With summer on the horizon, let’s debunk the myth that you can’t do laser treatments in the summer.
Laser treatments are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures we offer at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama because of the amazing results. However, one of the most common questions we have been getting recently is whether laser treatments can be completed during the summer!
FACT: With diligent sun protection, you CAN safely do laser treatments all year long! In fact, undergoing laser treatments during the summer can help you keep up with some of the damage that is occurring during the most intense months of ultraviolet light.
Many of our patients are diligent about protecting themselves from too much ultraviolet damage, and these patients are the same color all year round! Yay! We do not recommend discontinuing your Brighten & Tighten membership treatments if you are one of those patients.
If I have an active suntan, can I still have a laser treatment?
The short answer – it depends! Your treatment may make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure, so the goal is to protect this layer and avoid irregular pigmentation. Our best advice is to CALL FIRST. We may be able to accommodate you by slightly modifying the plan.
For example, our Sciton BBL (also called Intense Pulsed Light) treatments should not be done on skin that has an active suntan. However, if you’ll be avoiding sun for a few days afterward, we can switch you to a Clear + Brilliant treatment which can be performed safely on your skin!
Many of our laser treatments work by targeting the outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. This is the layer where pigment cells, aka melanocytes, reside. In general, we like for our patients to avoid excessive UV light exposure (i.e. a beach trip or tennis tournament) for 2 weeks after a Fraxel, BBL, or Clear + Brilliant treatment.
Which laser treatments can be done in the summer?
Here’s a quick reference guide for planning ahead:
- LASER HAIR REMOVAL – You CAN do laser hair removal any time of year, however, the area that will be lasered cannot have exposure to direct sunlight immediately before treatment. The underarms & bikini line are the simplest to shield. These areas don’t often see direct sunlight, so this is an area you can target year-round without worry.
- IPL/BBL – Only if you have no active suntan on the treatment area.
- CLEAR + BRILLIANT – Avoid excessive UV exposure for 2 weeks afterward.
- VBEAM/PULSED DYE LASER – Can be safely done in the summer, unless the skin is very tan.
The good news? Many popular treatment for skin tightening (Sofwave, Ultherapy, Exilis Ultra) and body shaping (CoolSculpting, Vanquish) can also be safely done in the summer because we are not targeting pigment!
Which laser treatments should I save for the fall?
Proceed with caution with these treatments if you have a tan in the treatment area:
The problem is the sun makes skin more sensitive to heat, and using a laser on heat-sensitive skin can cause hyper-pigmentation, burns, and even scarring. Some people choose to wait until fall for this reason.
Here in Alabama, the fall/winter is a great time for lasering. There is a rush of calls at the beginning of fall for this reason! We always recommend calling and scheduling several of your fall appointments ahead of time to ensure that you get the dates and times most convenient for you.
PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT
To optimize your results & reduce the risk of irregular pigmentation, here are our pro tips:
- Avoid coming in with a tan or sunburn on the day of your treatment.
- After treatment, stay on top of your sun protection by…
Even sitting in the shade or driving in a car you are still susceptible to the sun. With what we now know about how sunlight breaks down collagen and DNA causing age spots and loose sagging skin, you’ll want to protect yourself regardless of the season!
EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with zinc oxide, a mineral that protects against the widest range of UVA and UVB rays. All EltaMD sunscreens are noncomedogenic, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free.
SkinCeuticals sunscreens provide a high level of broad-spectrum sun protection with chemical-free UV filters. Available in a variety of formulations suitable for daily use, SkinCeuticals has sunscreens for all skin types and for all desires such as mineral and tinted sunscreens.
If you would like more information on laser treatments, contact our experienced team at Dermatology & Laser of Alabama today to book a consultation & see if you’re a candidate.