Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) & laser treatments can be extremely effective in improving skin tone and texture. With that said, keeping up with these treatments can be a financial investment.
At Pacific Derm, we want our clients to get the most out of their treatments and maintain their results. That is why we encourage proper after care.
Whether it is your first time going for an IPL and laser treatment or you are a regular client, our comprehensive guide will run you through the best post-care tips to maintain the results of light and laser treatments.
With our aftercare tips, you can heal your skin faster with minimal to no downtime.
But first, let’s do a quick review of what light & laser treatments are and help you determine which is the right treatment option for your skin concerns.
What Is an IPL & Laser Treatment?
IPLs & laser treatments aim at improving various skin conditions like acne, rosacea, dark spots, pigmentation, sun damage, and fine lines. Both treatments might seem like they tackle similar skin concerns but there is a difference, which is why we encourage consulting with our specialists. First, let’s talk about laser treatments:
When it comes to skin resurfacing, Laser therapy is especially good for tackling those deep, stubborn wrinkles, pigmentation and scars that just won’t go away.
Skin resurfacing lasers create controlled heat injury to the skin, stimulating its response to trauma. This response increases collagen production, which helps heal pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, laxity, and dull skin.
There are many laser treatments available at Pacific Derm, including the following popular options:
Fraxel Re:Pair & Fraxel Dual
The Fraxel Re:Pair treatment combines fractional technology with a safe and effective CO2 laser to heal very aged and damaged skin. It’s especially successful in tightening loose or wrinkled areas around the eyes. Because it’s so precise, Fraxel Re:Pair can be used on the face as well as delicate areas like the neck, chest and hands.
In contrast, the Fraxel Dual combines two laser wavelengths, this technology can target deep or superficial issues like sun spots, age spots, fine lines and scars.
Laser Genesis is a comfortable laser treatment designed to rejuvenate the skin. This treatment can be easily done over lunch break and you can even go back to the office after the treatment. Your skin will feel slightly warm and look blush-pink post procedure, but it does not last longer than a couple of hours.
This is a great laser treatment to start with in general, and if you want to target redness, pore size, uneven texture, or you simply want to be proactive with your skin health. Another plus for this laser is if you don’t have time in your schedule for prolonged downtime.
While lasers treat many skin issues, light-based treatments are also a great option if you are looking to keep skin imperfections at bay. Light-based treatments are widely known to treat skin discoloration and sun spots. The most popular light-based treatment for these skin conditions is Intense Pulsed Light or IPL:
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy delivers many wavelengths of light to target the upper layer of the skin which helps stimulate the production of collagen from the dermis.
The IPL laser treatment is a go-to choice for getting rid of UV damage, hyperpigmentation, scars, and early signs of aging. Some of our clients love this laser as an overall photorejuvenation treatment for regular skin health maintenance.
IPL & Laser Post-care Maintenance
Taking care of your skin post-laser is the key to successful and lasting results. Laser treatments can leave your skin vulnerable to infections, sensitivity, and increased risk of sun damage which is why post-care is the first thing you need to discuss with your technician after treatment.
Post-care can vary depending on the type of laser treatment you choose. Your technician will inform you of specific post-care instructions and products that you will need to use.
Regardless of the treatment or your skin type, here are some things you should AVOID post treatment to maintain and enhance your results, reduce downtime, and prevent any potential side effects.
- Exposing your bare skin to the sun! Laser treatment leaves your skin vulnerable to sun exposure (UV rays) which can cause hypo or hyperpigmentation.
- Any kind of chemical or physical exfoliants that can irritate your skin and slow the healing process. This includes, but not limited to: retinols, glycolics, and salicylic acids.
- Skincare products that are fragrant. These can react with your skin causing redness and ultimately irritation.
- Washing your face following the night after treatment – Some laser therapies are ablative which means they can make your skin irritated by harsh chemicals.
- Going to saunas, hot tubs, and pools within 24 hours of your treatment. These areas are prone to bacteria and may increase your chance of infection.
Tips to follow right after laser treatment:
- Cleansing the skin is important as it helps clear buildup. Use a gentle cleanser to clean your skin post treatment.
- Use aquaphor or petroleum jelly as a protective layer over your skin and help it heal quickly.
- When washing your face, avoid hot water for at least 24 hours as this may induce pigment and inflame the skin, making it more uncomfortable.
- Ice packs – Right after the treatment session, soothe your skin with ice packs to reduce swelling.
- Cover your face with a scarf or a hat to help the skin prevent any direct contact with UV rays.
- Sunscreen is key! Make it a habit to use sunscreen every day, whether you are doing activities outside or sitting in your home office right next to a window.
Ablative laser resurfacing treatments require more post-care since these are deeper resurfacing treatments. There will be more distinguished redness and swelling on the skin. Since it removes the outer surface of the skin (the epidermis), this type of treatment will require more diligent post care.
You will need to use pain medications and ice packs for relief. Avoid sun exposure due to the risk of hyperpigmentation. You will also need to schedule follow-up appointments with your practictioner to carefully monitor the healing progress.
Ablative laser treatment takes about 4 weeks to completely heal. You can expect the skin to remain red for upto 6 weeks or longer but you can use makeup to cover that redness.
Together with the above-mentioned tips, make sure you keep in mind the following:
Medical grade skincare
When your skin heals fully after laser treatment, you can resume your regular skincare regimen. With that said, it is always best to use medical-grade skincare approved by your doctor. This is because medical-grade skincare products are specifically formulated to be results-driven, which can help with skin correction, increase skin cell turnover, and maintain the treatment results.
We cannot emphasize this enough- light and laser treatments can make your skin extremely sensitive to UV rays. With that in mind, it is crucial that you protect the skin barrier with broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Physical a.k.a mineral sunscreen does not degrade easily on the skin, however it’s still important to reapply every couple of hours in case of sweating and because it gets rubbed off overtime.
It is important to book a follow-up appointment to achieve best results AND maintain results.
Being consistent with IPLs & laser therapy plus using medical grade skincare will significantly improve individual skin journey. Great skin does not come overnight, great skin comes with commitment and hard work.
Try an IPL & Laser Treatment at Pacific Derm Today!
Unsure of where to start? Book a consultation with our Dermatologists. Here at Pacific Derm, we take a careful approach in building a treatment plan specific to your skin needs. We hope to welcome you in our office soon!