There are so many benefits of undergoing laser treatments –whether hair removal, collagen stimulation, lightening of pigmentation, and so on. Laser treatments are relatively quick and painless (for the most part) and yield great results. There are, however, some important steps to take duringtreatment sessions, especially when it comes to sun exposure and certain medications.
It is important for the outcome of the client’s treatment and for the safety of their skin that they avoid or limit the amount of sun exposure before, during, and after treatments. Sunburned skin prior to a laser treatment not only creates more sensitivity but hinders the aesthetician’s ability to see any possible reaction to the treatment, such as redness and swelling. If the client comes in with skin that is red and swollen, they shouldn’t be treated that day. Even skin that may not burn but gradually or significantly tans from ultraviolet exposure can make treatments a bit more complicated. Aestheticians will have to be aware of their settings and adjust them as needed for safe treatments. It is important to give skin a break from excess sun exposure two weeks before and anywhere from two to four weeks after. Laser treatments can be done safely year-round; however, if clients really love soaking up the sun, this can be included in their winter treatments. Practitioners want the skin to properly heal, and sun exposure can increase the client’s chances of slowing down or hindering the healing process. It also increasestheir chances of hyperpigmentation in any areas that were treated. Practitioners always want to encourage the consistent and proper application of SPF to clients, so it is very important to stress, especially after any laser treatments.
There are also certain precautions that should be taken during or around laser treatments. This is true for any other treatments provided toclients. Practitioners always need to do a consultation each and every time the client comes in for laser, even if you just saw them four weeks ago. Aestheticians know a lot can change in four weeks’ time. It is also important to note which treatments to avoid performing too close to laser treatments, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and even a dermaplane add-on. Give clients some healing time after performing these treatments prior to any laser treatment on the area that was previously worked on. Avoiding these treatments for at least three to five days can greatly help the client’s skin. The laser creates heat in the skin, so it is best to notoverdo it, especially on sensitive clients or clients prone to pigmentation.
MEDICATIONS & PRESCRIPTIONS
Certain medications can impact the client’s treatment, and it is important tocheck and see what the client is takingand the frequency of use. For example, if clients specify they are using prescription retinol or retinoids, some questions to ask would be how long and how often. This can helpdetermine recommendations for how long theclient should stop using the medication prior to their laser appointments. Other medications such as topical or oral acne medications may best be advised to stop using five to seven days prior to treatments. Practitioners should not perform laser treatments on anyone usingAccutane, steroids, antibiotics, or any photosensitizing medications. Performing laser services on clients using these can lead to blistering of the skin or mild burning of the treatment area. A good rule of thumb is to have the client discontinue use for a week or so, if advisable by a medical professional to do so.Accutane is a whole other ball game; clients should be off Accutane for several months or more before receiving laser treatments.
Laser treatments are an amazing addition to clients’ regimens, and the results are worth it for most people. It is a practitioner’s job to protect their clients’ skin and not cause any other complications along the way. It is not a bad idea to perform a consultation free of charge for new clients to discuss all the contraindications, commitment to multiple treatments, expectations, and to assess treatment areas. Doing so ahead of time couldprevent any cancellation of treatments or possible miscommunication at the time of the actual visit. Do research on what other potential medications could impact their treatment, and when in doubt, always err on the side of caution.Your clients will thank you.
Andrea Gregaydis is a licensed aesthetician and International CIDESCO diplomat. She holds multiple additional licenses as a New York state instructor and nail technician, as well as a certified laser technician. Gregaydis is the lead instructor at the Aesthetic Science Institute and has over 10 years of experience as a practitioner, team coordinator, and role model for hundreds of future skin care professionals. She is contributing author to top industry trade magazines, as well as a speaker at various aesthetics conferences across the United States. She is also a CIDESCO International Examiner.