Healing After Cosmetic Laser Procedures

Broadband Light Laser Therapy

BBL™ is used to treat: photodamage and other skin discolorations, diffuse redness or brown spots, acne, skin tightening, and hair reduction. The VariLite™ laser is used to treat more discrete prominent blood vessels, red or brown spots, in a single treatment.

With all of the intense pulsed light laser procedures, you can expect the following after treatment:

  • You may experience a sunburn sensation, redness or slight swelling in the treated area beginning a few minutes after the procedure and dissipating completely within a couple of hours.
  • Use sunblock on a daily basis between treatments. Sun exposure should be avoided or, at the very least, minimized. Treated areas are more prone to sunburn and pigmentation change.
  • You should require no pain medication greater than Extra Strength Tylenol.
    Essentially, there is no downtime. Immediately following treatment, you may apply makeup and sunscreen, go back to work, or otherwise continue in your usual lifestyle.

For more detailed post-care instructions specific to each BBL™ and VariLite™ laser procedure, we have provided you with downloadable PDFs as follows: 

Ablative Laser Therapy

Ablative laser procedures offered at our center include: MicroLaserPeel®, Contour TRL™ fully-ablative resurfacing, and ProFractional™ fractionated resurfacing.

With these procedures, you can expect the following:

  • A feeling of sunburn and tightness, redness and minor swelling. These short-term responses vary depending on the depth of treatment.
  • Aquaphor® or another healing ointment is applied within minutes of concluding your treatment. Using a healing balm the first 36-48 hours provides your skin with soothing relief and protection from the environment.
  • Facial masks with cooling and skin-soothing properties are provided to you for further relief of these minor side effects that may persist. Cold compresses or ice packs are also helpful.
  • Downtime can vary widely depending on the depth of your ablative or fractional ablative resurfacing procedure.

As a benchmark of anticipated downtime before returning to work:

  • MicroLaserPeel® is generally 3-4 days.
  • ProFractional™ is typically 1-2 days. Although this laser penetrates deeper into the skin, the fractionated nature of the laser leaves tiny islands of healthy skin that accelerate healing.
  • Contour TRL™ deep resurfacing can be 7-10 days, depending on the depth of treatment. 

For more detailed post-care instructions specific to each ablative laser procedure, we have provided you with downloadable PDFs as follows:

Skincare to Nourish and Protect New Skin

Be gentle—do not scratch, pick, or peel your skin after any laser procedure. To encourage flaking skin to rub off easily on its own, wash the treated area 2-3 times per day with tepid water and gentle cleanser.

Protect and extend the desired benefits of your laser results. Use high-quality sunscreen daily. Also incorporate a customized, comprehensive anti-aging home skin care regimen. These two easy steps make a big positive impact on the lasting nature of your results.

Our Post Laser Healing Kit also incorporates Total Protection SPF30 sunscreen. Among its protective ingredients, this sunscreen has 17% zinc oxide for a physical barrier of sun block beyond UVA and UVB protection alone.

Included in your laser consultation appointment is a consult with our medical esthetician. She advises you how best to nourish and protect your skin between and beyond the laser sessions in your series so that you achieve optimal post-laser results.

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Michael Macdonald, M.D.
500 Sutter Street
Suite 430
San Francisco, CA 94102