When to Use Sunscreens Post-Procedure
Updated: Mar 25
Patients often have questions about how to care for their skin after a cosmetic procedure such as laser skin rejuvenation or microneedling. Providing a list of detailed post-procedure instructions that includes the proper use of SPF will help your patients take great care of their skin and see the best results. Follow these general guidelines to help patients choose the right post-procedure sunscreens and understand how and when to use them.
Recommend Sunscreen Use Based on the Procedure
The SPF guidelines that you give to your patients will depend on the type of procedure they’ve had. For the first 24 hours after microneedling, for example, it is important that your patients do not apply any sunscreen or any other topical products to their skin. The micro-channels created during microneedling allow topical ingredients to more readily penetrate the skin, which can cause adverse effects. After 24 hours, microneedling patients can apply a physical SPF to their skin.
After laser treatments, on the other hand, patients should be instructed to use sunscreen immediately following their appointment to keep their skin protected from the sun. Although patients are encouraged to stay out of the sun while their skin heals, they should still wear SPF if they plan to leave the house. UVA rays can penetrate the glass windows of their car while driving, and can also penetrate clouds.
Recommend Sunscreen Based on Skin Type
A patient’s Baumann Skin Type will also affect their sunscreen guidelines after a beauty treatment. Custom-tailoring sunscreen recommendations to match a patient’s skin type will not only help to minimize side effects like acne and allergic reactions, but it will also help to increase compliance.
For example, a person with very dry and sensitive skin will do well with a sunscreen like SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defence SPF 30. This product has been specifically designed for dry and sensitive skin types, as well as post-procedure use. SkinMedica Essential Defense Mineral Shield SPF 35 is another great option for sensitive and post-procedure skin. For oily and acne-prone types, EltaMD Physical SPF 41 could be a better option to recommend.
If your patients are not experiencing breakouts or other unwanted effects when using an SPF, they will be much more likely to stick with their prescribed regimen, so take the time to assess their skin type before any procedure. Our Skin Type Solutions system helps doctors evaluate patient skin types and recommend the right skincare products in a time- and cost-efficient manner.
Recommend Physical Sunscreens When Possible
May is the time of year when media outlets release reports about “hazardous ingredients” in sunscreen, which ends up confusing patients even more about what kind of sunscreen to use. The bottom line is that any type of sunscreen is safer to use than not wearing any sunscreen at all. However, you can recommend physical sunscreens, which contain minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, rather than chemical sunscreens, especially after cosmetic treatments.
Chemical SPF ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone are absorbed into the skin and may cause allergic reactions. Thus, directly after laser treatments, patients should stick to physical sunscreens, which create a physical barrier on top of the skin and are not absorbed. Once the skin is completely healed, patients can use a chemical SPF on their faces, but it is still best to use physical SPF when covering large areas like the whole body.
Make Sure Patients Know How and When to Apply
Patients also need detailed instructions on how and when to use sunscreen — education is key to compliance. Include in post-procedure SPF guidelines to apply ½ teaspoon of sunscreen to the face and 1 ounce (or a shot glass full) to the body. Make sure patients also know to apply sunscreen to commonly missed areas like their eyelids, nose, ears, and lips. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied after swimming, getting wet, or sweating excessively. Otherwise, reapply every hour when outside in the sun. Remind patients not to towel dry to avoid wiping off their sunscreen.
Proper post-procedure sunscreen use is essential for minimizing the risk of hyperpigmentation and seeing optimal results after skin treatments. If you’d like more information about selecting sunscreens based on patient skin types, feel free to contact us online or email us at email@example.com. You can also read more skincare articles and practice management tips by connecting with me (Leslie Baumann) on LinkedIn.