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Facials

When: 3 to 4 months out
What your skin worries are and what results you're hoping for—from lifting to tightening and acne treatment to pigmentation—will help ID when you should start incorporating facials into your routine. (The Mandarin spas also offer a Skin Instant Lab that digitally analyzes your face to help pick the right facial for you.) But as a general rule of thumb, Hirsch suggests people start in-house skin treatments at the three-month mark.

Roberts adds: "If you have not done much with your skin and are looking for an intensive anti-aging treatment, you would need a program of 10 treatments—three treatments a week for the first and second week, two treatments at week three and four. You would then go on a maintenance program of one to two treatments a month." With facials, you'll also have homework to do: A large part of a facial treatment is your at-home routine, she notes. So go ahead—splurge on the fancy products (like these groundbreaking new beauty products for glowing skin). Just be sure to let your derm or therapist help you pick out the best ones for your skin.

Photo: Shutterstock

Laser Treatments

When: 3 to 6 months out
Six months before a big event is a good time to touch base with a professional like a dermatologist to start talking about your skin needs and wants, suggests Hirsch. Once you know what you're looking for—and have someone to work with—you can start the process of picking out the right plan. One option: Laser treatments. They work for a wide range of skin and body conditions, including acne, wrinkles, pigmentation, and skin tightening, says Petra Roberts, the group spa manager at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. They can also help improve the appearance of pigmentation and freckles on your face, chest, or back, notes Hirsch.

"The laser intensity or light frequency will change depending on your needs, but each treatment is ultimately a concentrated oscillating beam of light working on small areas of the skin, removing it layer by layer," says Roberts. (More on that here: Why Lasers and Light Treatments Are Really Good for Your Skin)

Just note: Laser treatments should be done by a qualified physician, but when executed properly, they can be a game changer. You might need four or five treatments and the process can leave you red, puffy, or both, says Hirsch—so make sure to have your last treatment a month or so before the big day. Only have a few weeks until your event? Skip this one.

Photo: Shutterstock

Special Event Skin Care 101

Skin care before a special event (Facials! Spray tans! Spa days!) can seem super fun, but seemingly harmless treatments have a way of quickly turning "horror story" if you don't tread carefully. "Sometimes people get this 'great' idea to go and have a peel two days before their wedding," says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Boston. "That's a major 'don't.'"

Leading up to a big event like your big day or your BFFs bachelorette, your best bet is to stick with what you (and your skin) know. You don't want to do anything new. But if you have a little bit of time on your hands? You can craft a plan (with the aid of a dermatologist or esthetician) far enough out that incorporates everything you're looking for—from lightening to tightening and more.

The next step? Simply booking those appointments. Consider this your guide. (And remember, cardio isn't just a stress-buster, says Hirsch—it can make your skin glow, too. So don't forget to keep up with those long runs.)

Photo: Shutterstock

Prebiotic Supplements

You may have heard of prebiotics before—they're basically substances that you can't digest, so they reach your stomach whole, where they act as food for your gut bugs. They're in foods like Jerusalem artichokes and raw chicory root (things you probably don't eat that much of, TBH). If you don't eat enough, your gut bacteria can end up malnourished—not a good thing. One solution: ISOThrive ($40, isothrive.com) is a naturally fermented prebiotic nectar that feeds your gut bugs to keep your GI tract in healthy shape.

Photo: ISOThrive

Beyond-Bacteria Strains

Brands like BIOHM ($40, biohmhealth.com) are thinking outside the bug. Your gut contains good and bad fungi in addition to bacteria. But many probiotics ignore that fact, just containing beneficial bacteria. Not BIOHM. It contains good fungi as well as bacteria cultures, which could make it even better at restoring internal balance to your microbiome than bacteria-only pills.

Photo: BIOHM