15 Tips for Pre & Post Laser Treatment Care | Cincinnati Laser Specialists

Woman using skin products for post laser treatment care

Laser therapy and other skin rejuvenation treatments are some of the most transformative services we offer at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates.

These treatments can improve many types of concerns, like:

  • Deep wrinkles
  • Acne scars
  • Large pores
  • Skin laxity
  • Fine lines
  • Sun damage
  • Brown spots
  • Dullness
  • Uneven complexion
  • Facial veins

To get the best results, you need to ensure you follow pre and post laser treatment care guidelines! 

Why pre and post laser treatment care is so important

Some people want to leave it up to the professionals and fully rely on in-office procedures like laser resurfacing or microneedling to get them the results they want. While we love helping you achieve transformative results, there are important reasons for at-home skin care before and after laser treatments.

Protect your investment

It’s no secret that in-depth aesthetic services like laser resurfacing and photofacials cost hundreds of dollars. These aren’t your typical day spa facial; they use advanced wavelength technology to improve your skin from within. Some patients receive multiple treatment sessions to achieve their desired results, so it’s safe to say these procedures are an investment for both time and money.

Think of it like visiting your dentist for treatments: you have to care for your teeth in between cleanings to keep cavities, plaque, and other dental concerns at bay. This at-home care keeps you from spending more time and money in the long run.    

Further your results

Along with protecting your investment in professional skin services, proper at-home care before and after your laser treatments helps you achieve even better results. If you’re going through the time, effort, and spending on a service, you might as well get the most out of it!

Related: Skin Care After Laser Hair Removal

Tips for pre-laser skin care

1. Stop retinol/retinoid use for at least a week before your appointment

Your skin is more sensitive when using active ingredients in products like retinol or retinoids. Stop using any of these products at least 1 week before your laser treatment to help prepare your skin. If you skip this step, it might even damage your skin. 

If you’re not sure what products to stop using in preparation for your treatment, consult with your provider! Our skin professionals at Amy Brenner, MD & Associates always provide detailed pre-care and post-care instructions for our patients.

2. Don’t get a suntan or sunburn

Getting a tan or sunburn messes with the pigment in your skin. A suntan is actually your body’s natural defense of the sun, where your skin produces more melanin (pigment) to help protect your skin from further damage. The excess pigment from a tan makes it difficult for lasers to target actual areas of hyperpigmentation, like sun spots or melasma. 

woman with a sunhat on to prepare for a laser treatment

Of course, you don’t want to get a laser procedure with a sunburn, as your skin is ultra-sensitive when you’re burnt. Getting a laser treatment with a sunburn can permanently damage your skin. 

3. Don’t use self-tanning products

Similar to why we won’t perform lasers on sunburnt or suntanned skin, we also can’t perform them on skin treated with self-tanning products. Since these products temporarily change your skin color, it makes it extremely difficult for the laser to target the correct portions of your skin.

4. Avoid certain medications and supplements

Certain medications and supplements like ibuprofen, aspirin, vitamin E, and fish oil can make you more susceptible to bruising or cause pigmentation issues. Be sure to tell your provider about everything you are currently taking to make sure there will be no interference.

5. Take before photos

This is a pretty easy tip, but many people forget about it! While we take professional before and after photos using the VISIA Skin Analysis imaging system, it doesn’t hurt to take some of your own before photos to track your results!

📸 DIY before and after photo tips: Try to take your before and after photos in the same location and same lighting for the best comparison! 

  • Avoid using natural lighting is that is hard to recreate
    • Natural lighting can also cause a “skin blurring” effect, making it difficult to see the true condition of your skin
  • Use a ring light or another type of lighting you can place in front of yourself (overhead lighting casts shadows)
  • If possible, take the photos with a darker background  
  • The key to consistent before and after photos is consistent placement and lighting

Tips for post-laser treatment care

1. Protect your skin from the sun

 While all of these tips for post-laser treatment care are very important, protecting your skin from the sun as it heals is probably most important. Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after any form of laser or IPL treatment, so to help your skin heal and avoid damage you should:

  1. Do not go into direct sunlight without SPF 50 sunscreen or higher for at least 4 weeks after your treatment.
  2. Wear physical sun protection over your treatment areas; think hats, long sleeves, high necklines, etc.

