How Soon After Fraxel Repair Can I Use my 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Lotion for Prevention?

I have been on the ACNE.ORG regimen for four years and has worked awesome. The regimen consists of gently washing, applying 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, and then moisturizing morning and night. I'm having the repair done in a few months but only on a fraction of my face that has scarring. Just wanted to know how soon I can go back on this regimen so I don't start breaking out again. Thanks!!

Doctor Answers 3

Benzoyl Peroxide after Fraxel

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I recommend that patients wait for about one month before application of potentially irittating substances like benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A. The skin is still undergoing intense healing the first month after treatment. THis is evident by residual erythema as well as scaliness of skin during this time period.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Skin care regimen after Fraxel laser treatment

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The skin care regimen before and after a Fraxel treatment are important to the overall outcome.  Generally, we recommend that you discontinue use of any retinoids, glycolics and/or bleaching agents two days before treatment.  Do not resume application of these products until 2-3 weeks post treatment, as you want to make sure your skin is fully healed.  If you are having severe breakouts after a Fraxel treatment, then a prescription for an antibiotic may be given. 

John Soderberg, MD, MPH
Raleigh-Durham Dermatologic Surgeon

Fraxel Repair/laser resurfacing pre and post procedure skin care

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Be very careful with skin care before and after Fraxel Repair laser resurfacing.  Skin care is a vital part of laser resurfacing and a great way to optimize your results.  In most cases, I recommend stopping abrasive products such as retinoids (Retin-A or Tazorac), any acid based skin care products, antioxidant products, benzoyl peroxide, etc., a minimum of 2 weeks before treatment.  We recommend pretreating patients with darker skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types 3, 4, and 5) with hydroquinone and a mild steroid cream.  We start all our patients on a gentle skin cleansing regimen with Cetaphil cleanser and a exfoliating brush such as the Clarisonic device.  We also recommend starting a multivitamin with extra vitamin C combined with drinking lots of water to make sure your skin is well hydrated and your body is well nourished for the increased demands it will face in terms of wound healing.

After treatment we recommend an aggressive moisturizing protocol.  There are two important rules to follow:  1.  Do not let your skin dry out and 2.  Do not expose your skin to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight).  In most cases, Aquaphor and Bacitracin can be used as semi-occlusive moisturizing agents and we have our patients apply these several times each day.  For acne prone patients, a less occlusive skin care regimen may be necessary.

Once the skin has sloughed off we switch to a less occlusive skin care product such as Elta Moisturizer, Cicaplast, or DCL Post Laser Recovery).  We also have our patients use a skin blocking cream preferably zinc based.  

Sun avoidance is critical in the initial few weeks while the skin is red.  Redness is a sign of inflammation and sun exposure in this period can lead to a problematic skin condition know as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) which can be difficult to treat.

Once the redness has faded it is generally safe to assume a post laser maintenance skin care regimen which can contain the abrasive products listed above.

The most important thing is to discuss your skin care in specific detail with your treating physician.  They will probably have their own preferences and make sure to carefully follow their recommendation.  

Skin care is absolutely critical for getting a good result with laser resurfacing and after the procedure your skin care will be critical in maintaining the result.

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.