You’ve probably heard people talking about the best time of year to have cosmetic laser procedures. Here at Janiga MD’s, we get questions about it also. The truth is there are many different types of lasers. Some lasers are sun sensitive and some are not.
We’re here to help guide you through the different types of lasers and which are restricted during sun exposure times.
First, a few basics… Janiga MD’s laser services include a wide array of treatments from laser resurfacing to sunspot treatment to the recently announced ThreeForMe™ procedure. Recent advances in laser technology can help you gain a more youthful and radiant appearance. These treatments help repair sun damage, collagen and blotchiness in as little as a single visit.
Can I have laser procedures done after sun exposure?
The answer is: it depends. Northern Nevada is at a higher altitude, which means more direct UV sunlight all year round. In fact, winter can be quite sunny here which is why we recommend a strong sunscreen during all seasons. The truth is, it’s not the season that matters as much as the amount of tanning the skin has experienced. There are exceptions, and we will discuss these shortly.
Fractional resurfacing lasers stimulate collagen at deeper levels. These lasers can generally be used even if you’ve had some sun exposure. But, it is most important to avoid sun exposure after a resurfacing laser. Any sun after the procedure can increase side effects including developing pigmentation in the treated areas. We advise three to four weeks of excellent sun protection after a resurfacing laser.
Laser hair removal targets pigment in the hair follicle allowing it to destroy the hair follicle itself and reduce hair in the treated areas. Because this laser targets the pigment in the hair follicle the areas being treated should not be tan. We advise to avoid sun exposure to the target areas at least four weeks prior to laser hair removal. Any treatments being performed in a non-sun exposed area of the body such as the bikini line or the armpits is acceptable any time of year.
Skin tightening procedures can be performed on tan skin. However, after skin tightening procedures, the skin is more sensitive to post-procedure darkening. Sun should be avoided for about four weeks after skin tightening procedures to avoid any pigment alterations.
Intense pulse light (IPL), broadband light (BBL) and optimized pulse light (OPL) are three light-based therapies used to treat brown and red on the face, chest and arms. These treatments are the most important ones to avoid sun exposure prior to having. Here at Janiga MDs, we recommend avoiding sun exposure at least four to six weeks prior to treatment with any IPL, BBL or OPL. Any tanning of the skin makes it more difficult for the treatment to target the brown spots in your skin and makes it more likely to have side effects.
Overall, with some laser treatments it is best to be strict with sun avoidance prior to laser while others have more restrictions after laser. Contact us for a consultation and we can provide you a clear outline of the laser procedures that are best for you and your expectations. We will also help you to decide the best time of year for you to have your laser treatment based on your skin type and outdoor activities. We will also provide you with pre and post instructions and the sunscreen options that are best for you.