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Skin

Botox to lasers - a dermatologist’s guide to post-procedure skincare

August 29th 2018 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

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From the ingredients to avoid to the products that can help speed along recovery, top dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams shares the ins and outs of aftercare with us

The world of non-invasive procedures is a minefield. From the risks to finding the right person, there’s a lot to think about, but what about recovery? Here, Dr Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and Medical Director of award-winning Harley Street skin clinic, Eudelo, provides a glimpse into the type of skincare routine she recommends to her patients to help make the leap from clinic chair to aftercare.

Ablative laser treatments

Ablative laser treatments are ones that involve removing the top layers of the skin (either fully, or in columns leaving undamaged skin islands in between). Examples are technologies such as Erb-Yag or CO2 lasers, which are used for improving skin surface and texture.

Your post-procedure aims

  • Healing of the skin

  • Prevention of post-treatment skin infection

  • Preventing post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH)

  • Sun protection

What to avoid

“Avoid irritating or harsh ingredients until the skin has fully healed (which, depending on the type of laser, may be up to two weeks),” says Dr Williams. Ingredients to steer clear of include retinoids, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Clinisept+ Spray, £15, applied two to three times a day to prevent secondary infection.”

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 SPF50, £7.50, for healing.”

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Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50, £29.99. Protecting the skin from sunlight with a physical SPF50 for at least three months after treatment is mandatory.”

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Medik8 White Balance Original Serum, £38.40 - apply pre- and post-treatment to avoid PIH (but only restart this after treatment and once the skin is fully healed – not on broken skin).”

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“Because these are regenerative treatments that aim to induce collagen production and dermal matrix regeneration, adding an oral collagen supplement to supply collagen building blocks is a great addition: for example, Dermacoll, £24.26, (two scoops instead of the recommended one scoop per day) for three months.”

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Medical needling

Also known as collagen induction therapy, the treatment involves the use of an automatic needle pen containing sterile, ultra-fine needles (otherwise known as a ‘DermaPen’ or ‘DermalRoller’), to create microscopic punctures in the dermis. This activates the skin's wound-healing responses and leads to increased collagen production for firmer, more elastic skin. It also helps with enlarged pores and acne scarring too.

Post-procedure aims

  • Soothing of the skin

  • Preventing inflammation

  • Preventing post-treatment skin infection

“If combining with PRP, (i.e. platelet rich plasma needling), post-treatment care also needs a product to prevent post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH), as PPR has the potential to cause this in susceptible individuals,” highlights Dr Williams. PRP involves injecting a mixture of growth factors (from the patient’s blood or from a commercially available growth factor solution), and hyaluronic acid skin boosters, into the patient’s skin to boost its ability to build collagen and elastin.

What to avoid

“Avoid irritating or harsh ingredients for a few days until the skin has fully returned back to normal,” says Dr Williams. This includes retinoid, glycolic and salicylic containing products.

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Skinceuticals Redness Neutralizer, £80, for anti-inflammatory, soothing effects.”

Medik8 White Balance Original Serum, £38.40, pre- and post-treatment to avoid PIH (if combining with PRP).”

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Clinisept+ Spray, £15, one to two times per day, to prevent secondary infection.”

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Dermacoll, £24.26, (two scoops instead of the recommended one per day) for three months to supply collagen building blocks.”

“For a few days after each needling session, it is also recommended to avoid alcohol containing serums, as they may sting and irritate the skin, so changing your vitamin C serum from say, Skinceuticals Phloretin CF to CE Ferulic, £135, after treatment makes sense (just for a few days though).”

“Protecting the skin from sunlight with a physical SPF 30 to 50 such as Jan Marini Physical Protectant, £42.99, is always recommended.”

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Non-ablative laser or other energy-based treatments (such as ultherapy and radiofrequency)

These are treatments that leave the skin surface entirely intact. Some of them will still be able to target the deeper layers of the skin, i.e. the dermis, to stimulate collagen production and boost regeneration, however, they do this without 'stripping' away the epidermis.

Post-procedure aims

“A calming or cooling mask can be soothing post-treatment, but generally no special post-procedure care needs to be followed for non-ablative treatments,” Dr Williams tells us. “Normal skincare can usually be continued, including retinoids.”

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Mask, £60, may help to to calm the skin post-treatment.”

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“Also of benefit: Dermacoll, £24.26. My recommendation is to take two scoops instead of the normally recommended one per day for three months.”

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“Protecting the skin from sunlight with a physical SPF 30 to 50, plus a high-grade antioxidant serum is always recommended, for example, Skinceuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF50, £37, and CE Ferulic, £135.”

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Anti-pigment and vascular laser/IPL

These treatments are often used to help with redness, blood vessels or pigmentation caused by conditions such as rosacea.

