There are a few different threats to the skin that it pays to be aware of, and sun damage is on any such list. The sun impacts our skin in various ways if we’re exposed to it for too long, from basic sunburns up through wrinkles and sunspots that appear over time, permanent skin changes and, perhaps most concerning for some, heightened risk of skin cancer and other skin conditions – but there are also steps you can take to mitigate the risks of sun damage, both on a day-to-day and long-term basis.
At the medical spa offices of Steven Jepson MD, we’re here to help. Not only do we offer numerous services that help limit or reverse the effects of sun damage, such as laser treatments like the Active FX Fractionated Laser, we also offer skin care products and several areas of expertise when it comes to protecting your skin from the effects of the sun and UV rays.
In fact, these two areas often intersect in direct ways. For instance, if you’ve recently had a laser treatment from Genesis Lifestyle Medical or are scheduled for one in the near future, there are several basic skin care and related themes you should consider for post-treatment care – both in terms of protecting yourself from further sun damage and for allowing the skin to return to its normal state in the days following your appointment. Here’s a primer on several of these skin care areas or products you should keep in mind following laser skin treatment, starting with the most important for sun protection in general.
Importance of Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a vital skin care tool for numerous individuals, even those who have not visited a medical spa recently or at all, but it’s particularly important for those who have recently undergone any kind of laser skin treatment. Used in coordinat ion with avoiding heavily prolonged sun exposure, sunscreen is vital for protecting the skin after treatment – and maintaining results. Without it, the harmful UV rays from the sun might noy only change your skin’s pigmentation in unique ways, but also limit the results of your treatment overall.
For at least seven to 14 days following your laser treatment, we recommend combining high-SPF sunscreen (at least SPF 30) with avoidance of prolonged sun exposure. If you do plan to be in the sun for any significant period of time, be sure to wear a hat and clothing that helps cover any of the areas you’ve had treated recently, in addition to applying sunscreen to these areas. Reapply sunscreen often, including if you sweat significantly.
Many who have undergone laser treatment will also choose to wear sunscreen indoors, especially if sitting by windows for long periods. While window glass does filter out many UV rays, it doesn’t filter all of them, and enough exposure through this method could still have a negative impact on your skin.
Moisturizing the Skin
Another important theme for many people following a laser skin treatment is the moisturization of the skin. To understand why this area is important, let’s dig a bit further into what actually happens during laser treatments.
During these sessions, treatments create a form of controlled trauma on the skin that’s meant to encourage the production and regrowth of collagen, a vital skin element. This process does leave skin slightly more sensitive and perhaps susceptible to germs, so we often recommend application of a heavy emolliant soon after the procedure to help soothe the skin and keep it protected from any germ risks.
And as you move forward with your healing process, it’s vital to continue moisturizing the skin tissues in the treated areas. This will allow the epidermis to continue to grow and rejuvenate, preventing scabbing and promoting quicker healing. Generally speaking, unscented and gentle moisturizers do best for these needs.
In the immediate aftermath of a laser skin treatment, your skin in the treated area will generally be red and somewhat irritated. You might be tempted to try and cover this with some foundation – but at least for the first few days, we’d recommend avoiding this practice.
This is because the chemicals in foundation, and in other types of makeup commonly used on the face, are not conducive to the healing process following laser treatment. They may not only cause you discomfort, but also actively interfere with healing and cause it to take longer. After a couple days you can generally return to using mineral-based makeup products, which are a bit gentler on the skin.
Not only is smoking a potential cause of skin damage in many cases, it significantly increases the risks of complications or side effects following laser skin treatments. There are several harmful substances found in cigarettes, and many of these will slow or even stop the healing process while irritating your skin. We recommend avoiding smoking of any kind for at least two weeks following treatment.
Limit or Wait on Exercise
While exercise is a necessary element for a healthy life, you may need to pause or relax your exercise regimen for a few days or just over a week following a laser skin treatment. Activity that’s too heavy can flush the skin, along with the potential for sweat making its way into the treated area and irritating it. While low-strain exercises like walking or stretching are generally okay, hold off on strenuous exercise for at least a short period.
For more on how to care for your skin following a laser skin treatment, including sunscreen usage for these and other situations, speak to the staff at the offices of Steven Jepson MD today.