This Is How Celebrity Brides Really Prep Their Skin For The Big Day

The societal pressure to look good at all times and at every age is intense for all of us, but especially so for those in the Hollywood spotlight.

And though celebrities to keep it hush-hush, we know they've got a cosmetic derm on speed-dial. They're getting filler injected into their earlobes, hands, and cellulite dimples — and that's just because it's Tuesday. When there's a big event — like, say, a wedding — stars take their injectable game to a whole new level.

LA-based dermatologist Karyn Grossman, MD, whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Molly Sims, and Linda Evangelista, gave us the low-down on all the luxe procedures her A-list brides actually undergo months before their big day.

Think of it as the 24-carat skin-care guide for the bride that has money to blow — and perhaps an upcoming spread in Martha Stewart Weddings.

Design by Louisa Cannell
Three Months Before

In the ideal world, Dr. Grossman tells her A-list clients they should start the heavy-duty skin treatments three months before their wedding day — especially if they haven't had a lot of previous work done. "I think of it like going through your practice hair and makeup — if you want to be at your most beautiful, three months out is the time to start prepping so you avoid any big surprises," she says. Plus, she adds that it's good to go through skin procedures with with ample lead time, just so there's some wiggle room to tweak if need be.

Thermage

For her clients interested in a little skin-firming and lifting (so, most people), Dr. Grossman recommends a Thermage treatment three months out. Thermage is a radio-frequency collagen-boosting facial laser treatment, and it does not come cheap — one treatment typically runs around $3,500. "If you need some lifting, Thermage is great three months before, because you're going to really start to get more of that collagen production," she says.

And if you're wondering what the heck this celeb-endorsed, dermatologist-proven treatment feels like, Gwyneth Paltrow admits it's not exactly a relaxing cucumber-over-the-eyes facial. “It’s quite painful, like having your face smacked with a rubber band with an electric shock in it,” she told Hello Magazine back in 2014. But if the elasticity of the Goop founder's skin is any indication, it probably works.

Filler + Botox

"Three months prior, I'd recommend filler and botox," says Dr. Grossman. With anything that involves needles, the risk of bruising is high, so don't get injections anywhere close to your actual wedding day. When clients want a lot of work done, specifically filling in lines around the eyes or plumping up the lips, Dr. Grossman says you need about three months to get it right. "If someone comes in and they need filler underneath their eyes, around their temple, along their jaw line, and they want a little lip plumping, we do all of that months out to get them exactly the way they want," she explains.
Design by Louisa Cannell
Two Months Before

Dr. Grossman says that two months is a good time to start color-correcting skin redness or brown spots from sun damage. "Sometimes, brides have sun damage on their neck or their chest, and they really want to clean that up because wedding gowns tend to be a little bit more open," she says. She explains that with aggressive skin repair procedures, multiple treatments are going to give you the best results, so two months out is safe.

IPL

"If you have red or brown on your face, IPL is the treatment I'd recommend," says Dr. Grossman. IPL is short for Intense Pulsed Light therapy, and it's used to treat skin issues such as hyper-pigmentation, acne, rosacea, blue or purple-tinted spider veins, and general uneven skin tone. Essentially, the light therapy treatment targets pigmentation underneath the skin's surface, initiating skin’s natural repair mechanisms.

It can be uncomfortable around the sensitive areas of the face, sort of like how an elastic band being flicked over your face might feel. But Dr. Grossman says that normally, two 40-minute treatments are adequate for her clients to get their desired results, with just a bit of post-treatment inflammation. "IPL is usually pink for a day or two," Dr. Grossman says. "And if you have a lot of brown spots, you'll get what I refer to as dead freckles, and those sun spots get darker and flake off in about three days," she adds.
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One Month Before

"Thirty days is the minimum that you should be starting ahead of time," Dr. Grossman says. Ideally, this is the time to follow-up with your derm to tweak any of the fillers, Botox, Thermage, or IPL treatments that have already been done.

MiraDry

An additional procedure that she sometimes performs on clients with a wedding thirty days away is MiraDry (aka the sweaty armpit treatment). It's a one-time procedure that stops underarm sweating forever and involves the armpit being numbed, then zapped with a heat treatment that targets the glands deep underneath the skin. Grossman says that some of her more posh bridal clients will splurge for this $3,500 treatment, so they don't have to worry about rings of underarm sweat pooling on their gown as they stand at the altar.

"Sometimes, sensitive-skin clients might have some swelling for about three to four weeks — but pretty much instantaneously there's no more sweating from the armpits," says Dr. Grossman.
Design by Louisa Cannell
Two Weeks Before

The two-week mark is when you want to re-boost your collagen again and draw out any pesky blackheads. These facial procedures are less aggressive than the lasers or fillers, but sometimes come with a inflammatory aftermath.

Micro-Needling

"Micro-needling will give your skin a collagen spike — I do it underneath the eyes up to the lash line, and underneath the eyebrows," says Dr. Grossman. If your eye area is a main concern (think: fine lines and undereye bags), a micro-needling treatment will help give your skin a boost. The actual micro-needling procedure involves a derm or aesthetician rolling a dermaroller (basically a mini paint roller covered in teeny tiny needles) across the skin, which creates micro-injuries and signals the brain to send collagen to the epidermis. In simple terms, it creates a more glowy complexion.

With needles, even really small ones, Dr. Grossman says that you need to leave some time to deal with irritation. "With micro-needling, you usually look [red] for about two days, so I would tell people to do it about two weeks before," she says.

Extractions

If you're looking into a hi-def mirror, zeroing in on the blackheads scattering over the bridge of your nose, an extraction session might be in order. While Dr. Grossman recommends an extraction treatment for photo-ready skin, she warns against getting it done too close to the wedding day. "Brides run into problems with extractions the week before their wedding, because there's usually at least a day or two of skin inflammation," she says.
Design by Louisa Cannell
The Day Of

As the wedding bells ring on the big day, Dr. Grossman says your skin should be all set. All the prep work has been done the weeks and months leading up to it, which means the day of can be devoted to celebrating the love. But if you need a little last-minute lift and glow — Dr. Grossman says many people get a mini-lift or a light facial. The key is to keep it very mild.

Mini Thermage

Thermage is a heavy-duty lifting procedure, but some people do a radio-frequency light treatment the day before or day of their wedding. Reason being, it plumps up that collagen and gives the skin some extra tightening.

Gentle Facial

A day-of skin treatment should be hydrating and c, to avoid any rough skin patches or polka-dot flare-ups. "The whole concept of the day before for brides, really needs to be the week before," Dr. Grossman explains. But for dull or dry skin that just needs a boost, there are instant glow options. "A kind, gentle facial can really give you a nice glow," she says. "Brides might come in for an ultrasound infusion for plumping or an oxygen treatment — those things are hydrating and puffing — but no extractions," she adds.
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