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Questions to Ask Before a Laser Treatment

Questions to ask before a laser treatment? For your safety and to ensure the best results, you need to know the best questions to ask before a laser treatment. Why? Because you have a unique skin type, medical history, lifestyle, and unique skin concerns which will affect the type of laser treatments you can receive.  In today’s blog, we will reveal the best questions to ask before a laser treatment so you can safely achieve the skin of your dreams.

Questions to Ask Before a Laser Treatment

What Is Your Skin Type?

It can be challenging to find a way to explain the parallel between laser treatments and skin type. But we found a quote by the late Stuart Scott, American sportscaster, and anchor on ESPN, that can be applied to the world of medical aesthetics. Known for his catchphrases, Scott said, “Diversity means understanding”.  

Diversity of skin type will determine the type of laser treatment which is best suited for your skin. You need to know the questions to ask before a laser treatment so you can gain an understanding of the relationship between skin type and laser treatments to safely and effectively improve your skin concerns.

One of the primary tests used to determine if you’re a candidate for certain laser treatments is the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Scale. This scale is a skin classification system first conceived in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, of Harvard Medical School. It is a visual examination and interview tool used by medical aesthetic practitioners to assess the melanin content in your skin to prescribe the optimal laser treatment strategy for your skin type.

In order to determine your Fitzpatrick Skin Type, we invite you to take the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Questionnaire which measures your genetic disposition and your reaction to sun exposure. 

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Questionnaire

Your eye color is:

  • Light blue, light gray or light green = 0
  • Blue, gray or green = 1
  • Hazel or light brown = 2
  • Dark brown = 3
  • Brownish black = 4

Your natural hair color is:

  • Red or light blonde = 0
  • Blonde = 1
  • Dark blonde or light brown = 2
  • Dark brown = 3
  • Black = 4

Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:

  • Ivory white = 0
  • Fair or pale = 1
  • Fair to beige, with a golden undertone = 2
  • Olive or light brown = 3
  • Dark brown or black = 4

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

  • Many = 0
  • Several = 1
  • A few = 2
  • Very few = 3
  • None = 4

How does your skin respond to the sun?

  • Always burns, blisters, and peels = 0
  • Often burns, blisters, and peels = 1
  • Burns moderately = 2
  • Burns rarely, if at all = 3
  • Never burns = 4

Does your skin tan?

  • Never, I always burn = 0
  • Seldom = 1
  • Sometimes = 2
  • Often = 3
  • Always = 4

How deeply do you tan?

  • Not at all or very little = 0
  • Lightly = 1
  • Moderately = 2
  • Deeply = 3
  • My skin is naturally dark = 4

How sensitive is your face to the sun?

  • Very sensitive = 0
  • Sensitive = 1
  • Normal = 2
  • Resistant = 3
  • Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

Now, add up your totals to discover your Fitzpatrick Skin Type. Types range from the very fair (Type I) to the very dark (Type VI).

  • If you scored 0-6 points, you are a Type I. You always burn and never tan in the sun. You are extremely susceptible to skin damage from the sun.
  • If you scored 7-12 points, you are a Type II. You almost always burn, and rarely tan in the sun. You are highly susceptible to skin damage from the sun.
  • If you scored 13-18 points, you are a Type III. You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun.
  • If you scored 19-24 points, you are a Type IV. You tend to tan easily and are less likely to burn in the sun.
  • If you scored 25-30 points, you are a Type V. You tan easily and rarely burn in the sun.
  • If you scored 31 or more points, you are a Type VI. You do not burn in the sun.

In summary, the closer you are to Skin Type I, the more likely most laser treatments will safely and effectively treat your skin concerns. The closer you are to Skin Type VI, some laser treatments may safely treat your skin concerns. However, you may need to pursue other options for your skin type that are non-laser based including highly effective infrared and radio frequency treatments.  

Not sure what your skin type is?  We invite you to call us at 800-851-0969 for your complimentary consultation and our experts will customize a safe and effective skin care treatment plan for your skin.

What Is Your Medical History & Lifestyle

Choices you make every day about your diet, sun exposure, and medications will affect whether or not you are a candidate for certain laser treatments. In order to determine if you are a candidate for certain laser treatments, here are questions to ask before a laser treatment.  

  • Have you spent extended time outside in the sun? Do you currently have a tan? No extended sun exposure is allowed for a minimum of 14 days before your laser treatment.
  • Have you used any tanning lotions, self-bronzers, or gone to a tanning bed? No tanning of any kind is allowed for a minimum of 14 days before your treatment.
  • Do you have any tattoos over the area that you would like treated? We cannot treat over a tattoo as it could damage the pigment.
  • Are you prone to getting cold sores or have you had any cold or flu symptoms in the last 30 days? If yes, antivirals must be started anywhere from 3-5 days before the laser treatment, and in some cases, 3-5 days post-treatment.
  • Are you on any type of blood thinners, antibiotics, steroids, or other medications? In most cases you must be off of antibiotics for 14 days before a laser treatment.
  • Do you use any topical products like Retin-A, harsh exfoliating products or take Accutane? You must have a full 14 days without the use of any topical Retin-A’s or Retinoids before receiving a laser treatment. You must be off of Accutane for a minimum of 12 months before receiving a laser treatment.
  • Do you have any type of autoimmune deficiency, diabetes, or a blood disorder?  Laser treatments may not be for you. You may want to consider alternative therapies for your skin. 
  • Do you have any type of skin condition like melasma, eczema, psoriasis, or vitiligo? Laser treatments may not be for you.You may want to consider alternative therapies for your skin. 
  • Are you prone to keloid scarring? Laser treatments should not be performed over keloid scars. You should consider alternative therapies for your skin. 
  • Is there any possibility that you may be pregnant or nursing? Congratulations! But unfortunately, you cannot receive laser treatments in your condition. You may want to consider alternative therapies for your skin during this special time.
  • Do you have any type of pacemaker or defibrillator? Laser treatments can not be performed in this situation. You may want to consider alternative therapies for your skin. 

