Self-tanners and lasers – are they compatible?

I had IPL on my face for redness and it was incredibly painful. I felt like my skin was melting. No one told me not to use self-tanners and I assume this is the reason for the amount of pain but I cannot find any info online about WHY we are to avoid self-tanners before IPL and I want to know if there was any harm done to my skin. My face was quite swollen for about a week afterwards.

Yikes –  generally you want to avoid self-tanners for at least 1-2 weeks prior to any laser procedure.  And hopefully, your board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeons office is giving you instructions in your consult or written materials prior to the laser.

With some lasers is doesn’t matter, but we’ve found that most people can’t remember which exact ones ……….so a good rule of thumb is no self tanner for 1-2 weeks on the face and 2-4 weeks on the body.   The same thing obviously goes for tanning.

IPL, especially if you are very red to start with, can be very snappy.  The first treatment is usually the most uncomfortable.   The self tanner didn’t help though so avoid it next time.   It’s very unlikely that any permanent harm was done.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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