Swollen After the new Halo Laser Treatment

I had an aggressive Halo laser treatment yesterday. Today my face is so swollen that I feel my skin will burst. I have had other laser procedures in the past and have never swollen up like this. How long will it take for the swelling to subside and is there anything I can do to ease it a bit. Possibly ice or ibuprofen? I'm a bit nervous that because it's so swollen, the skin won't go back to it's normal shape. Given my age of 61 I'm nervous it will stay stretched after the swelling goes away.

Doctor Answers 16

Swelling is a predictable part of Halo treatment.

Hi PreciousOne53, thanks for your question. I’m sorry you’re experiencing a difficult recover

Swelling is a common side effect of Halo laser and other laser resurfacing treatments. I recently had the Halo Pro treatment, and experienced rather significant swelling myself! We find that swelling typically resolves completely within the first week. During this time, we advise our patients to avoid salty foods, sleep with the head elevated, and may take an antihistamine. Avoid excessive icing, as it may actually contribute to swelling. If the swelling is excessive, you can contact your doctor to request a steroid taper. 

Swelling will not cause permanent looseness. The Halo and Halo Pro resurfacing treatments have a proven safety record and high satisfaction rate. Generally, the patients who have a more significant inflammatory response will actually end up with more significant collagen stimulation, improvement to elasticity, and a better overall result. That said, if you continue to experience discomfort or uncertainty, contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms. 

Raleigh-Durham Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Swelling is normal for the Halo Pro

Most commonly you will have swelling after a Halo Pro laser treatment. Swelling will happen with any heat related laser treatments. Swelling will not affect the outcome but it can last 2-4 days depending on the depth of your treatment. Sleeping elevated will help prevent additional fluid to build up at night. Throughout the day swelling will get better because of physical activity.

David L. Robbins, MD, FACS
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


Halo is really the best laser resurfacing we have ever had- it is the first "hybrid" laser- We have had nothing but very happy patients and amazing results.

I would make sure you stay elevated (your head above your heart) and try to relax you have a beautiful result in store!

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Swelling after HALO

All of my patients swell after HALO. This is a normal response and it typically lasts up to 3 days. To reduce swelling I suggest to ice 20 minutes on and off, low sodium diet, and to elevate your head when you are sleeping. Remember to keep you face clean and moisturized. The swelling should subside, if it doesn't, follow up with your Dr. I wish you luck and hope you love your results!

Robert G. Aycock, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Halo laser postoperative course

It is unlike any other laser system because it has both ablative and non-ablative wavelengths.  It is not just another fractional laser treatment like other physicians may suggest (particularly those without Halo).  

I have see different individuals have different postoperative courses, and have seen the same individual have different postoperative courses following her first and second treatments. 

What I have found is that it is 100% vital to sleep the first few nights with your head elevated.  Those who have done best from swelling standpoint have slept in chairs. Those who slept flat on their back or on one side have seen more swelling.  

The good news is, I have not seen swelling or redness last more than 5 days and everyone has been completely healed by day 6.  Everyone has been extremely pleased with their results so far!  Hang in there for another couple of days and you will be very glad you had a Halo laser treatment.  

Best wishes!

W. Bryant Walker, MD
Jackson Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Swelling is normal, and will subside.

Please rest assured that the swelling will improve over the next 48 hours. You may get the swelling from the deep "non-ablative" heating of your dermis, but that will help improve the pores and texture of your skin. It is a good sign that the treatment had the intended effect. To help with the swelling, I suggest cool gel face-masks, or frozen peas in a plastic bag. If it is getting worse, please call your doctor as they may want to prescribe a Medrol pack to control the swelling. 

Kaveh Alizadeh, MD, MSc, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swelling is a common reaction after Halo Laser Treatment

It is common for patients to have some degree of swelling after any laser treatment to the face.  The degree of swelling varies from patient to patient, but is usually mild to moderate at most.  Everyone will react different and it is difficult for a practitioner to predict the  exact degree of swelling, and can even vary in the same patient from session to session.  In my experience, I have found that no matter how aggressive a Halo treatment is performed,  the downtime is 5-7 days across the board.  However there is always the exception. Medicine is not an exact science.

Yes, there are thigs to do to help the swelling subside.  Elevation of the head, ice, Ibuprofen, benadryl work well for this situation.  Rarely, if the swelling is dramatic we can prescribe a Medrol Dose Pack to help it resolve quicker.

Your skin will go back to its normal shape, it is not stretched to the point of not returning to its natural shape.

In my experience, between 5-7 days you will be up and running and on your way to healthy skin.  Hope you found this answer helpful.  All the best!

Burke Robinson, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Swelling after the Halo

Swelling after the Halo is normal and can last up to 3 days after treatment.  It is always best to follow up with the provider who performed the treatment to evaluate your swelling.  Elevated sleeping will help reduce swelling as well as Benadryl.  You may need a prescription mediation to help reduce swelling which can be given by the provider.  Good luck!  

Hannah Vargas, MD
Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Halo Post-op swelling

Swelling is very normal after a Halo treatment. It is typically the worst on the first morning after the treatment, is progressively better each day  and usually gone by day 4.  In my experience, people who have not had other laser treatments in the past swell the most and typically this swelling is not as bad the second time around.  The results are independent on this swelling so do not worry if next time you don't get as much swelling that the treatment did not work or that they did a different dose.  I do encourage most people to get more than one Halo treatment because the additional treatments spaced a month apart do give even more improvement.
Things you can do for the swelling:
1. Ice. 
2. Arnica- the oral tabs
3. allegra or benadryl- this works best at the time of treatment
4.NSAIDS- may or may not help much- best taken with the treatment.
5. Some people recommend Prednisone- but knowing that your swelling will subside in a couple days I prefer not to prescribe steroids. Steroids can have serious health effects and in my opinion should be reserved for treatment of serious conditions- not aesthetic treatments.
6. Rest- give yourself the rest your body needs to heal and know that this is all temporary and in a week your skin is going to look great!

Quenby Erickson, DO, FAAD, FACMS
Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Halo Swelling

Swelling reactions to Halo vary by patient skin type and the depth and density of treatment.  If you are someone who reacts to bee stings or bug bites with a lot of swelling, you are the type who will swell with Halo.  For those prone to swell we will often pretreat with a product called Arnica Forte as well as encourage same day use of Benadryl.  Occasionally we even do a short course of prednisone.  Rest assured swelling goes down in 3-5  days as the skin heals.

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.