Laser Resurfacing Aftercare: All You Need to Know

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on April 16, 2024

Laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective procedure, but it does require some post-treatment care. Here’s all you need to know about laser resurfacing aftercare as a whole.

Laser Resurfacing Aftercare

Image source: Freepik

Laser skin resurfacing is an increasingly popular type of skincare that has a place in surgery and esthetics alike. There are a few different ways of doing these treatments and a few different types of lasers used for them. Each of them requires some form of aftercare.

Your doctor or laser tech will always have specific instructions for your particular case, but here’s a comprehensive overview of general laser resurfacing aftercare guidelines for the most popular laser types.

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Why Is Laser Resurfacing Aftercare Important?

After your laser skin resurfacing procedure, it is essential to follow proper aftercare instructions to ensure optimal healing and the best possible healed results.

The appropriate aftercare includes avoiding sun exposure, using moisturizers and sunscreen, and avoiding picking or scratching the treated area. Not following these specific aftercare instructions can result in complications such as prolonged healing time, scarring, or even infection.

Image source: Instagram @injector_lex

CO2 Laser Aftercare

CO2 laser after care post-resurfacing mostly revolves around nourishment and protection.

You need to remember to hydrate your skin regularly with a quality moisturizer. Your provider may prescribe a broad-spectrum SPF for daily UV protection.

If you are uncomfortable with redness or pink skin post-treatment, you can hide it with makeup after the treated area has fully healed. Use products with green undertones to neutralize the redness and stick to oil-free cosmetics to avoid clogging your pores.

Coolpeel Aftercare

A cool peel is unique in terms of aftercare because it doesn’t cause heat damage to the skin. The laser energy is delivered in short pulses in a spray pattern.

This significantly reduces treatment time and limits the heating of tissue, resulting in little to no downtime and minimal thermal trauma to the treated skin. As such, there’s no specific aftercare routine that you need to follow.

Carbon Peel Aftercare

After a carbon peel, your doctor will likely advise using gentle products and applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30+ for several days post-treatment. Additionally, moisturizing daily is important for promoting healing and maintaining the health of your skin.

Avoid using any products containing retinol for at least five days after your treatment, and do not exfoliate or use any abrasive or invasive skin treatments for at least a week.

If you have oily skin, use products designed to combat acne for optimum results. For photoaged skin or fine lines, consider using collagen-boosting products or collagen supplements.

Your laser specialist can give you a tailored aftercare routine for your skin type and condition. It’s also a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for additional care recommendations and the occasional check-in.

Image source: Freepik

Erbium Laser Aftercare

Erbium lasers can be applied ablatively, non-ablatively, or fractionally.

Each of these application methods treats different skin issues and imperfections. Since there are slight differences between them, your treatment provider might have different aftercare specifications in each case.

General recommendations are the same, however. After a resurfacing treatment with an erbium laser, you’ll need to follow a cleansing and nourishing routine.

Your provider will likely advise you to clean the treated area 2-5 times a day using a saline or diluted vinegar solution. You will also be given an ointment or moisturizing cream to keep the area hydrated and prevent excessive scabbing.

Once the healing process is complete, you should switch to using oil-free cosmetics to avoid clogging your newly sensitive skin. Your provider may also suggest a specific moisturizer and broad-spectrum sunscreen to maintain skin health and protect against UV damage.

IPL Photofacial Aftercare

Your IPL tech will provide specific instructions on how to care for your skin post-treatment, tailored to the procedure you had.

While an IPL photofacial isn’t technically a laser treatment, there are some general aftercare guidelines that everyone should follow.

The first step is to cleanse the skin with warm (not hot!) water and a gentle cleanser. Avoid sun exposure for a period of time, and commit to using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.

It’s important to keep the treated skin moisturized. You can use ice to relieve redness and swelling, with ice rollers being a neater option than ice packs.

In addition, resist the urge to scratch or pick at the skin until it has fully healed. Avoid using any chemical or mechanical exfoliants for at least a week, and avoid facial makeup until the healing process is complete.

Image source: Instagram @lambiente_hair_and_beauty

Fractional Laser Aftercare

Fractional laser skin care encompasses both ablative and non-ablative treatments and therefore covers all types of lasers that can be applied via these two methods. The main difference between these treatments lies in the distribution of energy.

With fractional skin resurfacing, the laser is divided into multiple small beams that create tiny treated areas, leaving untouched skin in between. This approach minimizes downtime and recovery time compared to traditional facial resurfacing.

As such, aftercare is likely to be milder and not as rigorous as it might be with other laser skin treatments. General care guidelines will most likely depend on the type of laser used.

Laser Resurfacing Aftercare Products

Your laser surgeon or your dermatologist will directly recommend any skincare product that you use immediately post-treatment. Follow those recommendations religiously until your skin completely heals.

After that, though, you can go exploring on your own. You might want to change the brands you’ve been using so far or switch up on the ingredients.

Remember, you want products that are nourishing, hydrating, not oily, and have good SPF. Here are some top choices from Amazon to get you started:

EltaMD Sunscreen

This sunscreen has a solid SPF of 46 and is formulated to be calming to sensitive skin. It’s lightweight and oil-free and contains zinc oxide which makes it suitable for acne-prone skin too.

As an added bonus, it’s sheer, meaning you don’t get any white traces after applying it!

Bioré Cooling Cleanser

This refreshing cleanser is particularly suitable for oily and acne-prone skin, but it’s also gentle enough for anyone’s daily skincare routine. It’s especially effective at removing oil and dirt that accumulate in the pores and cause acne outbreaks. It’s unscented and has a soothing cooling effect.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane SPF Moisturizer

This moisturizing lotion offers a decent degree of UV protection (SPF 30) and also restores the damaged skin barrier. It’s friendly to sensitive and acne-prone skin. Best of all, it’s oil-free and unscented, so it won’t clog your pores or interfere with your makeup.

Weleda Skin Food Cream

This face and body moisturizer is perfect for dry, rough, and damaged skin. It has a rich, botanical formula that transforms skin to appear more luminous.

Plus the formula is free from parabens and phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and preservatives which means it doesn’t contain any artificial or aggressive ingredients.

Laser Resurfacing Aftercare – Main Takeaways

Proper laser resurfacing aftercare is essential for optimal healing and long-lasting results.

Overall, it’s vital to nourish and moisturize the skin, protect it from the sun, and avoid irritating the treated area. Neglecting aftercare can lead to complications like scarring or infection.

Each type of laser treatment requires specific care steps. Your beauty provider or dermatologist will give you individual instructions tailored to your specific skin type, condition, and the treatment you underwent.

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