Bridal Makeup and Acne – two words you really don't want to see in the same sentence

In this article I want to discuss the issues of acne and bridal makeup.  Let's be honest, bridal makeup and acne are two words you really don't want to see in the same sentence.  Ever! Acne can occur at anytime, but it may occur or re-occur during the pre-wedding period due to side effects of taking The Pill, the pressures and stresses of the wedding planning, all the above, or it is just an ongoing problem.  Yes, I know grooms can and do suffer from acne, but I am here to discuss the bride's issues (they don’t call me the kallah whisperer for nothing).

Talk to a Professional Skin Care Specialist

If you suffer from acne, the first thing you need to do is make an appointment to see a dermatologist as soon as you can.  Discuss with her/him treatment options: both topical creams and oral medications.  You should also consult with a good cosmetologist who can give you some cleansing and treatment routines that may help to alleviate acne symptoms.  It is important to inform any skin specialist of your impending wedding date to help manage expectations, as well as help in the formulation of a skin routine for both the best results both in the short and long term.

Six-to-Eight weeks before the Wedding

No matter what the treatment, always use your own common sense and never try any harsh abrasive skin treatments within six-to-eight weeks of the wedding.   Keep in mind that even treatments that you have taken for months - without any adverse effects - could become "toxic" to your skin.   Be extra kind and gentle to your skin during this pre-wedding period.

Your Skin, Your Moisturizer and Your Makeup

Be extra vigilant about cleansing your skin during this period.  Ask your cosmetologist for a good oil-free cleanser and moisturizer.  But do not overdo your cleansing routine, this can strip your skin of the necessary oils it does need.  Also, never sleep in your makeup – always go to bed after you have completely removed your makeup, cleansed your face and applied some kind of moisturizer.

Always wash your hands before touching you face, applying and removing makeup.  Make sure to use oil-free, good quality makeup on your skin.  Make sure the makeup brushes you use are clean and use a new sponge to apply makeup. 

I would like to add a word about hypo-allergenic facial products.  As there is no universal standard to label a certain product "hypo-allergenic"; the term is subjective to say the least.  Even well-known products labeled hypo-allergenic can cause allergies in some women.  If your skin is extra-sensitive, I recommend you tryout a product, in advance, on a patch of skin behind your ear or knee and see if a rash, burning sensation or itchiness occurs.  If any of these symptoms occur, do not use the product.

Makeup for Your Wedding

Try on all cosmetics at least two months before the wedding. Tell your makeup artist about your skin condition in advance.  Remember a makeup artist is not a doctor or a miracle worker.  She can mitigate redness, alleviate color differences and even out skin tone.  She cannot smooth or flatten the swelling or bumpiness of pimples, scars or blemishes.

The bridal makeup trial session is especially important for acne sufferers, in order to discover the best products and methods to conceal acne, avoid makeup that make acerbate the problem and in general, create a plan of action for your skin.  Once the makeup has been applied, wear it for several hours or even a full day, to find out whether the makeup causes itchiness and/or additional redness, how it feels on your skin and how your skin looks after it is removed.   Always use an oil-free, alcohol-free makeup remover. 

Remember to be extra-kind to your skin and yourself at this time.
The following are unretouched photos of skin before makeup and after concealer, makeup base and powder were applied.

Some Tips to Hide Acne

There are two roads to hiding acne.  The amount of products used and work needed depends on the amount of acne on your face.  Always pat to apply concealer, base and makeup.  Never rub on a product.

  1. For a few individual pimples or a few very small acne-affected areas on your face or neck:  you can use concealer in cream form and loose face powder. Pat on concealer, in your skin tone, to the affected areas until it is blended gently into the area.  The concealer should cover the redness, but not change your skin tone.  You can apply concealer with your fingers or a brush.  Then apply makeup base with your fingers or a sponge and then face powder with a large natural bristled brush to a slightly larger area than was affected.  You can apply two very light layers of powder on the areas.  Once you have concealed theses areas, you can now apply your makeup as you usually do.
  2. If the affected areas are very red, you can apply a green-toned concealer, then a skin-toned concealer and makeup base and then the facial powder, as described above.  Once again you can apply the concealer with your fingers or a brush, base with your fingers and a sponge and the powder with a large natural-bristled brush.  Once you have concealed theses areas, you can now apply your makeup as you usually do.
  3. If larger areas of your face are affected:
    1. You can apply a primer to minimize the oiliness of your skin.  You can apply with a brush or your fingers.
    2. Then apply green-toned concealer to the reddest parts of the areas. You can apply with a brush or your fingers.
    3. Apply normal-skin-toned concealer over all affected areas, including the areas covered with the green-toned concealer.  You can apply with a brush or your fingers.
    4. Apply base over all the areas with your fingers or a sponge.
    5. Apply a little face powder over all the areas you touchup.  This will help to take away shininess as well.  Apply the powder with a large, natural-bristled brush.
    6. You can spray your face with on a fixative spray (spray at nearly 'arms length') if you wish to set your makeup.

Retouching Photos

I know that any photographer can retouch/air-brush/Photoshop your wedding photographs and thereby remove any trace of acne from your wedding pictures, but it is a very expensive project to retouch hundreds of photos.  Your first line of defense is good skin care and good makeup.  You can always have a special bridal portrait retouched for framing if you wish. 

Just stay clean, stay stress-free and be beautiful!


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  2. Jessica - I am so glad you found this article helpful!

  3. My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! Dermatologista florianopolis


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  5. I love this blog!! The flash up the top is awesome!!
    dermatologista florianopolis

  6. Welp, I'm no makeup artist but my girl is. I've seen a similar blog written by Ms. Rea Pinpin, a Filipino Makeup artist. And as such I've been compiling tips for her (my gf) use. Mind if I save this page a pdf for reference? Thanks!

  7. Yano - no problem at all. I hope your gf finds the article helpful!

    1. She did find it helpful, Lol, she even hid my dry skin on the nose when we took photos during a night out