Sadeghian on her wedding day last year. Photo by Brandon O'Neal Photography.

Best face forward: Wedding skincare tips to help your natural beauty shine

Amid the details from dress to florals to music to invitations and so much more, the real star of the show–your smiling face–is likely to get lost in the stress of planning. Wedding pictures are perhaps some of the most enduring. Thus, having spotless, bright skin is paramount. However, knowing where to start, and how far is too far, can be as confusing as it is time consuming.

To take the guesswork out of the process, we reached out to one of inRegister’s featured January brides, Azeen Sadeghian, who is a board-certified dermatologist currently working with Sanova Dermatology. Having just celebrated a wedding of her own, Sadeghian is the ultimate expert. She gave us some tips, as well as a timeline for preparations:


  • Pamper your skin with TLC.
  • Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers so you can focus on specific active ingredients, such as retinoid agents or a specific cosmeceutical agent.
  • Protect your skin with daily sunscreen.
    • My top picks for facial, high-end sunscreens are EltaMD and Revision. La Roche Posay is a good over-the-counter brand. Tinted sunscreens can replace foundation for some people. Try before you buy because a bottle of sunscreen is a commitment, and be sure to purchase from a reputable vendor.
  • Moisturize your skin.
  • Lock in a good skincare regimen early.
  • Schedule your consultations early in your engagement.

Do not:

  • More skincare products does not mean better results. Don’t mix and match a bunch of active ingredients.
  • Don’t get too aggressive or abrasive.
  • Skip scrub brushes or home needle rollers.
  • Don’t try to change how you look to match a magazine or celebrity. Your fiancé and family love you the way you are now.
  • Duck pouts are out. Natural is in season.
  • No tanning beds. It’s not worth the risk of skin cancer.

Sadeghian enlisted the help of Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rassi (second from left), who is married to Sadeghian’s cousin, to help her pull together her bridal look. “When I took my bridal portraits, I really tried to go for the ‘more is more’ look,” notes Sadeghian. “I got the pictures back and I looked terrible. I sent the photos to Zanna, and she was like my fashion fairy godmother. She showed me that your wedding day should be about letting your youthful beauty shine.”

12-16 months out:

  • Ask yourself, what are the things that bother you the most about your skin or that you’re concerned about? Do you have acne-prone skin? Sensitive skin? Dark marks? Address these issues with your dermatologist and let them know about your wedding plans. They will be happy to help you plan your skincare regimen and find a great timeline for you.
  • Begin daily sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, even if you don’t spend a lot of time outside. Major side note: Makeup with SPF does not count.
  • I prefer gentle cleansing in combination with targeted leave-on agents, such as retinoid cream or vitamin C serums.
    • If you’re wearing makeup, you may find that you need a gentle makeup remover prior to your gentle cleanser. I like La Roche Posay Micellar Water, but wash with a gentle cleanser after use or rinse off with water.
    • Retinoids are dream creams for many skin types for a reason, but they can be quite irritating in the beginning and you can’t use them while waxing or doing certain procedures. Your dermatologist can help you choose the right creams to begin with.
    • Sometimes, we recommend a vitamin C serum, and this is a good time to start if you’re already on a retinoid.
  • Don’t waste your time and money on a bunch of various creams with big claims. Also, don’t begin mixing and matching a bunch of different cosmeceuticals. Various claims for creams can be false, or they can have sensitizing or irritating agents in them. For my wedding skincare routine, I used gentle Cera-Ve Hydrating Facial Cleanser in the morning and at night, a retinoid in the evening, and SPF during the day.
  • Find a gentle moisturizer you love. Many of the drugstore brands have gentle, bland moisturizing creams. Avoid moisturizers with big claims because they are probably not gentle or possibly shouldn’t be used in combination with your leave-on agents.
  • If you’re interested in a consultation for skin procedures, start now. For example, if you want to address fine lines, excess hair, a double chin, or you have an acne scar you want to work on, you should do it early in your wedding planning process. All procedures have different timelines and risks. Plus, many procedures actually require multiple sessions. You want to build-in time to address any potential side effects and allow your skin to heal.
    • Keep in mind, you do not need any cosmetic procedures. You should look like you for your wedding.

8 months out:

  • If you’re going to consider a series of microneedling treatments, consider starting now. People typically get anywhere between three to five sessions about one month apart.

5-6 months out:

  • If you’re going to try Botox for the first time, don’t wait too much longer for a consultation.
  • If you’re out of the sun, this is a good time to begin a series of light chemical peels.

3-4 months out:

  • I personally had crow’s feet lines and forehead lines during my engagement, so I did my last Botox session about three months prior to my wedding so my lines would soften but I could regain all of my facial movements in time for my wedding pictures. No one wants to look frozen during their joyous celebration, and you can always do targeted Botox one month before your wedding on any problem areas.

1 month out:

  • If you’re breaking out, see your doctor. Most will be kind enough to briefly place you on anti-inflammatory-type medications for your big day in case you have a breakout.
  • Do not begin any new skincare products or procedures. Now is not the time; you want to have a bad reaction to anything.
  • Treat your body well and it will show in your skin. Get plenty of rest and don’t do anything drastic like crash diets.
  • If you have a crazy wrinkle that absolutely needs Botox, ask your doctor.

Week of the wedding:

  • Hydrate.
  • Get sleep.
  • Absolutely no new facial skincare products.
  • If you’re going to get a spray tan, make sure you’re doing it a day or two before your rehearsal dinner. This allows the tan to fully develop.

For more on Sadeghian, her expertise and Sanova Dermatology, visit