Dr. Joan Grace Valina offers prep tips for aesthetic procedures.

Dr. Joan Grace Valina provides preparation suggestions for minimally invasive aesthetic procedures.

Despite near-global COVID-19-related restrictions on elective surgery for a large portion of 2020, cosmetic surgery remained popular and cosmetic surgeons like Dr. Joan Grace Valina stayed busy.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ annual statistics report, 13.2 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures were completed in 2020. Top procedures included Botox injections, fillers, and a variety of skin-focused facial services, such as chemical peels, resurfacing, and IPL treatments.

Dr. Joan Grace Valina discusses procedure prep.

For these top procedures, many of the dos and don’t before a procedure feature overlap due to their sensitive nature. Both Botox injections and soft tissue fillers require many of the same basics, while facial resurfacing, peels and other treatments share similar guidelines.

Injections and Fillers

For Botox injections and soft tissue fillers, there are a variety of guidelines for best results. Start with avoiding anti-inflammatory medications to limit bruising following a procedure. The use of these medications can also impact the efficacy of a procedure, making avoidance key. Same-day use of pain relief medication without the guidance of a professional is not recommended. Many supplements also need to be avoided, so ask the service provider for a full list to minimize possible issues.

Dr. Joan Grace Valina also advises laying off the alcohol at least one week in advance to minimize the potential development of any facial redness after an aesthetic service. Topical products like retinol creams and abrasive at-home personal care, such as exfoliating, should take a back seat to minimize sensitivity and adverse reactions.

Facial Resurfacing, Peels, and More

For chemical peels, intense pulse light treatment, and laser skin resurfacing, many of the “do not” before a procedure involve protecting the face from overtreatment, minimizing sensitivity, and avoiding unintended side effects.

According to Dr. Joan Grace Valina, exfoliating is a big no prior to most facial procedures, including peels, IPL treatments, and laser skin resurfacing. Exfoliating is an abrasive procedure and should be avoided one week or more prior to these treatments. As both chemical peels and skin resurfacing benefits overlap with regular exfoliation, at-home products can lead to overdoing it. While IPL is focused on hair removal, exfoliation is also not recommended for one week prior to this service.

The same reasoning also dictates limiting new product trials in the week prior to an aesthetic procedure. When a person is unfamiliar with personal sensitivity to a given product, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction or negative side effect that would impede the actual service or lead to an adverse reaction due to the combination, per Dr. Joan Grace Valina. Also, avoid using products with retinol to avoid sensitivity and limit sun exposure, particularly sunburns, in the days and weeks prior to an appointment. 

Because exfoliation is not possible in the week prior to a peel or skin resurfacing, minimize makeup use or avoid it entirely for a few days to one week before service to present a clean slate.

For IPL, Dr. Joan Grace Valina says the use of hair removal creams, wax, or bleach is a no-go between sessions as the hair growth cycle is interrupted by these products.

Ultimately, always follow your physician’s recommendations before and after the procedure.