When is the best time to get a laser treatment? Fall and winter tend to be labeled “laser season” since this is when you are less likely to be spending time outdoors and in the sun. To prepare for a laser treatment, you will need to avoid direct sun exposure for at least one week before and after your procedure, and sometimes even longer, depending on the treatment you choose. This is why waiting until fall is ideal. It also gives you the capability to wipe away the summer’s sun damage on your skin. Furthermore, some treatments may require more than one session and are good to start in the fall so you can complete the series throughout the winter. The most common laser procedures offered at our office are BBL, Halo, Profractional, and Total Resurfacing.
BBL (Broad Band Light) treatments require you to stay out of the sun for at least one week prior and one week after the procedure. These are often offered in a series of three approximately 8 weeks apart at the beginning. Follow-ups are recommended 4 times a year. Some patients opt to avoid the summer all together and may do their treatments in October, December, February, and April. This procedure is best for removing sun damage, pigmentation, redness, and treating pesky vessels around the nose and cheeks.
Halo is a few steps above BBL because it also incorporates mild ablation of the skin. While it works to aggressively treat sun damage and pigment, it also helps to tone and tighten the skin. It helps with pore size and fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth and under the eyes. This treatment is typically recommended either yearly or twice a year depending on the level of sun damage and result wanted. Downtime is 5-7 days but many patients feel comfortable going out in public during the first couple of days. This laser can be used to treat the entire body and patients have loved the results on their chests, arms, and hands.
Profractional treatments are a go-to for acne scars, melasma, fine lines, and texture problems within the skin. This laser uses fractionated erbium to break up pigmentation and scarring. The downtime is typically 7 days and requires at least one month of sun avoidance post procedure. Patients can expect to see improvement within the first 10 days and up to 3 months after their treatment. Profractional laser treatments have also shown to improve scars from surgery or other traumas. For patients with melasma, this laser is one of the best treatments to help break up pigment around the face. Melasma responds to heat and so this procedure is best done in the colder months where the sun can easily be avoided and will not exacerbate this condition.
Total resurfacing is most commonly combined with other procedures in the OR with Dr. Rodgers. While it can be done in the office, deeper settings are best achieved in the operating room while the patient is under anesthesia. This laser treats more sun damaged skin, wrinkles around the mouth, and under the eyes. This requires significant sun avoidance afterwards for risk of hyperpigmentation. Typically, patients are asked to stay out of the sun for 2-3 months and this is best adhered to during winter months. Recovery tends to last 10-14 days, but patients can expect to see impressive results and softening of their wrinkles.
While this is a helpful guideline. Patients who are compliant with sun avoidance can successfully receive treatments throughout the year including the summer. Our professional providers will be able to assess when the best time would be for your specific case and provide a timeline for treatment and recovery. Give our office a call today at 303-320-8618 to schedule your complimentary consultation!