Skin Care After Laser Resurfacing?

seems like the laser resurfacing will be tough on my skin. what should I do?

Doctor Answers (18)

Best skin care after laser resurfacing is cleansing and moisturization

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Good skin care after laser resurfacing is essentail to ensure a good result and avoid complications.

Most complications following laser resurfacing are caused by failure to properly take care of the skin after laser resurfacing.

There are three essential components of post laser resurfacing skin care:

  • The skin must be kept moist with topical cream or ointment
  • The skin must be kept clean, all secretions and skin debris removed
  • Sun block and prevention is essential for the new skin


Initially after laser resurfacing I apply Aquaphor, a gentle safe ointment which prevents the newly resurfaced skin from drying out. I also have patients apply Saline soaked gauze pads to the face and change them every few hours. The Saline soaked gauze pads not only keep the skin moist but also loosen and remove dead skin cells and skin debris to keep the surface of the skin clean

Cleaning the resurfaced skin

Dead skin cells and secretions, if they are not removed, can lead to skin infection and subsequent complications such as scarring.

Keeping the skin clean and free of secretions is very important especially during the first few days after laser resurfacing.

Cleansing must be gentle, as you do not want to remove new skin celles that are forming after the laser resurfacing.

The best, most efective and comforting method is to apply saline soaked gauze sponges to the face. Every 3-4 hours the sponges are changed with a gentle wiping to remove accumulated debris

Newer fractional ablative laser resurfacing results in quicker healing, shorter skin care

Newer fractional laser resurfacing leaves many skin cells intact and results in quicker healing. Especially the Erbium 2940 fractional ablative laser resurfacing produces fewer secretions and less skin debris after laser resurfacing.

Older CO2 laser resurfacing can require 2-3 weeks of skin care.

Newer fractional 2940 Erbium laser resurfacing can result in healing in the first few days. Saline soaks are often necessary for only 24 hours and the skin is often fully healed in 5-7 days.

Skin Care After Laser Resurfacing

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The skin care for laser resurfacing begins even before the procedure is performed. This consists of sun avoidance 3-4 weeks before and some pre conditioning with Retin A and Hydroquinone creams. These creams are then stopped 5 days prior to the procedure.

Immediately after the procedure, a thin layer of petroleum ointment such as Aquaphor should be applied for approximately 5-7 days. Also during this period, it helps to keep the skin wet with frequent showers and soaking with wet gauze to help gently remove some of the sloughing skin.

After 7 days most patients can begin to wear make-up and just use a gentle facial moisturizer. Sun avoidance continues for 4-6 months with hats and sun blocks to maintain the healthy delicate skin you worked so hard to get. Laser resurfacing patients are some of the happiest out there once they have healed.

Sincerely Dr. D.

Louis M. DeJoseph, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Skin care after laser

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There are 2 answers to this question. In the immediate post operative period, Most physicians have a regimen involving hydration of the skin by frequently splashing with water and a laser ointment to keep the skin hydrated and soft, A SPF 60 or higher sunscreen is essential to "protect your investment" and insure long term results. We use antioxidant with vitamin C and Green Tea to repair sun damaged DNA and an exfoliant such as Glycolic acid or a Retinoid to maintain smoothness and stimulate new collagen production.

Michael Tomcik, MD
San Ramon Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Skin care after laser resurfacing

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After laser resurfacing, you should follow the immediate post- procedure protocol as recommended by your physician which typically consists of products the hydrate, soothe, and protect the skin while it is healing. Skin care beyond the immediate post- op period should focus on sun protection and products that promote collagen production like topical vitamin c and topical products that contain growth factors.

Skin care after laser resurfacing extremely important

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While there are different types of laser resurfacing, some more aggressive than others, they all require good skin care following the treatments to avoid complications and ensure optimal results.

The two most important parts of good skin care following laser resurfacing are emolliation and sun avoidance/sun protection. We recommend intense emolliation to the treated areas for the first week after the treatment with either aquaphor or vaseline ointment several times a day. We also prefer in that same time period that our patients avoid using any other prescription or over-the-counter products and that they gently cleanse with plain soap and water. Once the skin peels (sheds) and new skin begins to come in, which usually starts at the end of that first week, one can slowly start to resume their prior skin care regimen.

