Real talk: Is there anything that a laser treatment can’t fix? An IPL laser (short for intense pulsed light) serves as the one-two punch for reversing sun damage, fading hyperpigmentation, and other pigment concerns in the skin, including red spots and rosacea.
IPL works by sending out a certain wavelength of light into the skin, which targets uneven pigment and breaks it down. The broken down pigment then rises to the surface of your skin and flakes off, revealing a brighter, renewed complexion! Right after your first treatment, you will notice a more even skin tone, tighter pores, and less pronounced lines. Your dermatologist will be able to determine how many follow-up treatments you’ll need to target specific issues.
While the finished effect can be totally transformative (and frankly, borders on pure magic), taking certain precautions before and after your treatment are key in ensuring the best possible result. Here, we break down exactly what you should do before and after getting a laser treatment.
BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
While staying out of the sun after your treatment tends to be a given, it’s just as important to avoid direct sunlight in the weeks beforehand. Even if you aren’t getting a tan, the sun can create minor amounts of inflammation that increase the risk for hyperpigmentation and adverse reactions.
Make sure to avoid aspirin/ibuprofen for one week prior and alcohol two days prior to your appointment. These are blood thinners and can cause unwanted side effects, like swelling and minor bruising. Also make sure not to do any aggressive waxing, exfoliation, or use formulas that lighten hyperpigmentation in the area either. The goal is to reduce any chances of inflammation to the skin so that your treatment heals with zero complications.
AFTER YOUR APPOINTMENT
You may notice that your skin looks and feels like it has a sunburn immediately following your treatment, and there might be a mild amount of redness and swelling. Don’t panic — this is normal and should subside in a few days. You can choose to apply ice or a cold compress for the sake of comfort and helping to reduce the swelling if needed. Dark spots may appear more prominent, but will eventually flake away to reveal your renewed complexion. As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to exfoliate them away or physically remove them.
As far as the rest of your skincare routine goes, avoid putting on makeup right after your treatment, keep your skin clean and hydrated, and wash your face with a super-gentle cleanser to avoid irritation. Stay out of sunlight to reduce the risk of inflammation, and when you do go outdoors, make sure to wear an SPF of 45 or higher. Don’t bathe in hot water, get into a hot tub, or swim in the pool or ocean for at least three days. Avoid astringents, toners, tretinoin, harsh soaps, scrubs, and other exfoliants that can irritate the area for at least one week following your treatment.
Follow the above tips, and your radiant complexion will be on full display in no time. If you want more personalized advice, we’re here for you! Feel free to reach out to our board-certified medical professionals today to schedule your consultation and appointment.