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Is it okay to have a lot of sun exposure after laser surgery for acne?

Our son is scheduled on a Caribbean cruise 3 days after this procedure. Is there any contraindication to prolonged sun exposure after this procedure?

Doctor Answers 10

Sun exposure shortly after laser surgery

A laser is a controlled second degree burn.  You do not see the blister but, initially you are red and wet and then red and dry at which point the focus is moisturizing and avoiding the sun. Recently burned areas are much more sensitive to the sun then your normal skin.  If you go out in the sun in the first 4-6 months you are definitely more sensitive and will burn more easily. I encourage you to use aggressive sunscreen, hats and avoid the sun on this upcoming trip to any areas that have been layered.

Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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Laser Treatment and Sun Exposure

It is advisable to avoid excessive sun exposure after most laser based treatments.  Clearly, it would be best if he was to postpone his treatment until he returns. Whether it is a resurfacing treatment or a nonablative treatment, intense sun exposure would be counter productive and perhaps compromise the results. Furthermore, on return it would be important to delay initiating treatment for several weeks as intense sunlight triggers a host of processes that contribute to inflammation and up regulation of production of melanin. Treating with a laser can intensify the pigment changes in the skin or even injure these cells resulting in long term loss of pigment.  I hope you encouraged him to speak to the facility about his intended plans.


Arthur Falk, MD

Arthur N. Falk, MD
Albany Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

We Always Recommend Patients Avoid Sun Exposure

Thanks for your question and understand that no matter if the laser is for acne, or wrinkles, or skin tightening, we always recommend that patients avoid sun exposure for a period of time after having the procedure, as lasers and light sources make the skin more susceptible to the sun, and over exposure to the sun can lead to an increase risk of adverse events, mainly too much pigment, which we call hyperpigmentation, and this can be difficult to make go away, which in itself is a problem. If your son has acne, avoid the laser before going to the Caribbean. The natural sunlight there will help some with the acne, and if the acne is still there when you return, he can always have the laser then.

Consult with a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to learn your best options.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Avoid Sun Exposure After Laser Skin Resurfacing

Thank you for the question.
The wounded treatment area will be pink and tender to the touch for at least 4 days and patients typically will be using a clear laser balm. Sun exposure will not be a good idea during this time period. We have removed the top layer of protective skin.
 After skin regrowth occurs, the skin will remain red for several weeks.
Proper care of the treated area while the skin is healing is extremely important. (SUN SCREEN IS VITAL)

Jon E. Mendelsohn, MD
Cincinnati Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Avoid sun exposure after laser surgery

The general recommendation is to avoid sun exposure for at least a week, perhaps even longer, after a laser or IPL treatment.  It would be best to consult the person treating you regarding the recommendations for the treatment you were given.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

No sun for 4 weeks post laser or scars WILL get darker.

Depending on what laser is used and the depth and density, sun exposure will need to be avoided for a period of at least 4 weeks.  

If UV hits the area, PIH will occur- or darkening of the skin. This is not permanent scarring, but can result in unwanted skin colour contrasts. Your son may then need treatment for this. 

My suggestion- delay the procedure, or have strict sunprotection during the cruise...

Dr Davin Lim
Laser Dermatologist
Brisbane, Australia

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

No Sun after Laser


No Sun after laser. The skin still needs to heal and exposing it to UV light will harm the process and likely lead to darkened pigmentation.

I hope this was helpful,
Dr. Barrett
Beverly Hills, CA

Daniel Barrett, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Sun protection is very important

After any procedure which causes injury to the skin, including lasers, it is especially important to protect the skin from sun exposure. Not only will this help prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, it will also protect the skin from wrinkles and skin cancer later on in life.

A mineral-based broad spectrum sunblock containing the ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are best. They function as actual "blocks" to the sun as compared with sun "screens" such as oxybenzone and avobenzone. Recommended brands include CeraVe SPF 50 face lotion, SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV, EltaMD SPF 41 UV Physical Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen.

Andrea Hui, MD
San Francisco Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Sun on lasered skin

This is a difficult question to answer since there are many kinds of medical laser.
You need to ask the dermatologist or plastic surgeon treating him.
If he is having resurfacing, I expect the answer will be 'no sun.'
Best wishes.

Sun exposure after laser treatment for acne.

Thank you for your question.  The simplest answered to your question is to ask the Dr. who is going to perform the treatment. 

Unfortunately without more information it is impossible to provide an appropriate answer.  Some laser treatments which actually target acne lesions do not require son avoidance within a few days of treatment.  In contrast, resurfacing procedures performed for treating acne scars require extensive recovery times in some situations.  Sun avoidance is extremely important following these procedures.  If you can provide more information about the type of treatment your son will be undergoing other physicians may also be able to give an opinion.

Brian Biesman, MD
Nashville Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.