(ARA) - It's just like you dreamed . . . he declares his love, surprises you with a ring, you fall into his arms and say, "Yes!" And then, boom, reality hits and you're up to your tiara in guest lists, menu choices and bridal magazines galore.

The months prior to her wedding can be the most magical -- and stressful -- times in a woman's life. There are so many issues to worry about -- fulfilling your dream on your budget, satisfying the expectations of two different families, and deciding and coordinating the numerous details. With all this on your mind, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you let the stress take over, your body may soon show the signs in the form of weight gain, under-eye circles and acne. Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day, so it's important to understand early-on how to minimize the stress you're under and prevent its unpleasant effects.

Here's some advice on how to control your stress and its impact on your appearance. Keep these in mind and you won't have to worry about turning into the dreaded "Bridezilla."

Tips to reduce wedding-related stress

* Delegate responsibility
Don't take on the entire job of planning alone. Friends and family are sincere when they offer their assistance, so don't make the mistake of turning down their help. Let them know how you'd like your wedding to look and feel and then hand over tasks based on people's strengths. Ask your parents to visit local reception halls and tell you about the best two; your sister to think up a few options for decorations within your budget; and your best friend to help you pick out yours and the bridesmaids' dresses. They'll be honored to play such an important role in your wedding, and you'll get a much needed break.

* Establish a regular exercise routine
Make sure to get your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Exercising releases endorphins into your body, which will give you energy and regulate your mood. Exercising is not only a good way to lose a few pounds and gain sexy muscle tone, but it also provides an outlet to release the stress that is built up inside of you.

* Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is likely to be last on your priority list when you're planning a wedding, but it should be at the top. Repeatedly going without enough sleep will leave you drained and unequipped to deal with stress. Small issues that wouldn't give you anxiety under normal circumstances can feel like major catastrophes when you are sleep-deprived.

Even with this advice, you can't be entirely shielded from stress. You're getting married and a certain amount of nervousness comes with the territory. The good news is that you don't have to let it show.

Tips to combat the effects of stress

* Potential weight gain
When people get nervous, they tend to eat more, and if brides-to-be aren't careful, they can pack on the pounds quickly. Try to be mindful when you eat: Is what you're eating healthy? Are you actually hungry or are you eating as a way to use nervous energy? It may also be smart to invest in a body shaping garment to wear under your dress so that areas of concern aren't given a second thought.

* Dark circles under the eyes 
Dark circles under or around the eyes can be caused by many different things, including heredity, medications, a poor diet and lack of sleep. There's not much you can do about the first two causes, but if all the stress you're under has you eating and sleeping irregularly, you need to regain control; and don't wait until the last minute to do it! Also, make sure you're armed with a great concealer!

* Acne Breakouts 
Everyone has heard that stress and acne go hand in hand. A study published in the July 2003 issue of the Archives of Dermatology offers scientific proof that stress or worry can precipitate or worsen acne breakouts.

All eyes are going to be on you, and the last thing you want to be dealing with is acne, so you need to start caring for your skin now. Prevent pimples from ruining your big day by establishing a daily skin regimen involving products that have specific ingredients to treat and prevent acne, say the skin care experts at Nature's Cure.

Erika Mason-Chow, a recent bride from San Francisco, took that advice to heart. "I've always had problems with pimples, especially when I'm under stress," she says. "I've tried a lot of expensive skin care products over the years with little success. Nature's Cure Anti-Acne Papaya Skin Care System is the only system that gave me results."

The Anti-Acne Papaya Skin Care System contains three skin care essentials that utilize the power of papaya and salicylic acid, a proven acne-fighter, to treat and prevent acne without disrupting the skin's delicate balance. Mason-Chow says that not long after using the system's cleanser, toner and moisturizer at least once a day, her skin cleared up completely. "I can't say enough great things about it," she says. "I love the smell, how my skin reacts to it, how gentle it is. It's like treating myself to a mini-facial every day."

Brides-to-be who have more chronic problems with acne may want to supplement the Papaya Skin Care System with Nature's Cure's Two-Part Acne Treatment for Females, which includes all-natural homeopathic acne tablets to balance the body, along with the use of a Vanishing Cream made with Benzoyl Peroxide, an anti-bacterial agent, to spot-treat existing pimples.

"The best advice I can give is to start your skin care regimen early. Then, as your wedding date approaches, your complexion will be one thing you don't have to worry about," says Mason-Chow.


Acne Prevention Tips 
 Effective acne prevention requires using the right treatments, but there are also many things you can do on your own to lessen the severity of your breakouts. Take a look at these great tips from the acne prevention experts at Nature's Cure.

* Eat Healthy: Follow a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and protein. Limit the amount of fried foods you consume. 

* Get enough sleep. 

* Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day to help "detoxify" the body from the inside out.

* Avoid using moisturizers that are not specially made for acne-prone skin, as these products may contain pore-clogging ingredients. Nature's Cure Acne-Repairing Papaya Moisturizer, part of the Papaya Skin Care System is a great way to prevent dryness while continuing to fight acne all day.

* It's tempting to try to scrub away acne, but that's not how to get rid of pimples. Scrubbing too hard or too frequently can actually make your acne worse and promote scarring by increasing inflammation or rupturing cysts under your skin, making bacteria spread.

* Sweat combines with skin oils to trap dirt and bacteria in your pores, causing blackheads and pimples, so it's important to shower as soon as possible after you work out or sweat profusely.

* Oily hair can aggravate acne, so stay away from greasy products like pomades or hair spray, especially if you have acne along the hair-line or forehead. Also, keep your hair off your face, neck and shoulders by putting it back, especially when you sleep.


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