The skin care rules to follow before and after a resurfacing treatment

A doctor weighs in on the dos and don'ts

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / July 19 2019

Sure, skin care products can deliver impressive results when it comes to improving the texture of skin or removing hyperpigmentation, but resurfacing treatments, such as Clear Skincare Clinics Dermapen Skin Needling and Clear + Brilliant Laser, still take the cake if you want to achieve even more dramatic results. 

As for combining skin care products and a resurfacing treatment together? Well, that’s when you’ll see the absolute best results. 

Since downtime will always occur post-resurfacing texture, due to the trauma caused to your skin (which is necessary to encourage skin to renew itself), a good at-home regimen using  the right skin care formulas can go a long way in helping with the healing process. 

Here, Dr Naomi McCullum, founder of The Manse Clinic, shares her thoughts on why it’s so important to look after your skin before a resurfacing treatment, and exactly what you should be doing before and after your appointment. 

Why it’s important to look after your skin before a resurfacing treatment 

Not that you should ever be neglecting your skin care routine, but it’s extra important to look after your skin in the lead up to your appointment. “When we are working on skin and relying on skin to heal after a procedure, it is important to be working on the healthiest skin possible,” explains Dr McCullum. “We don't want to perform procedures on damaged skin, we want it to be in superb condition.”

What you should use before a resurfacing treatment

For best results, you should use a combination of the following to prep your skin before a resurfacing treatment: “depending on the skin type and suitability, [I would recommend] a combination of an SPF, vitamin A, niacinamide, vitamin C, AHA/BHAs, hyaluronic acid and an eye cream. These are just a starting point, but there are many more options that may be useful.”

If you are using a topical vitamin A, especially a prescription one like tretinoin, please make sure your doctor is aware when treating you with laser.
Dr Naomi McCullum
The Manse Clinic

In addition, you should only be using products that your skin is used to, otherwise you could get an unexpected reaction which may set your skin’s health back. “Don't try something new that your skin isn't used to just before a treatment,” warns Dr McCullum. “We had a patient come in recently for a procedure and she had used a new hydrating mask the night before and had a severe reaction to it. We were unable to perform the procedure and had to get her to rebook for when her skin had settled.”

What you should use after a resurfacing treatment

If your face is feeling hot or prickly after a resurfacing treatment, you may be tempted to slather on numerous products to try and calm down the irritation. Instead of blindly layering serum after serum onto your skin, Dr McCullum recommends the following: “we routinely use skin topicals after treatments to reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH); we often use a combination of prescription ingredients for this, which may include lighteners and products to reduce inflammation. Powerful over-the-counter antioxidants like vitamin C are also useful after laser. An example of a skin care product designed for use after laser is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum, which has been studied and found after fractional laser to reduce redness and swelling, with better results than laser alone when measuring downtime, skin texture, colour and overall appearance.”

What you should avoid after a resurfacing treatment

Doctors usually recommend winter as a better time for a resurfacing treatment as you’re less likely to spend time outside in the sun. “Tanning can increase your risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation, which we really want to avoid, as it can last for months and can be very distressing for the patient,” explains Dr McCullum. “Also, no picking -  leave your skin to heal.”


Our editor recently road-tested the Clear Skincare Clinics Dermapen Skin Needling treatment - here’s what she thought. 

What skin care routine do you follow before and after a resurfacing treatment? Tell us in the comments below. 

Main image credit: @georgiafowler

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.