For those of us with an enduring love-hate relationship with lasers (love the results, hate the downtime), we all know that post laser skincare goes beyond slathering layers of sunscreen and staying out of the sun as much as possible. Clinics often give advice on what to do for the days right after the laser--usually a post laser recovery serum and an emollient, as well as an informative booklet on the importance of avoiding the sun.
A week or two later, the skin has appeared to have recovered, but a new problem surfaces: dryness and tightness. Some of us may experience prolonged redness and increased sensitivity. This is the perfect time to rework your skincare routine and remove irritating formulations that could be affecting your skin’s recovery.
What not to include
- Do not use actives! Unless instructed by your medical practitioner, do not use products with active ingredients, including AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, and vitamin C, especially for the period right after the laser or if your skin has become sensitised. Even if the skin may have appeared to have completely recovered on the surface, the cells in the deeper layers of the skin may still be “undergoing repair” and further irritating the skin would lead to undesirable side effects, irritation, inflammation, and other increased sensitivity.
- Do not exfoliate! There is no need to exfoliate the skin for the first few days following a laser. During the first few days, your skin is working hard to repair its barrier, particularly if it was an ablative laser. Further disrupting the skin’s barrier by exfoliating it will only cause further irritation, resulting in delayed healing. Why would anyone want an extended recovery time?
- Products containing fragrance! Fragrance is a known irritant and including products that contain fragrance will further irritate the skin and cause unwanted side effects such as redness, irritation, and inflammation. This will exacerbate the existing downtime symptoms and may even cause swelling in some cases.
What to include
- Hyaluronic acid. Layer them, use them under sheet masks; hyaluronic acid containing products are your best friend. Known for its ability to attract water and hydrate the skin, hyaluronic acid soothes and calms irritated skin, reduces inflammation, and aids skin barrier repair. As an added bonus, your skin will look dewy, plumped and hydrated, all this while a potentially shorter recovery time. Yay!
Our favourite hyaluronic acid serum product is the Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Serum 200 that contains 200mg hyaluronic acid per bottle, proven to hydrate skin from within and plump up fine lines and wrinkles. Organic pomegranate extract softens and protects.
Our Agent Nateur Holi (Water) Pearl And Rose Hyaluronic Toner will accelerate your recovery process. This hydrating serum uses organic plant extracts, precious minerals, and natural acid to instantly plump the skin, diminish the appearance of pores, stimulate collagen production, and gently remove expired cells, reviving the complexion and revealing an ageless, dewy glow. This product contains purely high molecular HA which can be very comforting for the delicate status of the skin.
- “After hydrating, seal in the hydration” is common knowledge. Ceramides help to create this barrier to “seal in” the moisture and protect your skin from environmental aggressors. This helps to prevent dryness and also aids the skin’s barrier repair, all of which contribute to a shorter recovery time. The PAI INSTANT KALMER Sea Aster & Schisandra Ceramide Serum is a great product that contains ceramides and other products that reduce irritation.
Seal it with a good moisturiser. I find oils/ balm work best for post-laser skin without the stinging feel. Oil/ balm is the purest form without any additions such as emulsifier. pH balancer etc. I would recommend using PAI VIPER’S GLOSS Echium & Amaranth & Squalene Overnight Face Oil. This rich oil blend delivers nutrients that naturally deplete as we age. Amaranth, a rich source of Squalene, supercharges skin’s moisture while Echium brings calm nourishment.
- Physical Sunscreens. Use physical sunscreens over chemical sunscreens whenever possible. Physical sunscreen ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium oxide, are known to be safe and less irritating as compared to certain chemical sunscreen ingredients. These ingredients work to deflect the sun from the skin as opposed to absorbing the harmful UV rays.
Try these “Tried and Tested” recommendations and let us hear your views too.