beauty

"I'm a GP and cosmetic doctor. Here's how I got my skin ready for my wedding in 6 months."

When my fiancé proposed last year (we were gloriously sweaty and gross at the end of a hike), “wedding skin prep” was NOT the first thing on my mind.

However, given my 30s have brought with them some serious rosacea, early fine lines and more prominent pores with a side dose of congestion (along with a sh*t load more body confidence!), I figured it was time to sort out my skin before the wedding.

After all, it’s the only time I’ll ever pay someone $5K to take photos of me.

I currently work as a GP, but have previously worked as a cosmetic doctor. So, I put my medical degree and my experience in cosmetic injectables to good use to completely overhaul my skincare routine. Here’s what worked for me, what sucked and what was just meh.

WATCH: Here’s seven ways to help your skin while you sleep. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

I started my wedding skincare prep six to 12 months before my wedding day.

Yes, six months might seem ages, but skincare is generally a slow burn as it takes time for your skin cells to turn over and for your new glowy ones to start making themselves known.

Firstly, I addressed concerns about rosacea. At its very worst, my skin was stingy, angry and covered in little bumps.

I saw a dermatologist (but often a GP with an interest in skin can give great advice too) who started me on Soolantra, a cream that helps control mite populations on the skin (EEWWWW) that can cause inflammation like this:

wedding skincare
My rosacea at its finest. Excuse the weird gym selfie that was never meant to see the light of day. Image: Supplied.
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My morning skincare routine.

I usually cleanse my face in the shower with the QV Gentle Wash ($17.99), which is gentle on my sensitive skin (thanks rosacea!). I did get a generous sample of Skinstitut Glycolic Cleanser 12% ($49) from Adore Beauty after a vigorous bout of online shopping, and found this was pretty gentle too, without stripping natural oils (these protect your skin barrier).

Then comes Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Toner ($29 - but they are almost always having sales). I’m not generally a believer in toner, but this one has Vitamin E, niacinamide to help with rosacea, and it’s hydrating. I mix The Ordinary’s 100% L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Powder, $9.80, into this for pigmentation, which I have high on my cheekbones. I can’t say I’ve noticed much improvement in pigmentation, but it can be a tricky problem to shift.

After my toner/vitamin C combo has absorbed, I use a salicylic acid on my T zone and around my crow’s feet around my eyes. I’ve tried both The Ordinary’s 2% Salicylic Acid Solution ($9.80) and Paula’s Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($38). I like the Paula’s Choice version as it absorbs a bit better. Salicylic acid is a BHA that helps to decongest pores and smooth fine lines.

Then, I use The Ordinary’s (are you sensing a theme here?) Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($14.50) on those pigment patches on my cheekbones, down my neck and decolletage, and also on my upper arms to help with some keratosis pillaris chicken skin bumps (fun!). Glycolic acid is an AHA that helps with exfoliating and reducing fine lines.

After this, I use bakuchiol moisturiser or serum. I’ve tried a few different versions of this. The concept is that it acts similarly to a retinol (great for reducing fine lines, spots, pigment, literally everything) but is safe to use in the daytime and is more gentle on sensitive skin. Honestly, I haven't noticed much of a result, and after I finish the current bottle I don’t think I’ll go back to it.

My skin is often pretty well hydrated by now, so I’ll just use Neutrogena’s HydroBoost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen (SPF 50+, about $10) to finish off. If my skin is feeling a bit dry, I’ll use CeraVe Daily Moisturising Lotion ($14) first. This contains ceramides and fatty acids, which help to reinforce the skin barrier so that moisture doesn’t leave the skin as much during the day.

I also use a super cute, lightweight moisturiser that I bought in Japan on my arms to help fight chicken skin, which avoids that greasy feeling I get when I use thicker moisturisers on my bod.

You Beauty's Kelly McCarren also shared her wedding beauty routine on the You Beauty podcast, listen below. Post continues after audio.

My evening skincare routine.

At night, I use Hylamide High Efficiency Face Cleanser ($26), to get my make up off, it’s amazing. I rinse this off with warm water and do a final sweep with a facecloth rinsed in hot water. I’ve got a heap of these so I can use a clean one every night.

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Then, I do a repeat of the toner (minus the vitamin C) and the salicylic acid. I’ve been using Paula’s Choice Ceramide Enriched Firming Eye Cream ($65) around my eye area. This contains our friends the ceramides, vitamin C, and retinol to help with hydration and lines.

I have to say, I haven’t been thrilled - and I’ve been eyeing off Medik8’s Retinol Eye Serum instead. That said, my main concerns in this area are fine lines directly under the eyes (HOW do the Kardashians not have them?!) and crow's feet, and Botox or Dysport are VERY effective for the latter.

I’ve gradually introduced the rest of my face to retinols, initially using them a couple of times a week to help reduce the irritation that those of us with rosacea are prone to getting. My skin can now tolerate a decent strength, and I use (drumroll) The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% ($17.90) and I make sure I slather this on my neck and chest as well.

Then, I pop my old faithful Soolantra on, and once this has absorbed, I use my Cerave moisturiser again depending on how thirsty my skin feels. When I hop into bed I wheel out my ridiculously expensive Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite Faceware Pro for $696, rue the day I bought it, switch it on and for the next three minutes succumb to wishful thinking.

I got sucked in to buying the LED mask thinking it would help with background redness. I used it pretty religiously every day and until I looked at my “before and after” photos, I didn’t think it had been that helpful, but you can see the redness has settled and it’s most likely of the products I’m using to have done that.

That’s me done for a regular day! Once a week, I use a dermaroller for pigmentation (and stretch marks on my thighs - it actually works, although slowly) and use a very dramatically red glycolic acid mask as a mild at-home chemical peel. It’s from (oh gawd) The Ordinary: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution ($14.50) and boy does it tingle!

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My skin before I turned into a complete skin care junkie. Again, this is from my private weird selfie collection that literally no one was ever meant to see. Except my mum. Image: Supplied.
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wedding skincare
Look, I’m sorry, but I hate taking selfies and even when I try to make them look normal they look weird. But I'm so happy with my skin here. Image: Supplied.

Professional skin treatments and lifestyle changes.

Other measures I’ve taken include a wee bit of cheek filler to give my cheeks a bit of their late 20s volume back, and a smattering of anti-wrinkle injections which I’m letting wear off for the wedding. I see Fiona McEwan, a registered nurse and cosmetic injector, who is an absolute boss lady and injectables wizard, for filler (you can find her on Instagram as @injectordiaries - you’re welcome).

I’ve also found that cutting out sugar and booze definitely makes my skin a lot clearer, which is more to do with rosacea than any of my other skin concerns, but I do find long periods of abstinence from chocolate and margs quite unsustainable. Like a lot of women, I get hormonal acne, and I take the contraceptive pill to help with that. I also take a probiotic daily that’s allegedly helpful for skin - there’s little evidence for this, but it’s unlikely to harm, so I’ll take it.

My wedding skincare prep advice.

So there you have it: those are all the products and procedures that have helped me get my wedding face on.

Overall, I’ve noticed a real improvement in skin texture (pores and congestion) and hydration, and have found I need less foundation than previously, and that it sits better than before. I still have some redness, but nothing a bit of anti-redness primer can’t sort out.

And my fiancé, you ask? Well, maybe once a month he’ll slap some salicylic acid on his schnozz, but mostly, he ignores literally everything I tell him and still manages to have the most glorious, line free skin. Yep.

Dr Chloe Kindred is a Melbourne GP, daily Mamamia reader, mother of two fur children, and getting married in 29 days... not that anyone’s counting.

Feature Image: Supplied/Chloe Kindred.

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