and swelling.
2. Conceal it
Then: cover it, with some of the best foundation and best concealer formulas money can buy. You'll want a thick textured, long lasting formula like Benefit's boi-ing concealer (£17.50, benefitcosmetics.com) that can be blended seamlessly over powder or liquid foundation. Paula recommends Revlon ColorStay concealer (£6.99, boots.com) or Make Up For Ever Full Cover concealer (£21, debenhams.com) for full coverage that won't budge. Abigail's favourite is MAC studio finish concealer (£16, maccosmetics.co.uk) for maximum coverage.