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If you have a laser or microneedling appointment booked or you’re looking into getting a treatment, here’s what you should do before and after treatment to maximize outcomes. Correct skin prep for aesthetic treatments is just as important as the treatment itself! Following these general guidelines is how you can ensure great results, good healing, and reduce discomfort after a treatment.


Stay out of the sun for a minimum of 2 weeks before your treatment.


Many lasers work by picking up on color contrast, which means that sun exposure can worsen treatment results by reducing contrast. Furthermore, sun exposure can lead to sunburn or irritation, which can be worsened by laser treatment. If you are looking to undergo laser treatment for any type of pigmentation, whether it be moles, freckles, sun spots, melasma, tattoo pigmentation, etc., recent sun exposure will negatively effect outcomes and can darken pigmentation/hyperpigmentation. This does not mean that you are confined to the house before treatment, rather, that you can go outside as long as you use adequate sun protection. This includes SPF, a hat, sunglasses, or wearing UPF clothing. SPF should be broad-spectrum, applied adequately, and reapplied as directed. This is especially crucial if you frequent the outdoors or live in a sunny area. If you cannot guarantee that you have not been in the sun before your appointment, it is best to reschedule and wait a minimum of two weeks before rebooking. Even incidental sun exposure can add up – such as getting the mail, letting a pet outside, etc.


Pre-treat skin with the correct topicals.


Laser treatments for pigmentation are much more effective when combined with a pigment-inhibiting topical. This is because a topical can be used daily, while a laser treatment is at most once every few weeks. Some strong laser treatments, such as CO2 laser, come with the risk of hyperpigmentation, especially on higher Fitzpatrick skin types. While the goal with laser is to not worsen pigmentation, stronger treatment settings with the risk of temporary hyperpigmentation (weeks – months) can be an acceptable tradeoff in some specific cases when treating severe rhytids (wrinkles) or acne scarring. In these cases, pre-treating with a pigment-inhibiting topical will help post-treatment hyperpigmentation resolve more quickly. Continuing with topicals post-treatment once skin has healed is also a good idea to maximize treatment efficacy. When undergoing laser treatment for pigmentation, topicals will help lighten pigmentation before laser treatment so results are augmented.


Discontinue active topicals a few days before and after treatment.


This includes products such as retinoids, AHAs (e.g. glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid), pigment-inhibiting products like hydroquinone, kojic acid, and other such exfoliating or pigment-inhibiting products. This is to reduce skin irritation from a laser treatment. During these intervals, it is critical to continue using SPF as directed. Hydrating, moisturizing, and healing/regenerative products are fine to use as well. It is recommended to discontinue use of these topicals 2-5 days before laser treatment, and also several days after treatment until skin has healed. Because laser treatments vary in strength, recovery time is different for everyone. In general, you can expect that the stronger a laser treatment, the longer the downtime.


Use non-irritating products as instructed after treatment.


This includes products like face wash, moisturizer, and SPF. Fragranced products, exfoliants, acne products, and even some SPFs formulated with alcohol for a quicker dry-down time can oftentimes be irritating on freshly-treated skin. To prevent skin irritation, use bland, non-fragranced products. Sparing amounts of topical hydrocortisone can be applied if skin is irritated post-treatment. Physical sunscreens (formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) are recommended immediately post-treatment.


Avoid very hot water, steam, & saunas for at least 24 hours after treatment.


This is due to chance of blistering from additional heat exposure after treatment. While skin may appear fine after treatment, exposure to too much heat in the first few hours after treatment is ill-advised due to risk of blisters occurring even afterward. Therefore it is best to avoid hot showers, steam, & saunas for at least 24 hours post-treatment, regardless of laser treatment type. Even gentle treatments like laser hair removal and toning laser treatments carry this risk.



If you are interested in booking a laser treatment in Los Angeles, look no further than DSC! We can provide a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts before and after laser treatments to help guarantee the best results. We have a dedicated team of medical providers who are experienced with our many laser treatments offered.


DSC Laser & Skin Care Center

889 S. San Gabriel Blvd. San Gabriel, CA 91776