Coping with Skin Emergencies

Woman treating skin

Everyone fears waking up to the dreaded blemish on their wedding day. Have no fear, even though Windex doesn’t exactly get rid of every skin issue like in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you can overcome skin emergencies at the last minute. Whether you wake up with a bright red painful sunburn, a mountain of a zit, or any other imperfection, we’ll help you fight the problem so you can look as perfect as you feel on your wedding day.


Stress and sleepless nights can easily lead to uninvited pimples. Whether it’s one zit or a huge breakout, the most important thing is to remain calm. Don’t pop or pick at it because that will just make the inflammation even worse. Reduce the redness and swollen skin with ice. This should decrease the redness and swelling of the skin. Then, carefully dab a concealer on the area (yes, even for men!). Instead of rubbing it into the skin, tap it to provide the best coverage. If you have time and are desperate, you can get a cortisone shot from your doctor as well.

Dry Skin

Dry skin

Sometimes skin emergencies aren’t all about the oily build-up that creates pimples, but the exact opposite. Dry, flaky skin can wreak havoc on your day because your face and/or makeup just isn’t going to look great when pieces of it are flaking off during the ceremony. Use a gentle exfoliation technique to rid of these flakes. Start a few weeks before your wedding exfoliating each night and applying moisturizer before bed. If you are wearing makeup, make sure you put a primer on your skin before applying any to get rid of extra flakes.

Tear Tracks

Everyone has a lot of emotions flowing through them around their wedding day. Happy tears, stressed tears, excited tears, the waterworks will usually be flowing down your face, threatening your perfect makeup. Waterproof products can only do so much when they’re battling a river of tears, so keep a bottle of your foundation near you to combat tear tracks. Blend the foundation along the line of the tracks with a sponge. Blot instead of rubbing the area to blend the makeup.

Waterproof mascara should also be kept close by so you can reapply as necessary, and keep tissues on hand so you can blot your face throughout the day.

Puffy Eyes

Stress leads to sleepless nights which leads to puffy eyes. If you wake up with swollen eyelids, don’t panic. A gel eye mask is the best thing to alleviate puffiness. You can also place frozen spoons over your eyes or cucumbers to help the swelling go down. The frozen spoon will constrict the blood vessels.

If you know your eyes may be puffy in the morning, place hydrocortisone cream around them before bed. It may sound crazy, but the medicine in the cream temporarily restricts the blood vessels where it is applied. And if you have extra time, try to take a short nap to bring some rest and relaxation to your entire body.


Shoulder sunburn

Relaxing by the pool days before or even hours before your wedding seems like the perfect way to shed stress… until your skin starts stinging. A bright red sunburn is bad enough, but a painful, bright red sunburn is the worst. First of all, take ibuprofen if you’re in pain, and soak in a lukewarm bath to help with swelling. After your bath, slather your skin with aloe cream for a soothing effect. Aloe and lotion will be your best friend to fight swelling and discomfort to to prevent peeling as much as possible.

Makeup will be able to help cover sunburns on your face for photos, but it needs to be applied correctly and only after you’ve properly treated your skin. Avoid slathering a foundation all over to cover it up because it will only make your makeup look caked on. Start with a green-tinted primer to help tone down the redness of your skin, focusing on the brightest areas like the bridge of your nose. Then, follow up with a tinted moisturizer a little darker than your natural skin tone and blend it in. This should provide adequate coverage in most situations.

For women with strapless dresses, covering burns on shoulders and your chest can be tricky. A professional makeup artist can help with this if you already have one on hand for your wedding day, but if not, you’ll need to make do with a little body makeup using the same general techniques as you would for your face.

Conversely, if tan lines are a big problem, just try to lightly apply a tinted lotion or self tanner to the area to camouflage the lines.

Allergic Reaction

Wedding preparations can be full of new things floating in the air. You may decide to try a new face wash that promises to clear away any and all dirt, oil, and blemishes, but you realize all too quickly your face doesn’t agree with the new wash. Or the flowers you ordered suddenly don’t agree with your skin. Keep antihistamines (Benadryl) on hand to combat sneaky allergies, and use sensitive skin cream on any problem areas. If this doesn’t seem to work, you can try a whole milk compress for ten minutes a day leading up to the wedding. Hydrocortisone cream can also come to the rescue to help fight a swollen reaction.

If you’re still suffering some redness day of, try to cover it up with makeup or tinted lotion.


Skin rashes often go hand in hand with sunburns or allergic reactions, so many of the self-care options for those skin conditions will apply here as well. However, the most important thing to remember with a rash is that if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, swelling, or fatigue, see a doctor. Your condition could be more serious than minor skin irritation.

As every bride and groom fears, there are plenty of things that can go wrong leading up to your big day, but being prepared to handle minor bumps in the road can go a long way to making sure you don’t collapse under stress.

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