Laser treatments are all the rage in South Korea, and 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-fractional laser treatment.
Aftercare is often as important as the treatment itself. After sharing aftercare tips for microneedling in a previous journal, we decided that fractional laser treatment would be a great choice for the second article of this aftercare series!
One of the most frequently asked questions from our clients is this: "What skincare can or can't I use after intensive laser treatments like Fraxel or CO2 laser?" So today, I'm going to cover the aftercare Do's and Don'ts after fractional laser treatments.
If you haven't seen our video, watch it here:
Why is aftercare important?
Some of you may ask, why is self home care after the laser treatment so important? Especially after fractional laser treatment, your skin will be very irritated and sensitive. It could be very red and flaky for 7 days or more. Proper home care will accelerate the healing process, so you can heal faster. Also, proper home care maximises the effects, as well as maintains the laser treatments.
Since you've spend a lot of time, energy, and money into the laser treatment, why not invest in proper home care to ensure that you get the best results out of your laser experience?
What to avoid after fractional laser treatment
1. Avoid any activities that involve excessive sweating.
You’ll want to avoid excessive sweating, so for at least about a week, no sauna, or excessive workout, or tanning.
2. 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.
3. Avoid skin makeup.
It’s best to avoid skin makeup for at least 3 days after your laser treatment, because your skin is still healing, you don’t want any artificial colors or chemicals getting into your skin.
Also, there are certain skincare ingredients you should avoid, especially the first week after your laser treatment, which are active ingredients like retinol and vitamin, because your skin is already very sensitive so you don’t want anything to further irritate your skin.
4. Avoid exfoliating and functional skincare products.
No exfoliation for at least about a week for the same reason, to prevent further irritation on your sensitive skin.
On top of that, it’s best not to use any functional products such as anti-aging or whitening-specific products. You'd want to focus on healing, soothing and calming your skin after your laser treatments.
What to do after fractional laser treatment
Let’s move on to what to do after your laser treatments to ensure you get the best results out of your laser treatments. There are certain skincare ingredients I’d recommend, and those ingredients help to promote healing and skin regeneration process.
Tip 1: Pick your skincare ingredients wisely.
1. CICA (Centella Asiatica) and other plant-based ingredients
The first ingredient I’d like to introduce is CICA, which stands for Centella Asiatica. CICA is known for its wound-healing ability as well as skin regeneration.
Products like the OxygenCeuticals Toning Gel, that are formulated with CICA and without any functional ingredients for anti-aging or whitening, would be one of the best CICA product choices for use after laser treatments.
Read about CICA's soothing and other skin benefits here.
2. Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
The second ingredient I’d recommend is hyaluronic acid. After fractional laser treatment, your skin will suffer from dehydration and flakiness. You’ll want to supply your skin with hyaluronic acid on a daily basis after your laser treatment to make sure your skin is rehydrated.
Read about the benefits of hyaluronic acid and find out how it is so effective in hydrating our skin here.
3. Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF)
The last ingredient I’d like to recommend is EGF, which stands for Epidermal Growth Factor. EGFs accelerate skin growth, so not only is it a great healing agent, but also amazing for collagen production, and strengthening skin barriers. In fact, EGF is used in many skincare products in Korea, especially those made for post-fractional laser treatments.
Tip 2: Use a cooling pack.
My second aftercare tip is to use a cooling pack. After fractional laser treatment, your face will appear very red, hot, and flaky, so you’ll want to calm the skin down as soon as possible. Rather than using an actual cooling pack, I prefer using sheet masks, especially those formulated with the healing ingredients listed above. Leave them in the fridge, to make them super cold.
Apply a sheet mask on a daily basis for about 7 days after your laser treatment.
Tip 3: 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.
Skincare Routine After Fractional Laser Treatment
Finally, I’d go over a recommended skincare routine after your laser treatment. Repeat these steps for 7 days to help your skin heal to the fullest.
The first step is cleansing. Make sure you use a very gentle and mild cleanser, because your skin is very sensitive at the moment.
The next step is toner. It’s best to pick a product without any alcohol in the ingredients, mainly for the same reason, because your skin is very sensitive.
The OxygenCeuticals Toning Gel is made for post-procedure and for sensitive skin. It’s also formulated with CICA which helps heal all the wounds.
After toner, you can apply an ampoule. For the ampoule, it’s advised not to use any functional ingredients like for anti-aging or whitening. You'd want to focus on healing.
Personally, I’d recommend Yourfit Relieve N Power Ampoule, which is formulated with all-natural, plant-based ingredients including chamaecyparis obtusa leaf and eucalyptus extract, as well as aloe vera.
4. Sheet Mask
After the ampoule, you can do your sheet mask which should be waiting in your fridge. It doubles up as a cooling pack as well. For the sheet mask, I'd highly recommend a plant-based sheet mask made with natural ingredients, to help heal all the wounds, calm, and soothe your skin.
Personally, I like the Ceramine Aqua Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Mask Pack, which has all the ingredients that help with healing. It’s a great daily mask to use because it’s lightweight and very hydrating.
You might be wondering, do I really need to do a sheet mask everyday? I’d say yes, I’d highly recommend it, because healing your skin is crucial at this stage. While it's still healing from all the wounds, you’d want to make sure you calm down any irritation and ensure all the good ingredients are absorbed into your skin.
After sheet masking for about 15 to 20 minutes, tap to help all the essence get absorbed into your skin.
As a next step, you can apply a serum. For the serum, I personally like the OxygenCeuticals Couperose Fluid, which is made for post-procedure and sensitive skin.
This fluid has healing properties as it contains sodium hyaluronate (salt form of hyaluronic acid), collagen, and aloe vera extract, which helps with flakiness and dehydration after your laser skin treatments.
Finally, the last step of your skincare routine is the cream. For cream, I'd highly recommend to use skincare products formulated with EGFs.
OxygenCeuticals Post-Procedure Cream, which is also called PP Cream, is made for post-procedure and also it’s formulated with EGFs, which you can consider using after your fractional laser treatment.
6. Sunscreen (During Daytime)
If it’s daytime and you’re heading out, make sure you wear sunscreen. Rovectin’s Anti-Irritant line sunscreen is also made for post-procedure or sensitive skin.
It’s formulated with CICA which helps with the healing and skin regeneration. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a safe sunscreen after intense laser treatments.
Aftercare is equally as important as the 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.
If you’re unsure about selecting the right skincare products, it’s always safe to go with products that are clinically-approved and distributed in skin clinics and hospitals. Such brands in Korea include Rovectin’s Anti-Irritant Line, OxygenCeuticals, as well as Yourfit by Whom.