Countdown to Beauty 

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You plan your ceremony, reception, honeymoon and rehearsal dinner months in advance -- and you can take the same approach to skin care. On your wedding day, photos will be taken and the day's events will be recorded, so all eyes will be on you. Here's a timeline of treatments to get your skin looking picture-perfect.

One year to six months before. If you have sun damage, intense pulsed light (IPL) can be used on your face, neck and chest to treat brown spots, uneven pigment, facial redness and broken blood vessels. This process requires four to five treatments performed three or four weeks apart. After each session, you can expect to have some crusting-over that lasts several days. The end result is rejuvenated skin and a more even skin tone.

Laser hair removal, which is extremely effective when performed correctly, requires multiple treatment sessions with no downtime. Popular treatment areas are the upper lip, bikini area, underarms and legs.

Two to three months before. Facial peels and microdermabrasion are exfoliative treatments that brighten your complexion. For the best results, you'll want to have four to six treatments, performed about two weeks apart. Downtime is negligible. After the treatments, your skin tone will be brighter and more even, and you can expect mild lightening of dark spots as well.

Six weeks before. Schedule a makeup consultation. Let a professional help you choose colors that flatter your skin tone and match your foundation to your skin color.

One month before. Try Botox injections for frown lines. Botox relaxes the muscles that cause frown lines and helps prevent those same lines from settling permanently into your skin. The procedure takes just a few minutes to perform. Lines begin to disappear in a few days; at two weeks, Botox has taken full effect.

One week before. Drink plenty of water and get enough sleep. It may sound trite, but your skin will thank you.

On the big day. Relax. Your skin is healthy and glowing, and you look and feel beautiful!

Dr. Schwarzschild is a board-certified dermatologist practicing with Richmond Dermatology Specialists and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.



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