2. Don’t pick!

Some treatments can cause areas of hyperpigmentation to darken and form a rough texture called mends. Do not pick these or mess with any sort of flaking! Let your skin flake away naturally. Just like getting a tattoo or your eyebrows microbladed, leave your skin alone to do its thing as it heals. Picking can mess with your final results! 

woman looking at her skin in a mirror after a laser treatment

3. Moisturize and hydrate

While you cannot pick your skin, you should moisturize and hydrate to help along the healing process. You need to baby your skin throughout the healing process to help it heal quicker and keep your skin comfortable throughout recovery.

One of our favorite post-procedure products is SkinMedica’s Lytera® 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum. This product helps improve skin discoloration and optimizes results after laser treatments, chemical peels, Forever Young BBL, and more! This product works for all skin types and skin tones for many forms of hyperpigmentation/discoloration.

4. Avoid exfoliating products

The absolute last thing your skin needs during post-laser treatment care is exfoliation! Do not use any abrasive physician or chemical exfoliant products, including at-home treatments, serums, and scrubs. Many laser treatments vaporize dead skin cells to get rid of them, so there is no need to exfoliate during your skin’s healing period.

5. Take a social hiatus

Plan ahead for “social downtime” where you don’t have to go out and about as your skin recovers. If you’re receiving deep laser resurfacing like fractional CO2, your skin will go through a recovery period of about 5 to 10 days. Your skin can appear red for several days after your treatment, followed by pigment rising to the surface, appearing similar to blackheads or dried mascara. The dead skin begins to slough off as healthy skin below emerges. 

Along with avoiding the sun, you might feel uncomfortable being out and about as your skin goes through its healing process. It’s best to stay indoors for a couple of days to aid the healing processes after a laser treatment. 

6.Avoid strenuous exercise, but keep your body moving

You should take it easy while your skin recovers from laser therapy so your body can use most of its energy for healing. You also won’t want to sweat or cause any irritation from strenuous exercise during this time. 

It is good to keep blood and oxygen flow, so walking on the treadmill or outside when the sun isn’t at its peak (and with adequate sun protection!) can help.

7. Avoid certain medications

Certain medications like blood thinners are not good for skin before or after a laser treatment. If you’re experiencing discomfort, Tylenol is okay. Consult with your provider to ensure you are not taking anything that will interfere with your recovery period.

8. Nourish your body

Just like keeping your body moving to help you heal, you want to nourish your body with healthy foods. 

Some of the best foods that help you heal include:

  • Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Salmon, poultry, and shellfish
  • Sweet potatoes

Your drinks matter too! Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and sugary drinks, and go for healing drinks like different tea (green tea, ginger, chamomile). 

fruit and vegetables healthy food examples for post laser treatment care

9. Take progress photos

Sometimes days of healing can feel frustrating, and progress photos can be very motivating! Take daily photos to document your progress and feel the satisfaction of your results. 

Remember our DIY photo tips:

  • Avoid using natural lighting is that is hard to recreate
    • Natural lighting can also cause a “skin blurring” effect, making it difficult to see the true condition of your skin
  • Use a ring light or another type of lighting you can place in front of yourself (overhead lighting casts shadows)
  • If possible, take the photos with a darker background  
  • The key to consistent before and after photos is consistent placement and lighting

10. Sleeping tips

Sleep is as important to the healing process as the right foods, drinks, and physical activity. Make sure to get your 8 hours in every night! You can also help avoid anything happening during your sleep that may affect your results by:

  1. Sleeping on your back
  2. Using a silk pillowcase, so the fabric doesn’t pull on your skin

Visit Amy Brenner, MD & Associates for pre and post laser care and laser therapy services.

Ready to transform your skin with professional treatments? Visit us for our latest services and customized treatment plans! 

Our experienced providers will guide you through the process and ensure we meet and exceed your skin’s needs for beautiful results. At Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, we offer a warm, friendly environment for our clients in the Cincinnati metropolitan area while providing the highest quality surgical procedures and aesthetic treatments. No matter what, we will stick with you throughout your entire journey because your goals are our goals. 

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