The importance of sun protection after beauty treatment
Dra. Adriana Ribé – Doctor of Medicine and Dermatopathology Surgery & Founder of RibeClinic
Aesthetic medicine treatments are very popular nowadays. These treatments are chosen by male and female patients principally between the ages of 15 – 70 years old. We’re talking about laser treatments for rejuvenation, hair removal, varicose veins, blemishes, tattoo removal, … There are also skin peels, hyaluronic acid fillers, facial and body mesotherapy…
After these aesthetic medicine treatments, the patient is recommended to follow some guidelines that may vary from one treatment to another (soothing creams, healing creams, creams with vitamin K, …) but they always include using sun protection factor creams.
Why is it important to apply sun protection factor creams after aesthetic treatment?
Above all, you must always remember to apply sunscreen if your skin is exposed to the sun, whether you’ve just had an aesthetic treatment or not, because you always need to protect your skin from the UVA/UVB and infrared rays that damage skin cells and also cause photoaging.
The problem is that even though we know we should always apply sunscreen, and we are getting increasingly better at this, sometimes we don’t bother. But it is also true, that after an aesthetic procedure we are more aware and the doctor will impress on us the importance of protecting our skin from the sun.
We need to apply sunscreen after an aesthetic procedure for several reasons:
– The aesthetic treatment may have left the skin a bit more sensitive and unprotected and it may “burn” (turn red and swell up and even have small blisters) after treatment like aggressive skin peels or ablative laser treatment.
– The skin may become hyperpigmented. The area treated with laser or a peel or filler or sclerotherapy swells up after the procedure and when exposed to the sun, it may react and become darker.
– In aesthetic medicine treatments designed to achieve younger looking skin, the formation of collagen is triggered by stimulating the fibroblast. We know that exposure to the sun triggers reactions that destroy collagen. Therefore, it is not advisable after rejuvenation treatment to expose your skin to the sun without applying protection as this would cause the complete opposite effect.
What factor should I use? Are all protection factors the same?
The recommendation is to apply a high protection factor: 30, 50 or 50+. Not all protection factors are the same. They differ, mainly according to the protection level (number: 30, 50, …) and according to the composition. There are two types of sun protection products:
– Physical or mineral filters: Also called total screens. They reflect the sun’s rays, preventing them from penetrating the skin and causing reddening or burns.
– Chemical filters: These act by absorbing solar radiation and transforming it into another type of energy that does not harm the skin.
In general, the protection factors recommended after aesthetic medicine treatment are the physical or mineral filters, because they are completely safe and they will not irritate the skin that may be sensitive after the treatment. We have the idea that physical filters are usually very dense and leave a white film on the skin. The good news is that nowadays there are very fluid physical filters, which are very easy to apply and which moisturise the skin and can be coloured.
So, after aesthetic medicine treatment, it is advisable to apply a physical sun filter with a protection factor of 30 – 50+. As well as choosing the right protection level, the sunscreen must be applied correctly. This means, between 30 minutes and 2 hours before exposing the skin to the sun and it should be reapplied after 80 minutes in the water or if you have sweated a lot or every 2 hours out of the water.