How To Prepare Your Skin For A Treatment

Plan ahead for your skin treatments to get the most out of them. Prepping your skin will allow the treatment to have the full effect.

The big events in your life require their fair share of prep-work. As such, having a treatment done, particularly of the more intensive kind, like Fraxel resurfacing, medium or VI peels, medical facials, and dermal fillers, is no exception. And while noninvasive treatments aren’t as monumental as, say, your run in the New York Marathon or the launch of your new company, the days before any rejuvenating aesthetic treatment (even so mild as microdermabrasion) require your utmost attention and preparation, just as well. So, to get the most out of your treatment, follow these pre-treatment skincare practices from Julie Russak, MD, a professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital and founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York City, and Yurga Kors, GPC, a medical aesthetician and the Aesthetics Director for Scott Wells MD in New York City.

Plan Ahead
Most treatments require small changes in your normal routine, so giving yourself ample prep-time is ideal. Dr. Russak recommends, “Normally, 4 days prior to treatment is plenty of time to prep.” To ensure you’re able to make the necessary adjustments, book your appointment at least a week out, and be sure to ask your doctor or aesthetician about the preparation needed for your specific treatment well in advance.

Simplify Your Skincare
Sometimes, the at-home products that wield that best results are the ones with harsh ingredients that can cause more harm than good when applied before treatment. That is why it’s best to set them aside in the days leading up to your appointment. Yurga Kors advises: “Do not use Retinoids and stronger HA (hydroxy acids) 3 days prior to a facial. The reason is that Retinoids and HA work wonders but they can make your skin red and sensitive. Even some medical grade facials I combine with peels of varying strength, 30% Lactic, 2% Salicylic, or 20% Glycolic, for example. Peels have so many benefits: great for acne, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles. They make your skin softer, smoother, and give you a glow, but if a client’s skin is sensitive, I can’t provide these benefits.”

Be Mindful Of Your Intake
Optimal preparation for treatment isn’t limited to external measures, especially when it comes to injectables and other treatments that have a tendency to cause bruising. According to Dr. Russak, “It is actually very important to avoid certain foods and supplements a few days before and after treatment, like fish oil and red wine, which are blood thinners.” She says this because blood thinners increase chances of bruising and slow down the healing process. In fact, alcohol in general has been shown in studies to be a blood thinner, with red wine causing the most negative effects on coagulation. So it’s best not to consume any alcohol, particularly red wine, several days before intensive treatments. But when it comes to facials and peels, Yurga assures that, “there are no food alerts.” So, beyond a basic facial or peel it’s best to be cautious and speak with your doctor or aesthetician about your routine diet, supplements, and prescriptions to know what you should avoid that might interfere with your treatment.

Take A Pill
Certain treatments, like lasers or fillers, can cause minor discomfort, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever prior to treatment can be very helpful. “Tylenol before a treatment is always a good pain reliever and anti-inflammatory,” Dr. Russak says. But the pros don’t put the responsibility of pain management in your hands alone. “Depending on the treatment, there are many options we offer to provide the highest level of comfort, such as numbing cream and ice packs.” Taking an Advil or Tylenol may give you confidence you need to endure the pain, but be assured that the experts will do their best to maximize your comfort.

WORDS: Gloria Cavallaro

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  • Angela Seki

    As a busy woman who does not have the time, and sometimes even energy, to splurge on treatments as much as I should; I found this article extremely helpful. At least now when I take the time and energy to “treat” myself to a treatment, I am well informed as to what steps I should take beforehand to ensure the treatment is as effective and enjoyable as possible.

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