Protect Your Investment: 3 Things to Do After Laser Treatments
If images of Dr. Evil using finger quotes to send a “laser” to the earth enter your mind every time you hear of laser treatments, you may not be as familiar with these skin treatments as you think. Lasers are one of the fastest and most effective ways of reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots, acne scars, and other skin issues. However, to ensure that you get the best results possible, you need to make sure your recovery is as easy as possible. This starts before the laser procedure and continues well past the initial healing time. This article will discuss three ways you can improve the effectiveness of the procedure. Read on to learn more.
- Prep the Skin First
Any injury to the skin causes a reaction in the melanocytes, the pigment cells. This can cause either hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or both. The nature of the laser procedure causes an injury, so it can cause these problems. Prepping the melanocytes first to prevent them is significantly easier than trying to correct them after the fact. One of the things that the laser does to improve the skin is stimulate collagen production in the skin. This thickens the support of the skin and makes it more resistant to future wrinkling. Prepping the skin can increase the collagen production and, thus, improve the results of the procedure. Minimum prep is hydroquinone and Retin-A, though we prefer to prep using the entire Obagi® Nu-Derm System. It stabilizes the melanocytes, begins collagen stimulation and reduces the dead cell layer that makes the laser procedure easier.
- Care for Your New Skin
Immediately after the laser treatment the treated area will be raw and weeping. For the first 24-48 hours cool compresses or an ice bag over a clean cloth is quite comforting. It’s important that you keep this area as clean as possible, otherwise bacteria can creep through the open wounds and cause an infection. To keep the area clean, wash it with a gentle facial cleanser and cool water or a cool mixture of 1 cup water with 1 tsp vinegar several times a day. Alternately, you can just let cool water from the shower run over it. You also want to avoid excessive movement of the area during healing. If the area is around the mouth, you want to avoid vigorous chewing, though it is important to maintain a good diet high in protein to encourage rapid healing. Along this line, since smoking reduces healing. you should avoid smoking for a month before and several months after the procedure.
- Continue Good Skin Care and Sun Protection
Lasers do their magic by removing the top few layers of your skin in order to produce newer, healthier, smoother skin. As your skin heals it is more vulnerable to burning and sun damage. Therefore, you need to intensify your efforts at sun protection and cover up with a hat and increased use of sunscreen. As soon as the surface is healed, you need to start back using a cleanser, pH balancer and Hydroquinone. At about 4 weeks after healing you can start back on the alpha hydroxy and Retin-A. The more you use the Retin-A, the more collagen you create and the stronger the skin and the better the result. At this point, adding Obagi® ELASTIderm will help convert some of the collagen to elastic tissue and, thus, further tighten the new skin.
Take care of your skin before and after a laser treatment by using the tips listed above. To learn more about Laser Skin Rejuvenation, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today!