Understanding how to care for your skin after a cosmetic treatment or procedure is essential for the healing process. Swelling, scarring, sensitivity, bruising and UV susceptibility are common side effects. Here’s how to help skin heal and keep it healthy after undergoing common cosmetic procedures.
The procedure: Chemical peels treat fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, acne and age spots by peeling off or dissolving the top layers of skin to reveal smooth, new layers.
Side effects: Redness (similar to a sunburn), flaking, peeling, tightness, sun sensitivity and swelling. Avoid peeling off the layers of skin, because this can cause scabbing and scarring. A deeper peel may result in the appearance of watery blisters, which eventually form scabs, peel off and disappear. Also, your face and eyes may become swollen.
What to do: Keep the skin well hydrated and protected by applying a rich moisturizer, which will soothe skin post peel. Depending upon the severity of the peel, makeup may be applied after three to eight hours. Avoid sun exposure for at least three weeks after a peel. If you must go outside, apply sunscreen — with SPF 30 — liberally to protect your new skin.
Laser Hair Reduction
The procedure: Laser hair removal passes an intense, pulsating beam of light through the skin to the hair follicle. Once the light hits the follicle, the hair is destroyed and re-growth is slowed. Typically, a series of 6-8 treatments are needed to reduce the hair growth.
Side effects: Skin sensitivity, mild redness, swelling and bumps may persist for several days after treatment. Though the procedure is considered relatively safe, certain skin tones — in particular, dark or olive complexions — are susceptible to hyperpigmentation (an over-abundance of melanin in the skin which leaves behind dark spots or marks) after treatment.
What to do: Tend to the treated area with an ointment formulated to alleviate discomfort, diminish redness, dryness and tightness and reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation. Also, use cold compresses on red or bumpy areas to reduce swelling. Additionally, steer clear of products with retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids (e.g., glycolic acid) along with alcohol-based astringents. Avoid exercise for at least 24 hours as sweat may increase sensitivity. As with other cosmetic procedures, avoid the sun and use sunscreen daily.
The procedure: Microdermabrasion reduces acne scars, wrinkles and surface irregularities. It uses aluminum oxide crystals to smooth away the topmost layer of skin, evening out skin texture and improving tone.
Side effects: Redness (similar to a sunburn), discomfort, stinging, burning sensations, itching, swelling and tingling. Like laser hair removal, darker skin tones may experience hyper-pigmentation after treatment, as well.
What to do: Guard newly peeled skin with sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and avoid excess sun exposure for at least a week following treatment. Also, discontinue use of products containing glycolic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids and benzoyl peroxide 24-48 hours after microdermabrasion. Instead, use a mild cleanser and keep skin hydrated with a gentle moisturizer.
Eden will give you specific instructions on how to treat your skin after your procedure. Be sure to discuss rare and abnormal side effects, so you can seek immediate medical attention if necessary.