Post-procedure aims

“As these are non-ablative treatments, normal skincare can usually be continued,” Dr Williams tells us. The post-procedure priorities are mitigating post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) and rebound pigmentation (i.e. when the pigmentation initially seems to respond to treatment, but later darkens again and ends up worse than it started off).

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Dr Williams recommends using anti-pigment products four to eight weeks prior to treatment and eight weeks after each treatment session in order to get better results.

Her top picks include Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Serum, £150, in combination with Image Skincare Iluma Serum.

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Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF50, £29.99 - daily SPF50 is key for at least three months after treatment.”

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“Also of benefit: a calming or cooling mask can be added to calm the skin post-treatment such as Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Mask, £60.”

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Fillers

Used to add volume and enhance facial contours.

Post-procedure aims

  • Prevention of post-treatment infection

  • Covering redness and potential bruising with special post-procedure makeup (“Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the skin – or best, let the therapist apply the products,” recommends Dr Williams)

What to avoid

“Avoid applying your own skincare or makeup/foundation/powder on the day after the treatment to prevent infection,” cautions Dr Williams. “And avoid any makeup brushes, sponges, etc on the day of the treatment, as these are often contaminated with bacteria.”

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Oxygenetix Foundation, £45, to cover redness and potential bruising (using clean hands!)”

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Auriderm XO, £20, for bruising (or if on the under-eye area, you could use Cernor XO, £21.99, instead).”

“For washing the face in the evening, use simple Dermol Lotion, £11.94, (this doubles up as an antiseptic cleanser and moisturiser in the evening). You can restart your normal regime the next day.”

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Clinisept+ Spray, £15, straight after the treatment to help prevent secondary infection. For extensive facial contouring, spraying the face with this (after cleansing) on the morning of the treatment and on the day prior to the treatment can prepare the skin. This may further reduce the risk of post-treatment infection.”

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Botox

Used to smooth lines and wrinkles.

Post-procedure aims

“Similar to fillers, although the risk of infection is much lower,” says Dr Williams.

  • Prevention of post-treatment infection

  • Covering redness and potential bruising with special post-procedure makeup

What to avoid

“Avoid applying your own skincare or makeup on the day after the treatment to prevent infection and any makeup brushes or sponges on the day of the treatment, as these are often contaminated with bacteria,” advises Dr Williams.

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

Oxygenetix Foundation, £45, or Exuviance Coverblend, £28, to cover redness and potential bruising (applied with clean hands).”

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Auriderm XO, £20, for bruising (or if on the under-eye area, Cernor XO, £21.99, instead).”

“For washing the face in the evening, use Dermol Lotion, £11.94, which again, doubles up as an antiseptic cleanser and moisturiser. Most importantly, do not massage the skin when washing the skin on the day of the treatment. Apply gently and tap-dry only (we don’t want to accidentally push the ‘Botox’ into muscles we don’t want to affect). You can restart your normal regime the next day.”

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“Also of benefit: Spray Clinisept+ Spray, £15, onto your palms straight after the treatment, in case you accidentally touch your face.”

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Skin peels

When it comes to skin peels, there’s some overlap with some of the previous categories. "Post-skin peel skincare is similar to medical needling (for superficial peels) or ablative lasers (for medium to deep peels),” explains Dr Williams. "However, exact post-treatment recommendations completely depend on the type and depth of peel and general recommendations cannot be given. Pigment prevention and SPF 50 would always be key after any peels though."

Mesotherapy

A treatment that involves infusing a sterile, cell-boosting cocktail of more than 50 key skin optimisation ingredients into skin (ranging from vitamins to minerals and amino acids) to protect and stimulate cells.

MORE GLOSS: How mesotherapy works (and why it’s not just for your face)

Post-procedure aims

  • Prevention of post-treatment infection

  • Covering redness and potential bruising with special post-procedure makeup

What to avoid

As with Botox and fillers, avoid applying your own skincare or makeup on the day after the treatment to keep risk of infection to a minimum, and avoid using makeup sponges and brushes on the day too.

Dr Williams’ top product picks to be used in combination with each other

The same products for Botox apply for mesotherapy, with the exclusion of Exuviance Coverblend. The technique for applying Dermol Lotion differs also: “A gentle facial massage with the Dermol lotion may help the mesotherapy solution distribute evenly over the entire face,” says Dr Williams. “The next day, you’ll be able to restart your normal skincare regime.”

Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only and does not consist of medical advice in any shape or form. Readers are strongly advised to adhere to their own practitioner's post-treatment recommendations.

Read more: How to boost your collagen levels, from food to facials.

Follow Dr Williams @DrStefanieW and Ayesha @Ayesha_Muttu.

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