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Skincare experts agree that as soon as a bride-to-be starts booking venues and vendors, she needs to start thinking about her wedding skincare as well. In fact, six months is the amount of lead time that doctors and estheticians prefer for optimum results. The first step? Start by booking a consultation with a skincare specialist.

Age Appropriate

Vancouver dermatologist Dr. William McGillivray of Project Skin MD clinic stresses that depending on age, skincare concerns, lifestyle and time available, recommended treatments can vary greatly. Of course, you want clear, luminous skin. But achieving that is a drastically different process when you’re 20-something rather than 40-something.

Women in their 20s and 30s are generally concerned about early signs of aging, pores and hyper-pigmentation (sun damage). For these brides, McGillivray recommends Clear + Brilliant, a mild laser facial that can be done four to six times before the wedding. There’s virtually no downtime and the treatment is designed to diminish fine lines, leaving skin smoother and glowing.

For brides in their 40s-plus with more advanced signs of aging and sun damage, McGillivray has several options for non-invasive resurfacing. Fraxel is a more moderate laser treatment designed to dramatically lighten pigmentation and reduce rosacea/flushing (cost estimate $800-$2,000). Thermage works to help the natural collagen in the face contract, i.e., tightening the face ($1,800-$2,900). And Ultherapy goes deeper still, for a tighter and lifted effect (from $1,200). These treatments all have a more significant downtime, so plan to complete them well before your wedding.

Regardless of age, McGillivray recommends everyone use his at-home “skincare trifecta” (his go-to is the Skinceuticals line), which can be continued long after your wedding to prolong the effects of your skincare investment: 1. Broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen to prevent UVA/B ray damage in the form of wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation; 2. Vitamin C serum in the morning to help brighten skin; 3. Retinol at night to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

More Than Skin Deep

But when it comes to healthy skin, it’s not all about just the surface. Joy Stewart from Touch of Joy esthetics in Vancouver offers a bridal preparation program that emphasises a holistic approach, factoring in diet, sleep and exercise. “We design a personalized program for each bride’s demands, from [achieving] perfect, gorgeous skin to [her] target weight.”

Stewart provides a general schedule to follow, depending on your skin condition when starting. At six months, Stewart can begin addressing issues of hyper-pigmentation, acne and wrinkles. For scarring, treatment needs to start one year before the big day.

One of the superstar therapies at Stewart’s clinic is LPG Endermologie. Initially created in France to treat burn victims, it’s based on the principle of mechano-stimulation and helps stimulate circulation and promote lymphatic drainage. But with the right technician, it has the added benefit of breaking up fat storage, smoothing cellulite, reducing water retention and reshaping/toning parts of the body. And for the face, Endermologie can refresh like nothing else, creating a smoother and uplifted complexion, while relaxing and de-stressing your face overall. It’s an all-natural, non-invasive procedure that requires absolutely no downtime. (cost is $150/session, $845 for a series of six, or $2,600 for 20 sessions.)

Recently, Stewart reveals, she had an Endermologie client who dropped from a size 12 to a size 8. But she cautions that while her services can give brides a jump start on their skincare or weight loss, that’s only 20 per cent of the solution. The other 80 per cent needs to come from a clean diet and proper exercise (Stewart prefers low-impact, Pilates-based workouts). Not only will you look healthy and radiant on your wedding day, but you’ll be able to sustain the results long after — and that’s truly beautiful.

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Skin Essentials

Overnight Wonder

NARSskin Restorative Night Treatment is designed to help you wake up to a smoother, softer, revitalized complexion. The antioxidant-rich gel formula transforms into a lightweight oil that melts into your skin while locking in moisture. $95 at Sephora, Holt Renfrew, The Bay, Murale and narscosmetics.com

Brighten Up

Pesky dark circles? Cargo Double Agent Concealing Balm could be a lifesaver.

The kit contains both a cream and a powder concealer enriched with nourishing ingredients. The creamy balm blends easily and naturally, while the powder provides long-lasting coverage. $34 at London Drugs and BeautyMark.

Youth Secret

Regular Retinol users know what it can do to improve skin texture and battle the signs of aging. Still, treatments are generally reserved for nighttime due to the potential for redness or irritation. StriVectin Advanced Retinol Day Treatment SPF 30 is specially designed for daytime use without causing sensitivity. $109 at London Drugs, The Bay and Murale.

Sun Shade

Sunscreen is critical to skin health, but if you’re not a fan of greasy formulas, try Coola Suncare Face SPF 30 Matte Tint. Its organic mineral formula and silky-smooth matte finish is ideal for all skin types, plus it’s lightly tinted, making it a natural BB cream. $39 at Touch of Joy, Kiss & Makeup and other B.C. beauty retailers.