Once you have answered the above questions to ask before a laser treatment, your medical aesthetic practitioner will be able to prescribe a treatment plan that is best suited for your skin concerns and skin type, whether it be laser treatments or alternative therapies.

Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before starting or stopping the use of any prescribed medications. 

If you are not sure if you are a candidate for certain laser treatments, we are here to answer all of your questions. Please call us at 800-851-0969 for your complimentary consultation.   

What Are Your Skin Concerns?

There’s always room for improvement in our skin. When considering the right questions to ask before a laser treatment, the best place to start is looking at your desired aesthetic outcome. Getting an idea of how you want to look will help you and your medical aesthetic practitioner determine which laser treatment you need, and how many treatments are necessary to achieve the look you want.

Laser treatments have the power to improve your skin concerns including fine lines, dark spots, uneven skin color, acne scars, enlarged pores, and broken capillaries.  Laser treatments use heat and light to trigger the production of fibroblasts and new collagen in your skin. By boosting collagen production and removing surface damage, laser treatments diminish the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, stretch marks and acne scars. Laser treatments also provide advanced toning, tightening, and an improved appearance and texture for your skin.  

To understand how laser treatments work, one of the questions to ask before a laser treatment is what types of laser treatments are available? 

What Types of Laser Treatments Are There?

The Ablative Laser

Ablative lasers are used for skin resurfacing to correct deep acne scars and diminish wrinkles. The ablative laser actually vaporizes the surface layer of the skin and can result in between 3 to 7 days of downtime. But the dramatic results are worth it. One of the most effective ablative laser treatments is the MicroLaserPeel (Erbium) which is a skin resurfacing treatment designed to remove surface-level and moderate to deep lines and wrinkles on your face, hands, neck, or chest.

The Hybrid Laser

A Hybrid laser will eradicate years of damage by precisely targeting just the right depth to restore that luminous glow from your youth. The Halo Hybrid Fractional Laser is the world’s first hybrid fractional laser. It’s the only FDA approved laser that offers the benefits of both ablative and non-ablative laser treatments for the skin. The Halo Laser allows for unparalleled results with reduced downtime. The benefits of the Halo Laser can erase pigmentation, scars, wrinkles, and stretch marks on the quick-healing top layer of your skin with the ablative setting. It will improve the tone and texture of your skin by boosting collagen production with the non-ablative setting. 

Every client has different skin needs in terms of tone, texture and fine lines. The customizable dual wavelengths provide the ability to tailor treatments for all skin types. Your medical aesthetic practitioner can accurately dial in the precise treatment necessary for your skin type with amazing results within the desired downtime, usually between 5 and 10 days. 

Now that you have considered your skin type, your medical history and lifestyle, your skin concerns, and the types of laser treatments available, the final questions to ask before a laser treatment involve finding a reputable laser treatment provider.

Is The Laser Provider Reputable?

The following questions to ask before a laser treatment will help you find a reputable laser provider.

  • Are the laser technicians certified and are the facilities registered? Med spas and laser clinics must register with the ARRA and laser technicians must be licensed.
  • Is there a Medical Director on site? Laser technicians must work under the supervision of a Medical Director, who is a prescribing healthcare professional, either a physician or nurse practitioner.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to look for the rating the business has received.
  • How many years has the company been in business? How much experience does your medical aesthetic practitioner have? 

About Us

The National Laser Institute is the leading cosmetic laser safety training expert in the industry.  We performed 72,613 treatments on 13,970 clients in Arizona in 2014.  Our safety record is over 99.997 percent.  Known as a pioneer in the cosmetic laser industry, we are dedicated to providing the best cosmetic laser safety training in our private medical spa for our students for over a decade. 

The National Laser Institute is known for its gold standard of education in the cosmetic laser and medical aesthetics industry.  We are proud to train the top physicians, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, aesthetic nurses, certified laser technicians, and skincare specialists from around the world. If you have answered all of the questions to ask before a laser treatment and are still not sure if you are a candidate, the National Laser Institute Med Spa offers complimentary consultations.  Please call us at 800-851-0969 or click here regarding additional questions to ask before a laser treatment.

This blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

Louis J. Silberman is the CEO and Co-Founder of National Laser Institute, the pioneer of the medical aesthetics training industry and one of the largest educators in the country.