Best Skin Aftercare Following Laser Resurfacing?

Is there anything special I need to do (or not do) to recovery skin after a laser skin treatment or increase the effectiveness of the laser treatment?


Doctor Answers (19)

After Laser Care

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My routine after a deep laser is:

  • Elta cream (a Vaseline type ointment) applied immediately after the procedure, keep reapplying as it dries out until you first get in the shower
  • Starting on day 2, the patient gets in the shower and gently washes the face (no soap) 4-6 times a day
  • Reapply the Elta cream after each shower
  • Keep this up until all the crusting, flaking and peeling is gone.  This usually takes 7-10 days following a deep Erbium treatment
  • Once the skin is not peeling anymore, you an apply a coverup makeup to hide some of the reddness
  • Moisturize with a very hypoallergenic lotion like Cetaphil
  • Keep using very mild moisturizers until the pinkness and reddness has faded (be patient as this can take weeks or even months)

Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Best care after laser treatments

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Generally, after laser treatments, the most important thing you can do for about a week is to make sure the skin stays moist. There are a whole variety of things to do that from Vaseline to more complicated creams. About a week after treatment it’s important to start up with topical agents that maintain and further improve the results from the laser treatment. At the top of the list are products that contain glycolic acid and growth factors.

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Skin Care After Laser Resurfacing

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As a general rule, after laser resurfacing the skin should be kept moist until healed. We use a special type of bandage for the first 24 hours called Vigilon and then after that an ointment called Aquaphor. But each doctor probably has a particular product or regimen that they prefer. By keeping the skin moist it heals twice as quickly as letting it dry out. Its an old wives' tale that you let the air get to a wound to speed healing; its just the opposite. After the skin is healed following laser resurfacing a continuing regimen utilizing a retinoid will help stimulate further collagen deposition and improve and maintain the result.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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In order to achieve optimum results from a laser...

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In order to achieve optimum results from a laser treatment, follow the treatment with either a glycolic acid or retinol serum and a ceramide containing moisturizer.

Ava Shamban, MD
Santa Monica Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Skin care after laser resurfacing

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Skin heals best when it is kept moist.  The best way to accomplish that is to apply an ointment with no irritants in it, such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline) every two-three hours for three days after the procedure.

It is also extremely important to stay out of the sun while the skin is healing.  The skin has very little protection after a resurfacing procedure and may be damaged more easily by ultraviolet light.  In addition, exposure to the sun may lead to complications, such as hyperpigmentation.

After the skin is healed and all the scabs/crusts are gone, a good skin care regimen with a mild cleanser, a moisturizer and a retinoid cream will help maintain and improve the results of the procedure.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Stay out of the sun before and after treatment plus...

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  1. Stay out of the sun before and after treatment plus appropriate skin protection.
  2. Use constant application of gentle moisturizers every couple of hours after treatments.

Neil Sadick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Post Laser Skin Care

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Correctly caring for your skin after a laser resurfacing treatment is important in order to promote healing and prevent complications. I have my patients clean their skin twice daily with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil and apply Aquaphor several time a day to keep the skin moist. Usually after three days they switch from Aquaphor to Cetaphil lotion. After 5-7 days, patients can put on makeup and should be diligent about using sunscreen and avoiding sun exposure.

Steven M. Daines, MD
Newport Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Skincare after Resurfacing

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Your skincare regimen after resurfacing depends on the laser procedure you had performed.  Your provider should provide detailed instructions following your treatment.  Our office performs the Erbium:Yag laser peel.  Following treatment, patients are recommended to wash with Cetaphil cleanser and use Aquaphor.  We also recommend a vinegar wash to minimize the risk of infection.  The third day after the treatment, the skin has healed sufficiently for patients to resume wearing a light mineral makeup.  

Kent V. Hasen, MD
Naples Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Post-laser care

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After your laser resurfacing you will apply a non-occlusive dressing to your face for the first five days to keep your face moist. You may wash with a mild cleanser. Applying cool compresses helps cool the skin and can help with the itching and/or discomfort. Your face will be red and peel for three to five days. You can apply a moisturizer and sunscreen after the fourth day. Your face will be pink, similar to a sunburn for ten to fourteen days. After seven days you may use make-up. Avoid exfoliation (Retin-A, facials, microdermabrasion) for six weeks. You may start back on Hydroquinone at two weeks.

Best skin care for laser resurfacing

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Laser resurfacing removes skin layers and creates controlled damage to the underlying supportive structures. In response to this injury your body restores skin and collagen which yields a smoother skin surface and tightens the skin envelope. Since our cells are mostly water a moist environment is best to promote healing and minimize scarring. Almost any technique which provides this moisture will be of benefit. Commonly used approaches include ointments such as aquaphor or Vaseline till the top skin layer is healed then sunblock and perhaps collagen enhancing creams to enhance the laser resurfacing benefit. If you have a history of cold sores make sure you inform your surgeon as you should probably be on medicine to minimize a breakout which could affect your healing.

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.