Laser Skin Resurfacing - Care After
- It is normal for the face to be red and swollen after surgery.
- Start washing your face with mild soap and water, starting the morning after your surgery.
- Use a soft cotton washcloth and don't be afraid to rub on the areas treated with the laser- this helps take off the surface crust and prevent infection. Don't worry if there is a little bleeding. Wash your face at least three times a day. Usually patients err on the side of being too tentative about washing.
- After washing, apply a thin layer of Vaseline® or the balm provided by our office to areas treated with the laser after washing. The principles are easy: keep the skin clean, avoid infection, and avoid drying out.
- You can tell when the skin is healed because there will be no more oozing and the skin will be pink. You can stop using the Vaseline® and instead use a facial moisturizer at this point, usually five to seven days after surgery. Typically, the skin of the forehead and cheeks heals first, followed by the skin around the mouth and over the lower lids. Apply Vaseline® to these areas and moisturizer to the cheeks and forehead. Sometimes, little whiteheads will form and these can be treated at the time of your office appointment.
- Avoid ultraviolet exposure after surgery. Regard the sun as your enemy at least until the pinkness has faded (and even afterward, to reduce the aging effects of UV light). The pigment cells are sensitized and will react to sunlight by creating more melanin pigment- this can cause unwanted hyperpigmentation. Use a hat and sunglasses. Start using sunblock shortly after the skin has fully healed (usually within seven to ten days).
- If you feel a burning sensation, you can apply a cold washcloth. A dilute solution of vinegar and water (1 teaspoon vinegar in a cup of water) may be helpful. This can be applied with a washcloth, taking care to avoid the eyes.
- An oral antihistamine can be helpful to alleviate itchiness, such as Benadryl®.