CO2 Laser Aftercare: Dos and Don'ts
Ablative laser treatments like CO2 are popular in South Korea and all around the globe, as they can improve a wide range of skin concerns from pigmentation to anti-aging. In this article, Joy, CEO and Co-Founder of Eunogo, shares some aftercare tips for post-ablative laser treatment.
It is important to note that aftercare is often as important as the treatment itself. After sharing aftercare tips for fractional lasers in a previous journal, Eunogo had many responses from YouTube viewers and clients alike that an ablative laser treatment would be a great choice for the next article of Eunogo Shop’s aftercare series!
If you haven't seen our video, watch it here:
WHY IS AFTERCARE IMPORTANT?
Why is self home care after CO2 laser treatment so important? CO2 laser is one of the most commonly performed treatments for mole and face wart removal, pigmentation and spot treatment, and treating acne scars in Korea and is an ablative laser that removes the outer layer of skin, requiring extra attention and a longer recovery time than fractional laser. Especially after ablative laser treatment, your skin will be very irritated and sensitive. It could be very red and flaky for well over a week to two weeks. Because your top layer of skin is affected, if you are not paying proper attention to after care you can end up with more hyperpigmentation than you started with! Proper home care will help accelerate the healing process, so you can heal faster. Also, proper home care maximizes the effects, as well as maintains the laser treatments.
Since you've spent a lot of time, energy, and money on your laser treatment, we've spoken to Dermatologists and Clinics in Seoul to make sure you invest in proper home care to ensure the best results out of your laser experience. As always, we want to remind you that the tips listed here are general guidelines and you should always consult your dermatologist regarding your own personal aftercare.
WHAT TO AVOID AFTER FRACTIONAL LASER TREATMENT
1. Do not remove any medical tape/bandages put in place by your doctor.
Your doctor has placed these on top of the treated area for a reason, so please don’t remove the tapes until your doctor has instructed you to do so.
2. Do not wash your face in the first 24 hours.
Because you may have the medical tape on, and because your skin is still raw, it will be better not to get water/cleanser inside any open wounds.
3. Avoid any activities that involve excessive sweating.
You’ll want to avoid excessive sweating, so for at least about a week, no sauna, jjimjilbang, or excessive workout, or tanning.
4. No alcohol or smoking.
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid alcohol consumption as well as smoking, which will delay the healing process and possibly worsen inflammation.
5. Avoid skin makeup.
It’s best to avoid skin makeup for at least one week (but preferably two) after your laser treatment, because your skin is still healing, you don’t want any artificial colors or chemicals getting into your skin. If you really need to cover up your face a bit, then at least 3 days post procedure we recommend using BB Cream or BB Cushion with skin regeneration ingredients.
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6. Avoid exfoliating and functional skincare products.
No exfoliation for at least about a week to 2 weeks for the same reason, to prevent further irritation on your sensitive skin. Even when the two weeks is up, please avoid physical exfoliators like scrubs and focus more on gentle chemical exfoliators with AHA, BHA or PHA. In fact, PHA exfoliators actually help strengthen the skin barrier, so this should be an ingredient you look for.
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On top of that, it’s best not to use any functional products such as anti-aging, retinol, Vitamin C, or whitening-specific products. You'd want to focus on healing, soothing and calming your skin after your laser treatments and minimize the risk of any inflammation.
7. DO NOT pick any scabs.
After a few days you may notice scabs forming on the treated areas of your face. It may be tempting to pick the scabs, but please do not pick at them or remove them forcefully - let them fall off naturally. If you don’t, it may result in, you guessed it, hyperpigmentation.
WHAT TO DO AFTER FRACTIONAL LASER TREATMENT
Let’s move on to what to do after your CO2 laser treatments to ensure you get the best results out of your laser treatments. Because our skin is wounded, irritated, and the skin barrier is weakened, there are certain skincare ingredients I’d recommend, and those ingredients help to promote healing and skin regeneration process.
1. Follow your doctor’s instructions!
This one is self-explanatory, and, as mentioned above, if your doctor tells you not to take off the medical tape and to use prescribed ointment, do as he or she says.
2. Use a regenerative cream
As you already know, because your skin barrier has been weakened by the CO2 laser, now is the time to rebuild it, by healing the wounds and regenerating your skin. It’s best to use a product that is made specifically to help recover that barrier function. Look for EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) and Ceramides to help speed up the process and relieve dryness and irritation.
3. If you’ve purchased new products to use in your post CO2 laser recovery, please try them out before your procedure.
Skin patch tests are the best way to make sure you are not using something that may irritate your skin even further. Do not use a brand new-to-you product on your freshly treated face.
4. Skip Skincare Routine Steps.
This may seem counterintuitive, but this is the time to pull back on the many-step Korean skincare routine and concentrate on the basics. Simplify the steps down to a gentle, mild cleanser, a soothing toner, and finally a regeneration cream.
5. Most Importantly, wear sunscreen!
Another must-do after a laser treatment: please wear sunscreen!
Your skin is already very sensitive, and it’s still healing from all the wounds. You wouldn't want any UV rays getting into your skin, which is detrimental. Please wear sunscreen all the time, especially after laser treatments. The SPF level can be a bare minimum SPF30, but should really be 50++.
Related: 7 Things You Did Not Know About Sunscreens
If it’s daytime and you’re heading out, make sure not to skip this vital step. Our Eunogo Shop pick is: Rovectin’s Anti-Irritant line sunscreen which is made specifically for post-procedure or sensitive skin.
Rovectin Anti-Irritant UV Defense Tinted SPF 50+ PA+++
It’s formulated with CICA which helps with the healing and skin regeneration. This one is highly recommended you’re looking for a safe sunscreen after intense laser treatments.
Aftercare is equally as important as going through the treatment, so if you follow these steps, it will definitely help you achieve more dewy, and more radiant skin, and help your skin have a longer-lasting effect after your micro-needling treatment.
I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions or any other topic that you’ll like to see us cover, please comment on the YouTube Video, or you can always DM us on Instagram.
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