Best Face Forward

Life before the wedding can wreak havoc on your complexion. Here, local experts recommend last-minute fixes for three common skin-care emergencies.


Illustration by Kirsten Ulve

The Problem: A Monster Zit
The Solution: Whatever you do, “Don’t try to extract it yourself,” cautions Laura Small, a skin-care specialist at Skoah. Instead, crush an aspirin tablet, mix it with water to form a paste, and apply it to the pimple—the salicylic acid will reduce inflammation. Or you can go natural: Dilute a drop of tea-tree oil (an antifungal agent) with water and dab the solution onto the blemish to kill bacteria. To avoid last-minute surprises in the first place, Small recommends exfoliating one to two times a week and getting a facial at least one week before the big day. “If you’re going to get a zit, the facial will bring it to the surface quickly,” she says.

The Problem: A Wicked Sunburn
The Solution: Anne-Cécile Curot, spa director at Salon Marc Harris, has a surprising trick for soothing crispy skin: a dollop of plain yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of organic honey. “When you’re burnt, your skin is traumatized. Natural honey is healing,” she says. Apply the mask for 15 minutes, then wash with a non-abrasive cleanser (avoid those that contain stripping agents like glycolic acid). Curot recommends Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser ($38, available at Fresh). After cleansing, apply an arnica-based moisturizer; the plant extracts enhance circulation and reduce skin inflammation. Curot’s favorite is Rhonda Allison’s Arnica Therapy Post Procedure Cream ($27, available at Marc Harris). And don’t skimp: Keeping skin hydrated will help reduce peeling.

The Problem: Puffy Eyes
The Solution: Treat your lids to tea, suggests Sara Jamison, owner of Brookline’s Sara Jamison Esthetics. Place soothing chamomile or calendula tea bags, steeped in hot water and cooled, over eyelids for five minutes. Thinly sliced, refrigerated cucumbers are also anti-inflammatory. For a higher-tech solution, Jamison recommends Guinot’s Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel ($44, available at Sara Jamison Esthetics), which contains horse chestnuts, known to reduce under-eye pouches. Of course, prevention is key: Keep puffiness at bay by drinking plenty of water and embracing a low-sodium diet in the months leading up to your wedding.