What’s the best way to protect your skin after having cosmetic laser treatment done? With the popularity of Botox, fillers and lasers to get rid of wrinkles, ‘crow’s feet, sagging jowls, turkey neck, crepey skin’, and to remain looking youthful, refreshed, and achieve beautiful results of having radiant skin, I’m often asked, ‘What should I do now to protect my skin? Do you recommend any SPF sunscreen moisturizer or sunblock? Which brand is best?’
Since post-laser beauty care is so important to maintaining long-lasting results, it’s important to protect skin against the sun’s powerful UV rays, especially when it is undergoing a heat dispersion phase, while cooling down. Laser treatment can cause skin to sunburn easily. So what’s the best UV protection?
Sun Protection (UV) for Lasered Skin
Any UV radiation to skin can be carcinogenic by itself without laser treatment, so using an SPF 30 sunblock is recommended for post laser care for 3 months. I used to not be brand-specific twelve years ago, when there were very few safe choices, or well-formulated organic skin care products available. Most synthetic products contained similar ingredients, and safety was not a consideration. As time went on, it became increasingly clear that brands containing less toxic ingredients were overall much safer to use.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly all Americans (97%) are contaminated with oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. The same chemical was recently linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy, according to a study from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.¹·² Not good news in terms of safety.
So any brand containing oxybenzone or other toxic chemical filters that can cause more (sun) photoallergy, and inflammation to the skin should not be used after laser, when the skin is most sensitive to photoallergens, after just being heated, and going though its cool-down phase. This also applies to non-lasered skin as well.
Moreover, new FDA guidelines are changing the definition of, ‘SPF’ from, ‘sun protective factor’ to ‘sunburn prevention factor’. Since SPF only measures sunburning to UVB rays, (not to UVA rays, or photoaging). ‘Photosensitivity reactions can be classified as phototoxic or photoallergic. Phototoxic reactions can occur from increase UV radiation absorption in the skin. Photoallergic reactions are immune mediated and cause changes to the drug, causing a hypersensitivity-like reaction to medications.³ So it’s important to protect lasered skin from this.
It wasn’t until EWG came out with their Skin Deep database developed in 2007 that more attention was paid to ‘combat the serious deficiencies in cosmetic regulation’, evaluating product safety, toxicology, bioaccumulation and rating products, based on their potentially hazardous ingredients used in over 15,000 personal care beauty products. (Now they have evaluated over 62,000 products). Luckily, many safer, organic products came on the market that were even more effective than their synthetic, name-brand counterparts.
I use EWG’s database exclusively to vet product/ingredient safety. It was shocking to see how many name-brand companies’ products were downright toxic, contrary to popular belief that they were advertised and marketed falsely as, ‘natural, safe, effective and not absorbed through skin’. This could not be further from the truth, and should not be used on lasered skin for safety’s sake, nor any skin. The companies’ lack of integrity and transparency was evident. I would not be surprised if their products actually cause skin to age faster and repair slower than organics.
Most sunscreens don’t protect against UVA (aging) rays. In fact, most people don’t apply it frequently enough to warrant adequate protection. So, I advocate using a first-line-of-defense, Vitamin C Facial Moisturizer that is USDA certified-organic, and has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory ingredients that has natural cooling and sun protective properties. It is rich in Aloe Vera extract and Vitamin C ingredients, and safe to use post-laser. I have researched, and used it in my laser clinic for 2 years with success, and sell it on Amazon, and have it private-labeled under, ‘Radiant Beauty Organics‘. I love using it personally too, and have received many positive reviews and testimonials.
Organic zinc oxide (non-spray or non-powdered formulation is best) also provides an excellent sunblock to scatter sun rays away from skin, and preferred over oxybenzone. Avobenzone is considered a safe sunscreen ingredient. NOT using a product with a SPF higher than 50 is recommended, as it can increase toxicity through higher skin level absorption.
|SPF on label||Average SPF of users at(0.5 mg/cm2)||% UV transmission (amount reaching skin)|
(Taken from Reference 4: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-great-sunscreen-cover-up/)
Also, wearing sunglasses to protect eyes against UV rays, and wearing SPF clothing and hats with SPF 50-100 to block UV rays can offer additional sunblocking benefits and protection during post-laser care. The time period when the UV rays is most intense is during 10AM to 2PM, when protection is most needed. So anything that can afford an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in protecting and enhancing your skin’s beauty health post-laser.