Skincare After Laser Resurfacing ? What You Need to Know

Laser skin resurfacing treatments can balance out your skin tone, reduce skin discoloration, and even eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Today’s innovative technologies include the C02 laser and Fraxel, and lasers are becoming one of the safest and most effective treatments in skin rejuvenation procedures across the country.   

Since your skin will need time to recover and heal after a laser resurfacing treatment, taking care of your skin after the procedure can be just as important as the treatment itself.

Even though a laser treatment may not be as harsh on the top layer of skin as a deep chemical peel, the laser will leave skin sore and tender for a few days. Wearing sunscreen immediately after treatment helps protect skin from UV damage and overexposure to the sun; since the cells will be especially vulnerable to skin damage during the post-treatment phase, you’ll need to find sun protection with an SPF 25 or higher. In addition to sunblock and sunscreen, you may not be able to wear makeup or apply chemical-based skincare products for a few days.   

Dr. Michael Law, MD of an aesthetic plastic surgery center in North Carolina recommends that patients limit sun exposure and maintain a healthy skincare routine after their laser treatments. This can help protect results, and makes it easier to manage skin for the long-term.  

Here are a five more ways to take care of your skin after a laser resurfacing treatment:  

  1. Reduce redness and pinkish skin tone with light makeup application. Mineral based makeup can help you achieve the best results for your skin without irritating the top layer or causing inflammation. Liquid makeup may irritate sensitive skin immediately after treatment, so mineral makeup can help reduce the chances of irritation or breakouts.
  2. Learn about appropriate moisturizers. Your doctor or certified aesthetician may recommend specific products to keep your skin hydrated and well-protected. You may need to switch moisturizers temporarily to soothe skin and reduce puffiness or redness.
  3. Reduce puffiness with cooling gels and masks. Your doctor or aesthetician may also make recommendations on cooling ointments that can help reduce any swelling or redness you may experience. However, most people do not experience excessive swelling after laser resurfacing treatments.
  4. Skip the workouts for a few days. Your skin will be tender and sore for up to a week after treatment, so it’s best to avoid activities that will make you sweat. 
  5. Drink plenty of water. Helping the skin recover and heal can improve your cell turnover rate; maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for long-term skin management, but is especially important right after treatment. Water helps keep the body in balance so that new cell generation becomes much easier.  

Laser skin resurfacing treatments stimulate collagen deep beneath the skin’s surface, and this helps increase cell turnover naturally. As your body produces new cells, the top layer of skin will react in different ways. Most people see a dramatic change immediately after the treatment, and recovery begins between 24-48 hours after the procedure; this is a critical time for you to take extra care of your skin and help it heal at a natural rate. Using a powerful sunblock and sunscreen are some of the best ways to protect vulnerable skin after treatment, and going without chemical-based makeup can also help enhance results.  

Your cosmetic surgeon, dermatologist, or aesthetician will be able to guide you through the recovery process basic skincare routine, and may recommend various products during and after treatment. Learn more about laser skin resurfacing treatments in our information guide, or find a cosmetic dermatologist in your area so you can enjoy the benefits of laser treatments and achieve a healthy glow.