Avoiding sun exposure is always recommended. Not only can dodging excess UV rays protect you from skin cancer, it will keep you looking younger, longer. To many a former tanner’s dismay, sun damage is responsible for 80 percent of the visible signs of aging.
With that being said, after you have a laser treatment—such as laser hair removal or laser skin rejuvenation—you absolutely must protect your skin from the sun. While laser treatments are not invasive or harmful in any way, they remove the top layer of the dermis (in many cases, this is how they rejuvenate the skin). Without this upper layer in place to filter out some of the sun’s harmful rays, the skin becomes extremely susceptible to dangerous, aging sun damage. This is why we recommend that you fastidiously avoid sun exposure for at least one full week after having a laser treatment of any kind.
Of course, you probably can’t stay indoors for an entire week with the blinds drawn. At Gilpin Facial Plastics, we want you to be able to return to your normal routine as quickly as possible! Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to safeguard your skin along the way.
4 Ways to Protect Your Skin After a Laser Treatment
1. Use a medical grade sunscreen with Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide at all times.
Whether or not you live in a sunny climate, we recommend you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 45 or greater that’s free from chemical irritants and contains nourishing vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, be sure the active ingredients include Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Oxide on the back of the box. This will both filter out most of the sun’s harmful UV rays and help your skin to repair itself if any damage does occur. We have many great sunscreens for you to choose from and purchase at Gilpin Facial Plastics to take any guesswork out!
2. Remember that sunscreen can’t do everything.
Even the best sunscreen can’t filter out 100% of the sun’s rays. While it’s perfectly sufficient to keep you safe for about half an hour, you shouldn’t expect your sunscreen to hold up against a full day at the beach. As such, for the first week after you have a laser treatment, you should try to curtail your outdoor activities as much as possible.
Furthermore, when you do venture outside, remember that covering up with clothing is one of the best ways to create a barrier to the sun’s rays. If you live in a hot climate, choose long-sleeved clothing made of lightweight, light-colored fabric. You should also wear a sunhat, sunglasses, and (if possible) a sun scarf. Make sure to put on sunscreen under your clothes, too, as some UV rays will penetrate through lightweight fabric.
3. Wear sunscreen all the time, not just when it’s sunny.
Though cloudy days may seem dark and dreary to us, they’re no obstacle to UV rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate clouds, especially if the cloud cover is not especially dense. Stranger still, in 2004 Australian researchers discovered that UV-B rays (the most damaging rays of all) actually increased by 40% on partly cloudy days. This is thought to occur because sunlight refracts off the masses of light-colored cloud before it hits ground level.
4. Ease back into your normal outdoor routine.
While most of the sensitivity to UV rays will wear off after one to two weeks following a laser treatment, some people may experience a lasting vulnerability to sun damage. As such, it’s a good idea to be especially diligent about covering up for one full month after you have any kind of laser treatment. Likewise, remember that every time you have an appointment (some laser treatments require multiple sessions), you’re going to need to return to using heightened caution for another 5-7 days.
No matter what shade or texture your skin is, be careful—Your body will thank you for it and the results of your treatment will look all the better for it.
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