When it comes to skincare and beauty prep for your wedding, there is no such thing as starting too soon. It's one of the most important days of your life, so naturally, you want to look the best you possibly can. Top Irish Skin Expert Eavanna Breen simplifies it to create an easy to follow regime. 

When do I start?

The best time to visit your beauty therapist is 8-12 months before the wedding; this will allow your therapist enough time to evaluate your skin and decide on the best course of action. If you have a skin condition such as acne, this time frame is critical. Often people suffering with acne have had to deal with it for several months or maybe even years, and that cannot be turned around in a matter of weeks. A program of treatments is needed, diet and lifestyle need to be evaluated, and the varying changes that need to be made can take time. Depending on the person and the type of treatment chosen, it can happen that certain treatments will make the skin a little worse before it gets better, so leaving plenty of time before the wedding is wise. If you don't have a particular skin problem, a series of treatments would usually be recommended to give your skin a boost and get it in tip-top condition. Then you will be given a maintenance program to follow.

How many sessions do you recommend, and how often?

To begin with, I would usually recommend a course of between 6-10 treatments depending on the skin condition. The treatment type will depend on the frequency of treatment; for example, facials can be done monthly. However, a course of radio frequency treatments is done weekly. The final treatment should be done three to four days before the wedding. Our signature wedding treatment at Akina Beauty can be done the day before the wedding without fear of breakouts or downtime post-treatment.

Laser / Facials/ Micro needling or Peels?

The answer to this depends on the client. A bride in her early twenties with a normal skin type does not need a laser. However, a course of gentle peels such as Latic Acid Peels can be of benefit and give a brighter, fresher look to the skin with a more even tone. This will ensure make-up will sit nicely on the day. A bride who is thirty-plus, no matter what condition their skin is in, will benefit from both Laser Rejuvenation, Peeling/ Microdermabrasion, or micro needling treatments. These treatments will increase fibroblast activity in the skin which means that more collagen is produced, leaving the skin looking plumped up and more resilient, reducing lines and wrinkles. They also give a more even skin texture and deal with any scarring or pigmentation problems. These are the Rolls Royce of skincare treatments, and if the bride wants to see definite results, she won't be disappointed with any of these treatments. One of the most popular treatments we offer for brides is Venus Freeze, and it is very popular with brides because of its red-carpet-ready results. The combination of radio frequency and pulsed magnet energy in this treatment allows the skin to stimulate collagen without any downtime. As a bonus, it’s a very relaxing treatment to have done.

It is important to consider the dress, how it sits, and how much skin is showing. If the bride is wearing an off-the-shoulder dress they should ask their therapist to include the décolleté in each of the treatments. At Akina, we offer bacial treatments, essentially a facial treatment done on the back. This treatment is ideal for those brides that are exposing their back; a series of six is recommended. If you are wearing sandals on the day of the wedding a course of pedicures is recommended, do at least one a week for the four weeks leading up to the wedding. The same goes for your nails if you are having nail enhancements put on or if you are going with the natural nail, weekly manicures are recommended.

What if you left it a bit late?

Microdermabrasion treatment two weeks before the wedding can work wonders. Alternatively an Environ Vitamin Facial will feed powerful antioxidants A, C and E into the skin which will help combat free radical damage caused by stress. It is also very important that all brides-to-be are doing the basics at home, if they are not cleansing the skin properly make-up will not sit well on the day, as there will be a build-up of dead skin. I recommend the Skinmade Clean and Care Cleanser on a nightly basis. A gentle exfoliation once a week is also good, along with a hydrating mask. The AlumierMD Enzymatic peel gives a gentle exfoliation without compromising the natural skin barrier.

Can you use your skincare to combat the signs of stress?

Stress can aggravate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne, so it is important that the bride is using the correct skincare for her skin type. I have seen so many people using products that are completely wrong for their skin type and aggravating it even more. This is why it is important to have a therapist do a proper analysis of your skin to determine the skin type and then advise on the right products. Other strong tips would include things like: If the bride is suffering from mild eczema or psoriasis, they can try to cut out dairy products from their diet for a short period of time. Make sure they are getting enough of the right nutrients such as green leafy vegetables.

Adding a few drops of aromatherapy oil to a warm bath will help the physical effects as well as the psychological effects of stress. A daily self-massage with Environ Essentia A Oil will hydrate and heal the skin, as well as helping to keep the skin supple. We love the Neom Body and hair treatment oils for this also. If you are prone to stress related cold sores start on a course of Lysine, which is an amino acid that actively helps in preventing them. If dry or dehydrated lips are a problem for you, Jane Iredale have just launched New HydroPure Hyaluronic Acid Lip Treatment that contains hylulronic acid and shea butter to hydrate and plump lips. Mesotherapy is another option for dry lips. Mesotherapy is a cocktail of vitamins, minerals hyaluronic acid and amino acids, which are injected into the lips to nourish and hydrate. Unlike fillers, mesotherapy will not alter the shape of your lips, it simply will hydrate and plump the skin.

The Dont's:

Don't go to bed with your make-up on.

Don't try any new products with a month to go before the wedding.

Don't wax facial hair the day before the wedding. If you don't have a routine with electrolysis or laser and must wax, do it at least four days before the big day.

Don't use a false tanning product that you have never used before. If you are having a spray tan applied, do a trial at least six weeks beforehand.

If you are a smoker, don't smoke more than usual - it prevents oxygen from getting to the skin leaving it looking dull and grey.

Don't stay up all night, try to get at least eight hours sleep every night the week before the wedding. A good night’s sleep will make all the difference to how your skin appears on the day.

Don't be tempted to drink more tea or coffee than usual; the caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands causing an increase in the production of androgens, which in turn can cause the skin to produce more oil, leading to breakouts.

Don't drink alcohol the night before the wedding, it dehydrates the skin and can make your eyes puffy. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and glowing.

Eavanna Breen is the Founder and Senior Skin Therapist of Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic in Dublin with 28 years of experience in the Irish beauty and skin industry. Training through the years with skincare houses such as Darphin, Dermalogica, Environ, Dr. Daneillo, Skinmade and AlumierMD has given Eavanna a unique insight into how different skincare brands and techniques approach varying skin types and conditions. To book a consultation with Eavanna, see Akina.ie