The Importance of Providing Written Pre- and Post-Procedure Instructions
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Before and after any cosmetic or medical procedure, it is important that patients follow the proper skincare regimen to improve their outcome and minimize side effects. One way to ensure your patients know and understand their pre- and post-procedure guidelines is to provide them with written instructions that they can take home and reference as needed. This article will explain the importance of providing written pre and post skincare regimen guidelines to patients prior to their procedure.
Why Are Written Instructions So Important?
Studies have shown that one out of every three patients will never have their prescription filled, and among the third who do, 95% of them will underdose.
One of the largest contributors to patient noncompliance is lack of patient education and communication with their physician. However, it is crucial that patients understand and are compliant with their prescribed skincare regimen before and after an in-office procedure to both see the best results and reduce side effects.
Providing your patients with print-outs of detailed before and after guidelines can have a significant impact on adherence, outcomes, and patient referrals. All skincare regimens should be based on skin type and procedure. In my Miami practice, I use software that generates these regimens automatically, so it doesn’t take any extra time for me to provide patients with the information they need to succeed.
Pre-Procedure Skincare Guidelines
Before procedures such as dermal fillers, BOTOX® and Dysport®, microneedling, and surgical procedures, instruct patients to avoid taking certain medications and supplements that can cause bleeding and bruising. Provide them with a comprehensive list that includes the product name and how long beforehand to discontinue use.
I recommend avoiding these medications at least ten days prior to a procedure:
St. John’s wort
Omega 3 fatty acids
Avoid these for at least 24 hours before a procedure:
Alcohol, especially red wine
Topical heparan sulfate
Topical salicylic acid
Retinoids, however, can be beneficial to use leading up to a procedure, as they have been shown to speed wound healing when used beforehand. Some studies say that retinoids can slow wound healing if used after, which is why they are not recommended to use immediately after a procedure.
Similarly, the use of topical glycolic acid before a procedure can increase collagen and hyaluronic acid content of the skin, thus accelerating the wound-healing process. However, like retinoids, glycolic acid should be avoided afterwards, until the skin is re-epithelialized.
Post-Procedure Skincare Guidelines
In addition to avoiding retinoids and glycolic acid after procedures until the skin has healed, patients should be instructed to avoid topical vitamin E, since it may worsen the appearance of scarring. On the other hand, studies have shown that topical arnica gel or patches can help to reduce bruising and inflammation. Thus, you can add topical arnica patches to your patient’s post-procedure regimen, along with written instructions on when and how to use them.
Skincare after microneedling is particularly important, as the micro-channels that this treatment creates increase the absorption rate of topical products. These channels can take up to 24 hours to close, so patients need to be very careful about what they apply to their skin within this timeframe. Our advice for post-microneedling skincare is as follows:
Avoid putting anything on the skin for the first 24 hours, including sunscreen and moisturizer.
Use a hat and sun avoidance instead.
Avoid touching their face (or other treated area) for at least two hours.
Avoid strenuous physical activity for 24 hours.
After the first 24 hours, use a gentle cleanser, barrier repair moisturizer, and a physical sunscreen.
There are several promising topical ingredients that, when applied during or after microneedling, may enhance results. We currently use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for this purpose and plan to test these ingredients for potential future use:
Growth factor serums
Hyaluronic acid formulations
Sente dermal repair cream
When it comes to seeing optimal results, fewer side effects, and improving patient satisfaction and referrals, education and communication are key. When patients come in for their consultation, they are given a wealth of information that can be difficult to remember. Providing written guidelines eliminates this problem and helps to keep patients engaged and on track.
On your end, using a standardized methodology to automatically generate customized skincare regimens and written instructions will save you time and also provide consistency throughout your practice.
If you would like to learn more about how the Skin Type Solutions software works please feel free to contact Dr. Leslie Baumann directly at DrB@SkinTypeSolutions.com, fill out our secure online contact form, or give us a call at 305-714-5322.
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