May 19, 2018

RF Fractional Skin Resurfacing (FSR) Aftercare

By Dr Kate Jameson

Radio-frequency Fractional Skin Resurfacing (FSR) treatment close up

The purpose of this page is to explain the post-treatment procedures for the FSR Radiofrequency treatment, immediately after the treatment in the clinic and at home. 

What to expect after your treatment

The FSR Radiofrequency produces a fractional controlled injury to parts of the skin, therefore most of the tissue around the affected tissue remains intact. This fractional method contributes to the shortening of the downtime following the procedure.

This intentional tissue damage can be in the form of ablation of tissue on the surface of the skin or coagulated tissue in the dermis and results in apoptosis (organised cell death). The body clears the damaged tissue by producing new, younger-looking tissue. 

Individual response can vary after a radiofrequency treatment.

Following the fractional treatment, mild to moderate erythema (redness) will be seen on the skin for up to 24-48 hours. 

Oedema (swelling) of the skin may occur and can be minimised by keeping the area upright. This is usually more prominent on day 2-3 post-treatment. Adding cool compress, antihistamines and avoiding exertion is recommended for swelling. Swelling is normal and can vary between individuals, especially those prone to swelling. It is often worse around the eyes. 

Urticaria (itching) often occurs as the old skin is shed and the new skin is being formed. Please avoid scratching or picking. This can lead to infection and scarring. 

A sunburn sensation in the area treated is also normal and expected. Small crusts may also appear, for up to a week, depending on the type of treatment and the parameters used. 

It is common for those with acne-prone skin or underlying congestion to have a “purging” response following treatment. This is normal and no intervention is required. 

Immediate aftercare – what to do at home

  • Avoid the use of active ingredients, scented lotions or soaps, deodorants, exfoliant creams (Retin-A, glycolic/salicylic and alpha-hydroxy acids), acne creams or gels, and aggressive scrubbing for a minimum of 5 days post-treatment. 
  • Soothing creams (such as Youth Lab Calm Balm) may be applied to soothe the skin and to reduce redness. Apply immediately after the treatment and every 2-3 hours or as needed. We recommend the YL Skin Aftercare products for 5 days post-treatment. 
  • Make sure to keep the face clean, especially on the day of the treatment. Patients may wash their face gently and avoid using make-up or beauty products on the day of treatment. 
  • Avoid activities that may infect the skin such as swimming or intensive physical activity on the day of treatment. 
  • Do not rub the skin for 5-7 day following the treatment. 
  • You may use mineral make up on the next day following the treatment.
  • If crusts appear following the treatment, do not peel or scratch them. Be gentle and treat the area with care. Picking and scratching of the skin can lead to infection, scarring and pigment changes. It is imperative that you treat the skin with care. 
  • Men must avoid shaving until the small crusts peel off. 
  • If the skin is broken or a blister appears, apply an antibiotic ointment and contact the clinic immediately.  Keep the affected area moist and avoid direct sunlight. 
  • Antihistamines can be used to treat any swelling. 
  • Strictly avoid any sun exposure to the treated area for a minimum of 14 days after the procedure. The controlled damage in the epidermal layer reduces the skin’s natural defence mechanisms and may cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and as a result, the treated area is more prone to sunburn and pigmentation change. Keep the area covered and use a sunblock with a protection factor of 50+. Delayed blistering secondary to sun exposure has been noted up to 72 hours post-treatment.
  • Avoid any excessive heat such as steam as this may also stimulate an inflammatory response. 

Treatment follow-up

The number of treatments required will vary from client to client and your practitioner will personalise a treatment plan based on the level of improvement you desire. 

Although one treatment is beneficial, a series of treatments is recommended. The recommended treatment course is 3 treatments every 4 weeks. After the initial treatment series, periodic maintenance may be advised (depending upon condition/s treated). Other treatment modalities will also be incorporated. 

Individual results will vary and depend on your skin type and skin concern.

Adherence to recommended skincare and product advice will ensure optimal results and maintenance of the skin. Failure to commit to active home skincare will limit results significantly. 

Smokers will generally experience poorer healing and suboptimal results so cessation is recommended.  

Please contact us on (08) 9324 1604 (West Perth) or (08) 9260 6800 (Claremont) if you have any questions about your treatment or aftercare instructions.