How to Prepare for Laser Treatment and Recover Well

Lasers are powerful devices proven to treat acne scars, age spots, lines, wrinkles, and unwanted hair safely and effectively. When considering investing in a series of laser treatments for the Skin Fitness issues that concern you, it is important to ask questions and prepare for treatment in order to recover well and get the results you want. Here are Dr. Menezes’ tips for getting the most out of your treatments and the healthy results you want. 

Laser Hair Reduction

Laser hair reduction is very safe and effective for removing unwanted hair on the face and body. However, it is important to know what type of laser your provider uses because some are safer and more effective than others depending on your skin tone and type. If your skin tone is darker and so is your hair, make sure you find a physician that has experience treating all skin tones and the right device to do so. Undesireable results like blistering and burning are possible if your provider doesn’t use the right laser for your skin tone. 

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Video: Dr. Menezes Introduces Laser Hair Reduction with Lumenis Lightsheer Infinity

How to Prepare for Laser Hair Removal

At Melinda Menezes, MD we use the Lumenis Lightsheer Infinity laser which is safe for patients with darker skin tones. Here are the steps we ask patients to take to prepare for a laser hair removal appointment and ensure a quick and comfortable procedure:

  • Avoid sun exposure in the treatment area for at least two weeks.  If you are tanned or burned, wait to schedule your appointment.  
  • Arrive for your appointment very clean shaven but not waxed.  The laser emits light at a wavelength that is absorbed by the pigment in your hair follicle. If you are waxed there is nothing for the laser to treat. If you have stubble or long hair, you’ll feel the heat of the laser more than when you are close-shaved. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you may want to shave the night before or the morning of your appointment.
  • Arrive with clean skin. No lotions, makeup or creams on the treatment area.
  • Make sure you have no rashes or open wounds in the treatment area, ouch!

Laser Hair Removal After Care

Laser hair removal is often a quick and comfortable experience for patients. If you are worried about pain or discomfort tell your doctor. At my clinic, we can offer topical numbing cream and also have a Zimmer cooling machine that numbs the skin with super cooled air.  After treatment your skin may be red and a little sensitive. Follow these steps to recover well:

  • Continue to avoid sun exposure in the treated area. Excess sun can increase pigmentation and make the area harder to treat. Laser hair reduction takes a series of treatments so you will need to keep your skin healthy and avoid tanning between sessions.  
  •  Do not pluck, tweeze, wax or thread the area between appointments. You can continue to shave, but we need to see how your hair is growing and how quickly to determine when to schedule your next appointment.

Clear + Brilliant Laser

The Clear + Brilliant laser uses fractional light based technology to improve skin texture, skin elasticity, and minimize pore appearance. For best results, a series of 6 treatments is recommended. The Clear + Brilliant has little downtown and patients can expect on average 1-2 days of redness and 1-4 days of a “sandpaper” feeling or dryness of the skin.

Pre Clear + Brilliant Treatment

  • You will need to stop using Retinoids (RetinA or retinol), bleaching creams (hydroquinoin), or glycolic acid 3 days prior to procedure.
  • Keep your face out of direct sunlight 48 hours prior to procedure.
  • Day of treatment, come in with a cleansed face (free of make-up or lotions)

After Clear + Brilliant Treatment

  • Avoid Excessive Heat: For 2 days post-treatment, avoid partaking in activities that will heat up your skin, such as going in a hot tub/Jacuzzi/sauna, or strenuous exercise. 
  • All of your skin care products should be non-irritating and non-clogging for the first week. Please do not use any scrubs, toners, glycolic acid, retinoids (RetinA or retinol), or bleaching creams (hydroquinoin) until your skin has healed, unless otherwise directed by your provider. 
  • Proper and frequent application of sunscreen is very important. The sunscreen should offer broadband protection (UVA and UVB) and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. You should apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside, and again, immediately before. After that, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours. If direct sun exposure is necessary, wear a hat and clothing that covers the treated area. Use this regimen during the healing period and always.

AcuPulse C02 Laser

Fractional C02 lasers are highly advanced technology and very effective for treating deep wrinkles, scarring and texture. C02 lasers treat the deepest layers of the skin and require more downtime after the procedure than some other laser treatments. 

Pre C02 Treatment

  • Take one 25 mg Benadryl® the night before the procedure
    You will also be asked to continue this for several nights
  • 1 week prior avoid medications which may thin the blood including: Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Naproxen, Excedrin (all OTC pain pills except Tylenol), St. John’s Wart, Vitamin E, Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, Omega-3 Fatty Acids (fish oil, flax seed oil, cod-liver), CoQ10, Garlic, Ginger, Green Tea, Willow, Licorice, Red Clover and Angelica. 
  • Do not drink any alcoholic beverages for at least two days prior to treatment

C02 Treatment After Care

  • Gentle shower to the treatment area with tepid water is acceptable, followed by patting dry with gauze and Aquaphor ointment application. Limit movement of the treatment area to facilitate healing. Avoid contact of the treatment area with clothing to minimize the risk of abrasion. Sleep on your back for the first few nights to avoid having the repaired skin contact your pillow or sheets. Avoid strenuous activity and alcohol for the first 3 days post treatment. Minimize sun exposure by wearing a wide brim hat if you are going to be in the sun until your skin has healed.
  • Hand-washing is the most important thing you can do to prevent infection, though the risk from bacterial, viral or fungal agents exists despite our best preventative effort. Wash your hands every time before you touch the treated area.
  • Reduce Swelling / Pain Relief. To reduce swelling and for pain relief, you may: Place ice packs (bags of frozen peas) on the treated area for the first 2–3 days. Take Tylenol® 500 mg, two tablets, every 6 hours. Keep your head elevated while resting, and for the first few nights. This helps reduce swelling and promote healing. Use a bland moisturizer or moisturizing sunscreen that has previously not caused irritation.