When Pre-Treatment of Your Skin is Required

Depending on your ethnicity and Frederick scale (I-VI) skin type, as well as your selected laser or chemical peel therapy, you may be required to pre-treat your skin for a period of weeks.

Pre-treatment with our hydroquinone (HQRA+) product and Vitamin C serum ensures optimal results and minimizes the risk of post-treatment hyperpigmentation. Our HQRA+ is a specifically, highly concentrated formula with 7% hydroquinone, .05% Tretinoin, and .05% hydrocortisone.

Dr. Macdonald or our laser specialty nurse thoroughly discusses with you any skin pre-treatment requirements at your initial consultation.

No Sun Exposure

  • For 2-4 weeks prior to each BBL™ laser session, you should avoid active tanning. You want the unwanted pigment (i.e., in hair follicles, sun spots, red spots, acne) to stand out distinctly from the color of your natural skin vs. competing with the pigment created by a suntan.
  • At the time of treatment, if you have extra melanin in your skin from tanning, you can still be treated. However, laser settings must be adjusted accordingly so that you get the safest and most effective treatment.
  • When you buy your custom laser package, plan ahead and include a bottle of Dr. Macdonald’s specially formulated, medical-grade sunscreen, Total Protection. It contains 17% zinc oxide. The zinc ingredient creates a physical barrier between the sun and your skin.


It is very important to communicate any medical conditions you have and all medications you are taking. Your safety is always our first priority.

Prior to your free laser consult appointment with our nurse, please complete the forms entitled Medical History for Laser/BBL™ Procedures and Skin Type Matrix under our Patient Forms page. These forms help identify medications and other pertinent skin details necessary to plan the safest, most effective treatment.

  • Stop use of Accutane™ for acne at least 6 months prior to receiving any laser therapy. Stop use of tetracycline-type prescription medications for acne at least 2 weeks prior to receiving any BBL™ laser therapy. Lingering pharmaceutical effects could have a negative impact on the outcome of your BBL™ laser treatment.
  • Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products for 2 weeks prior to any ablative laser procedure (MicroLaserPeel®, Contour TRL™ or ProFractional™).
  • If you are prone to cold sores, Dr. Macdonald will prescribe an antiviral medication prior to your ablative laser procedure. Be sure to take it as directed. This medication combats any potential breakouts that could be instigated by the heat of the laser.
  • If you have a medical condition making you prone to seizures, whether or not you take specific anti-seizure medications, laser therapy is not an appropriate treatment for you due to the associated risks. Ask Dr. Macdonald about other cosmetic treatment options that may still accomplish your goals without these risks.

Planning for Driving and Post-Laser Care

For all deep ablative laser therapies including ProFractional™ and Contour TRL™ deep resurfacing, we highly encourage you to arrange for a friend or family member to be available to drive you to and from your procedure.

You are offered prescription pain and anti-anxiety, relaxant medication prior to your treatment. This medication helps ensure maximum comfort throughout your procedure. However, if you elect to take these medications, you may not drive yourself home afterward. So, plan ahead.

Any post-treatment medications required are provided at the time of your treatment. Downloadable, detailed post-treatment instructions are available in the after laser treatment section.

The most critical after-care measure you can take is to avoid sun exposure as much as possible. Use a sunblock containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for at least 6 months.

Post-treatment discomfort with any BBL™ or Varilite™ treatment is rare. With any ablative resurfacing treatment (MicroLaserPeel®, Contour TRL™ or Profractional™), some discomfort can be expected during the first 2-4 days following your treatment—depending on the aggressiveness of treatment. An occlusive healing balm applied to treated areas helps minimize any discomfort.

Schedule Adequate Healing Time

  • BBL™ and VariLite™: With the BBL™ or VariLite™ laser therapies we offer, no downtime is usually required for healing. At most, you experience minor redness or irritation for a couple of hours. It can easily be covered with concealer makeup.
  • MicroLaserPeel®: The MicroLaserPeel® is a superficially ablative procedure, sometimes referred to as a “weekend peel” or “3x microdermabrasion”. For a lighter MicroLaserPeel®, the healing downtime you should plan for is 3-4 days.
  • ProFractional™: ProFractional™ therapy, if administered alone vs. part of a combination laser therapy approach, has a downtime of approximately 1-2 days.
  • Contour TRL™: Ablative Contour TRL™ deep resurfacing procedures require the most downtime, usually ranging from 5-10 days.

When scheduling time off work and absence from public social engagements, we recommend conservatively allowing for the longer estimated healing days. Planning for maximum downtime relieves anxiety and stress during your healing process.