Precare & Postcare As Important As Treatment Itself

skin_clensingFor many of you who receive a skin care treatment from us here in our Augusta office, whether it be Botox injections, laser treatments, or what have you, the treatment itself understandably appears to be the most important part of the process.  Although what goes on during a treatment at Maine Laser Skin Care is important, the care that a person takes before the procedure and after the procedure can also impact the outcome and the rapidity of the healing process.

We at Maine Laser Skin care aim to inform everyone before a particular procedure about the recommended do’s and don’ts regarding what you should do before and after a given treatment.  However, I think it bears repeating in this blog format to hopefully encourage optimal compliance with these recommendations and ultimately better and more satisfying outcomes.

In any treatment involving a needle, such as injection of Botox and dermal fillers as well as the recently added procedure of micro needling, bruising is a possibility.  In all of these treatments, I use the smallest and shortest needle available for what I am injecting and the area being treated.

ice_packThis needle choice is important in making it less likely that a blood vessel is injured, resulting in development of a bruise.  Compression over the area that I perform routinely after any injection (i.e. applying pressure to the injected area using a clean wash cloth or something else as sanitary) also helps decrease likelihood of blood leaking from a local blood vessel that might have been affected by the needle.

Pretreatment status is also important in limiting the possibility of bruising.  For needle procedures and also for laser treatments that involve the collapse of blood vessels on the face or legs, I recommend that people stop or limit any medications that may “thin” blood and enhance bruising chances.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common culprits.  As a temporary substitute if pain control is an issue, Tylenol or acetaminophen is safe and does not affect bruising.

blood_thinnersIf someone is on Coumadin or Plavix or other prescription blood thinners for medical reasons, the procedures can still go forward but the understanding that bruising may be more likely than not.  The bruising itself will not affect the ultimate long term cosmetic result of the procedure, but may result in a temporary cosmetic problem that may require makeup or clothing cover up until resolved.

For any laser procedure, sun exposure, especially tanning prior to treatment, can result in a problem.  If laser energy is delivered to the skin during a procedure on top of excessively tanned skin due to UV exposure, excessive and prolonged redness may occur.

The worst case scenario is the development of blistered skin or burns in the treated area.  This worst case happens rarely, but when it does occur, it is always when a person has been tanning prior to laser treatment and does not let me know.  If you have been tanning and let me know before the procedure, I can compensate by reducing the laser energy delivered preventing excess energy exposure to the skin.

Following all procedures, swelling is a possibility. In the laser procedures, it can be from the delivery of laser energy into the skin, resulting in the accumulation of heat.

Swelling occurs with almost all laser treatments whether the target result is hair removal, spider veins or age spots.  In the case of injections, swelling can happen as a result of the needle puncture, the injected material or the massage of the area that may be needed after the injection.

cold_pack_swellingIn all cases of post-procedure swelling,  applying cold packs can be appropriate.  Cold compresses can act to remove some of the heat coming to the surface of the skin following a laser procedure.

Cold also acts to constrict blood vessels, thereby helping to reduce swelling and lessen the possibility of bruising.  Cold can be used as long as any redness and swelling is present.

For most laser and injections, swelling is very limited to a few hours.  For Fraxel, my most intense and deepest laser procedure, cold will be needed for several days.

Best outcomes can be enhanced by best preparation and best care following the treatments.  As I say frequently, paraphrasing an old cosmetic commercial: When you look good, I look good!

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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