From laser to skin needling: How do you actually look after post-procedure skin? We asked a dermatologist.

La Roche-Posay
Thanks to our brand partner, La Roche-Posay

Imagine this: going to get a fancy skin treatment and ruining it all by not taking care of your skin properly after. What a waste of time and money!

While skincare procedures including laser, peels and needling have a plethora of benefits, it's important to understand what your skin will be like after them - how it might change, what to avoid and which skincare products you should (and shouldn't) use.

We spoke to dermatologist Dr Cara McDonald to hear all about post-treatment skin and how to take care of it. Here's what she told us.

What is skin like post-treatment, and why do you need to take care of it differently?

"After minor procedures on the skin such as medical grade peels or laser treatments, the skin barrier can be compromised," Dr McDonald told Mamamia.

"This means that the skin is less affective at protecting itself and repair than usual."

As Dr McDonald explained, most skin procedures employ the use of "controlled skin damage" to rejuvenate and repair the skin. Meaning, to get those sparkly results and long-term improvement, the procedures create short-term damage.

So, during the days and weeks after your treatment (whether that's a peel, laser, etc) you'll have a decreased barrier function and some degree of inflammation. And if not cared for correctly, you'll slow down healing and increase the risk of complications. (And no one wants that.)

OK, so how can you best look after your skin post-treatment?

"The most important thing after a procedure is robust barrier protection and a moist environment to enable fast and effective repair," Dr McDonald said.


You can do that by:

1. Avoiding direct sun.

"The number one rule after any skin procedure is to avoid exposing your compromised skin to UV rays," Dr McDonald said. 

"This is particularly important post-laser to avoid rebound hyperpigmentation. For at least four weeks following your laser treatment, extra vigilance is required. 

"Avoiding direct sun, as well as religiously applying very high-SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen throughout the day is key."

2. Switch out your acids, actives and anything fragranced.

While your usual skincare and makeup routine might consist of fragranced products, acids or actives, Dr McDonald insists you put those aside post-procedure.

"Avoid any irritating or fragranced makeup or skincare products during the healing stage," she said. 

"Look for products specifically designed for allergic and sensitive skin. Do not recommence active ingredients such as AHAs and retinoids until advised by your treating practitioner."

3. Choose skincare products specifically designed to repair skin.

Instead, Dr McDonald suggests a no-frills, yet extremely effective, skincare option to help your skin repair.

"[Look for a] hydrating, fragrance-free repair balm, specifically designed for compromised skin," she said.

"They are ideal to use after procedures and are gentle enough to apply directly after all non-ablative skin procedures."

She also mentioned two ingredients recommended post-treatment: "Enhance results with targeted safe anti-ageing ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5," she said.


"Also known as panthenol, B5 moisturises, soothes and enhances the skin barrier. It is well tolerated and suitable for most skin types. Its main benefit lies in increasing hydration which soothes dry, red, itchy sensitive skin.

"Vitamin B5 can also assist in repair following skin procedures such as IPL, laser, peels and needling as well as in smoothing and softening dry or scaly skin."

So, now that we know how to take care of post-procedure skin, what skincare should we use? Here are three products that work wonders:

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm Barrier Cream, $19.95.


La Roche-Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5 Face and Body Balm is raved about by beauty experts and dermatologists alike. 

The hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, paraben free and lanolin free repairing balm for dry skin has a rich, nourishing texture that is designed for basically anyone with sensitive skin - it works on adults, children and babies (including babies from three months) - and has been dermatologically tested.

The intensely hydrating formula is jam-packed with reparative ingredients including Madecassoside to help support skin recovery and Dr McDonald's suggested ingredient post-treatment: five per cent Panthenol, otherwise known as Vitamin B5, to soothe and visibly repair dry skin.

Not only does it tick all the boxes in terms of what a dermatologist recommends, but Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm is specifically recommended for post-procedure skin.

And once your skin is all healed from the procedure, you can use it on extreme dryness, dry patches, rough area or redness. 

La Roche-Posay Hyalu b5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $71.95.


The other ingredient Dr McDonald recommends for post-procedure skin is hyaluronic acid, and this serum is filled with it.

The La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a hyaluronic acid based anti-ageing serum. It's the brand's first anti-wrinkle solution to intensely hydrate and re-plump ageing skin.

It has a fresh, hydrating water gel texture (perfect to soothe post-procedure skin), which is also enriched with Vitamin B5 and Madecassoside. 

Plus, you can keep it in your skincare routine well after the treatment for plump, hydrated skin.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast B5 Sheet Mask, $12.95.


Last but not least, we couldn't forget a soothing sheet mask - there's nothing better post-treatment.

The Cicaplast B5 Facial Sheet Mask is ideal after any skin procedure. It's intensely hydrating and soothing, and includes key ingredient Vitamin B5.

Plus, just like Cicaplast Baume B5 Face and Body Balm, it's designed for dry or dehydrated sensitive skin and suitable for use post-aesthetic procedures.

Shop La Roche-Posay's Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm Barrier Cream and more from their skincare range online or in-store.

Feature image: Canva/Mamamia.

La Roche-Posay
La Roche-Posay is the #1 brand recommended by dermatologists worldwide*, with the mission to offer a better life for sensitive skin. Created by pharmacists in 1975, it is now present in over 60 countries. La Roche-Posay offers a unique range of daily skincare developed for every skin type and encouraged good skin practices adapted to various skin concerns. The brand develops formulas with its exclusive rich, prebiotic Thermal Spring Water. La Roche-Posay's Anthelios suncare range has become the #1 sunscreen brand in Australian pharmacies.