Here’s what you can do to take the best possible care of your skin following a laser resurfacing treatment.
Stay Out of the Sun
Right after a laser treatment, your skin is going to be very sensitive. Any damage from the sun’s UV rays is likely to be even worse than it normally would be. To reduce the risk of causing discomfort, dark spots and other forms of sun damage, it’s very important that you minimize the time you spend out in the sun immediately after treatment.
Try to stick to shaded areas if you go outdoors. It’s also a good idea to cover up with a hat to keep the sun’s rays off of your face.
Even if you’re only outside to run from your house to your car and from the car to your office or the store, wear sunscreen daily. Pick a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it often throughout the day. UV rays can filter through windows, too, so don’t think that being inside the house or car will always protect your skin!
Gently Cleanse the Area
You’ll want to keep your freshly lasered skin clean. That might mean that you need to get a bit creative when it comes to cleansing, depending on how strong your laser treatment was. During the first few days after laser treatment, your surgeon might recommend washing your facial skin with saline or with a very dilute vinegar solution.
If you usually use a cleanser with acids or other harsh ingredients, you’ll want to hold off on using it until you get the “go ahead” from your doctor.
Some swelling and redness are common after laser treatments, particularly after ablative treatments that affect the outer layers of skin. Cold compresses and ice packs can help to bring down swelling and minimize redness. They can also feel soothing to irritated skin.
Keep the Skin Moisturized
Your surgeon will most likely recommend a particular type of moisturizer for you to use after a laser treatment. It’s common for people to apply petroleum jelly to the skin after an ablative treatment, such as Fraxel re:pair. The petroleum jelly not only helps to hydrate the skin, but it also forms a protective barrier along the healing skin, keeping germs out.
Skip the Strong Ingredients
If you usually use skin care products with retinol or other strong ingredients, hold off on using them in the days and weeks after your treatment. When your skin is recovering from a professional treatment, any sort of harsh or strong ingredient can do more harm than good. Your surgeon will let you know when it’s time to start up your usual skincare routine again.
Keep Your Head Up
Sleeping with your head elevated can help to reduce swelling after a laser treatment. You might to try propping yourself up with pillows in the bed and sleeping on your back for a few weeks. During the day, try to avoid bending forward or lowering your head down below the level of your heart.
Wait for Makeup
After a laser treatment, skin often looks worse on its way to looking better. Redness, flakiness, and crusting are all common after laser treatment. You might be tempted to cover up that redness or to minimize the appearance of flakes and scabs using foundation or other types of makeup. Like other skincare products, however, makeup can irritate your healing skin. It’s better to wait a few weeks until the skin has had a chance to fully heal.
About Dr. Rubinstein
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein offers a variety of laser treatments at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. A board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Rubinstein can help you understand which skin concerns lasers can treat and work with you to choose the treatment that is right for you. He can also provide guidance and advice about how to care for your skin following a laser treatment. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.