Guidelines for Laser Skin Care Treatments
Laser skin care treatments are powerful tools that yield outstanding results over time. However, great care must be taken before and after treatment to not only protect the client from potential side effects, including burns and scabbing, but also to maximize the efficacy of the treatment. Pre and post treatment care must be explained to the client prior to the start of treatment, as oftentimes laser treatments require the client to exercise certain precautions several days prior to and post treatment. Here are the necessary pre and post care for laser skin care treatments:
Often overlooked, setting realistic expectations should be considered part of your pre treatment regimen. Laser technology is extremely effective, but with its increasing popularity comes misinformation and false hopes of a miracle treatment. Make sure your client understands the time commitment, financial commitment and pre and post treatment commitments that may affect their lifestyle for the duration of the treatment and several weeks afterwards.
Create a detailed informational sheet and go over it thoroughly with your client. Include the pre treatment care that must be taken which will be discussed below. Also advise your clients on what to wear to their treatment so they can feel as prepared and relaxed as possible. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure your client has taken the proper care, and to delay treatment if the client has not followed instructions to avoid a negative outcome.
For laser hair removal, the area to be treated must be clean-shaven. Clients should avoid UV exposure for seven days prior to treatment to avoid compromising the skin and developing a tan, which can make some forms of hair removal ineffective. Clients who are sunburned or tanned should delay treatment for at least two weeks. You can also recommend that your clients gently exfoliate the area to remove any dead skin and residual tan.
Clients should avoid using active skin care treatments for two weeks prior to their appointment. Chemical peels, AHA and BHA treatments, retinols, hydroquinone and other prescription topicals should be paused for two weeks to avoid excessive skin thinning, escalating the risk for irritation. Clients who have taken Accutane or similar generic prescriptions should wait at least six months before treatment.
Those who regularly wax the area to be treated should stop waxing or tweezing for at least three weeks before treatment. Also advise your client to avoid rigorous physical activity two hours before they receive their treatment.
Antibiotics can also increase photosensitivity. Make sure your client checks with their physician if they are taking long-term antibiotics.
As the treatment provider, you may opt to use a topical numbing cream prior to treatment. Check with your laser manufacture for the best recommendation.
After the treatment is completed, clients must again avoid sun exposure for at least one week. If blisters occur, instruct the client not to open or puncture the blister, but rather to apply an antibiotic ointment until the irritation subsides.
Carry an aloe-based or calming post-treatment balm for clients to purchase after their treatment. Not only will this increase the overall revenue of the treatment, but it will also make the clients feel cared for and confident in their post-treatment routine.
Clients should not receive any other laser treatments or chemical exfoliations to the treated area for at least two weeks post treatment until the treated area is fully healed.
It is imperative that clients use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection of at least SPF 30. Be sure to carry this product in office to hold your client accountable in protecting their skin from the sun’s harmful rays after their laser treatment. Remind your client that the outcome is only as good as their dedication to adhering to the pre and post treatment guidelines you agreed upon prior to beginning their series of treatments.
Encourage your client to contact you should they experience any side effects, such as hypo or hyper pigmentation, excessive swelling or redness, allergic reaction, or blistering.
Once the area is healed, the client can gently resume regular exfoliation to prevent ingrown hairs.
Scheduling your client for their next treatment in the series is part of post treatment care. For best results, your client should schedule the recommended number of treatments at once to ensure they return to finish their course. Again, this is something that should be outlined in your pre-treatment discussion, as some clients will need several treatments to see the best results depending on the area treated, hair thickness and skin pigmentation.
Pre and post treatment care is just as important as adhering to proper protocol during the procedure. While it is the client’s responsibility to follow your recommendations at home, it is ultimately your responsibility to act wisely and think proactively when performing laser skin care treatments.