Does it make sense to wait until winter to do laser skin resurfacing? Is there a higher risk of damage and pigmentation even if I wear sunscreen, a hat, glasses, etc., just because of ambient reflected light?
Is It Best to Wait Until Winter for Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Doctor Answers (6)
When to resurface
There is no correct response for this question. Resurfacing can be done at any time of the year, but every year I tend to see that a majority of my resurfacing procedures are done during the fall and winter months. I guess that is due to the fact that patients are more time indoors anyway. So I think that the reality in time of year to do this procedure is patient preference.
Facial resurfacing and time of year
If you go into the sunbelt states, resurfacing of the face occurs year round. I think that as long as you wear sunscreen and are conscious to avoid a lot of sun exposure, you should be oK.
Laser resurfacing and the season
Timing of laser resurfacing depends on your individual needs. It is best to always wear sunscreen after laser resurfacing anyway to prevent additional sundamage. Most of my patients do the procedure during the summer months because that is when they are on vacation. Of course doing the procedure when it is cooler is preferable since you have to hang out for 10 to 14 days before you can wear make up or sunscreen. I hope this information helps.
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Resurfacing and sunny climate
After laser resurfacing you must keep your skin well protected from sun exposure for as much as a year or more. The first several weeks are even more important. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, trying to stay out of direct sunlight, especially in the late morning through mid afternoon, and using a high numbered ultraviolet A and B sunscreen and/or a zinc or titanium dioxide sunscreen too, all help minimize the postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (darkening) although some patients may develop this because of their skin type and not sun exposure. Keep in mind that people do undergo these procedures in California, Texas, Florida, Hawaii and many places where the sun is strong throughout the whole year.
Timing of laser resurfacing
Sun exposure after ablative laser resurfacing can lead to a condition known as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This condition is temporary and can be treated but is something you definitely want to avoid. For this reason, many patients choose to have laser resurfacing in the fall or winter.
Laser resurfacing may be done year round
The answer to what season laser resurfacing should be done depends more on personal factors then weather. In Florida we do laser resurfacing year round but tend to do the teachers, realtors and others who work seasonally during the non-season summer months.
If you live in a northern climate, have a flexible schedule and want to be outside during the summer than I agree to waiting until fall or winter. In general we have patients avaoid the sun for about a month after resurfacing but this also depends upon the depth and agressiveness of resurfacing.
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.