Regarding the sun, absolute sun avoidance (strict sun protection) is essential for at least several months after the procedure. That includes avoiding the sun as much as possible and using sunscreens, wide hats, sunglasses and so forth when having to be in the sun. After a few weeks, in certain patients, we will add back in a topical RetinA cream and/or a topical bleaching cream (ie. hydroquinone 4% cream).

The lasers are excellent for many different types of skin resurfacing, but if you dont do your part and take care of your skin after the treatments, a lot of the benefit is lost and you take the risk of doing some damage.

Hope this helps.

Skin care after laser resurfacing

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It is more important that ever after laser resurfacing to protect your skin from sun exposure daily, all year round.

Immediately after your treatment I place you on a regimen to gently cleanse your skin, keep your skin hydrated and UV protected. After about a week or two, I adjust your skin care for your skin's need to include an appropriate cleanser, a targeted treatment serum or cream, moisturizer for daytime and evening, as well as a sunscreen.

After your treatment it is prudent to have your provider check your skin at intervals for up to 3 months to see how well you have responded to treatment. We have our patients come in for a skin check and skin care adjustment at intervals, up to 6 months after their fractional resurfacing treatment.

Anifat Balogun, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon

Skin Care After Laser is Very Important

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Laser Resurfacing provides patients with wonderful results, however the first 2-3 weeks of healing are crucial for obtaining the best results. These first two weeks are when the skin regenerates or rebuilds itself and any problems that occur may cause the normal healing process to go wrong. It is important to avoid sun, to prevent infection and to allow the skin to heal in a controlled and problem free environment.

The basic routine is to take antibiotics and antivirals to prevent infection and to follow a strict regimen for skin care. These medications are safe and effective when taken as prescribed. Keeping the skin clean with routine washes and applying ointments help the skin to heal in the ideal and controlled manner. Most important, is to avoid any direct sun while the skin is rebuilding a new surface. Sun can cause burns, unwanted pigmentation and an uneven skin tone.

Your experienced laser surgeon will provide you with a routine and guidelines to help you achieve the best results, but it is important that you follow his/her advice to get you through this crucial period in order to achieve the best result.

Laser resurfacing is one of the best tools we have for rebuilding, tightening and rejuvenating aged or sun damaged skin, but it requires a commitment from patients to follow their physicians guidelines and to keep follow up appointments with their physicians to ensure that the skin is healing in an ideal manner.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Skin care after laser resurfacing is very important to enhance the result

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Skin care after laser resurfacing is very important to enhance the result. It is very important to be on a regimen of skin care prior to laser resurfacing which should include retin a products, glycolic acid products and vitamin c. These products will help to promote healing after the laser treatment as well as enhance the cosmetic results of the laser resurfacing procedure itself. Furthermore, once you have undergone the procedure, it is equally important to stay on those same products especially retin a. Finally, sunscreens are imperative to not only prevent further damage to the skin but to also prevent issues with pigmentation problems.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Sun protection and lubrication are esssential

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The two most important precautions after CO2 laser resurfacing are sun protection and lubrication. In terms of sun protection, you should treat your skin as if it were a baby's skin: no sun exposure for the first 6 months and always wear a hat,sunglasses, and sun block every day.

Regarding lubrication, the skin should be kept moist until after the old skin sheds and the new skin grows in. I recommend a thin coat of simple petroleum jelly like Vasline.

Jonathan Hoenig, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Skin Care After Laser Resurfacing?

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After laser treatment the older skin will become dry and peel off, during this time it is important to keep the skin lubricated. To care for the skin after resurfacing:
  • After laser treatment the skin tends to dry out, apply Vaseline or similar lubricating ointment regularly while the skin is crusting and peeling.
  • Wash your face regularly with a cetaphil skin soap (simple skin soap with few preservatives) to clean the skn from skin debris and body secretions. Cleansing gently with gauze sponges to clean the skin every 3-4 hours is recommended.
  • Keep using skin moisturisers and cleansers after peeling has completed
  • Keep using sun protection creams (SPF of 30 or above) for at least 6-months

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.