The Importance of Providing Written Pre- and Post-Procedure Instructions

Before and after any cosmetic or medical procedure, it is important that patients follow the proper skincare regimen to improve their outcome and minimize side effects. One way to ensure your patients know and understand their pre- and post-procedure guidelines is to provide them with written instructions that they can take home and reference as needed. This article will explain the importance of providing written pre and post skincare regimen guidelines to patients prior to their procedure.

Why Are Written Instructions So Important?

Studies have shown that one out of every three patients will never have their prescription filled, and among the third who do, 95% of them will underdose.

One of the largest contributors to patient noncompliance is lack of patient education and communication with their physician. However, it is crucial that patients understand and are compliant with their prescribed skincare regimen before and after an in-office procedure to both see the best results and reduce side effects.

Providing your patients with print-outs of detailed before and after guidelines can have a significant impact on adherence, outcomes, and patient referrals. All skincare regimens should be based on skin type and procedure. In my Miami practice, I use software that generates these regimens automatically, so it doesn’t take any extra time for me to provide patients with the information they need to succeed.

Pre-Procedure Skincare Guidelines

Before procedures such as dermal fillers, BOTOX® and Dysport®, microneedling, and surgical procedures, instruct patients to avoid taking certain medications and supplements that can cause bleeding and bruising. Provide them with a comprehensive list that includes the product name and how long beforehand to discontinue use.

I recommend avoiding these medications at least ten days prior to a procedure:

  1. Aspirin

  2. Ibuprofen

  3. Naproxen

  4. St. John’s wort

  5. Vitamin E

  6. Omega 3 fatty acids

  7. Ginseng

  8. Green tea

Avoid these for at least 24 hours before a procedure:

  1. Alcohol, especially red wine

  2. Topical heparan sulfate

  3. Topical salicylic acid

  4. Salmon

Retinoids, however, can be beneficial to use leading up to a procedure, as they have been shown to speed wound healing when used beforehand. Some studies say that retinoids can slow wound healing if used after, which is why they are not recommended to use immediately after a procedure.

Similarly, the use of topical glycolic acid before a procedure can increase collagen and hyaluronic acid content of the skin, thus accelerating the wound-healing process. However, like retinoids, glycolic acid should be avoided afterwards, until the skin is re-epithelialized.

Post-Procedure Skincare Guidelines

In addition to avoiding retinoids and glycolic acid after procedures until the skin has healed, patients should be instructed to avoid topical vitamin E, since it may worsen the appearance of scarring. On the other hand, studies have shown that topical arnica gel or patches can help to reduce bruising and inflammation. Thus, you can add topical arnica patches to your patient’s post-procedure regimen, along with written instructions on when and how to use them.

Skincare after microneedling is particularly important, as the micro-channels that this treatment creates increase the absorption rate of topical products. These channels can take up to 24 hours to close, so patients need to be very careful about what they apply to their skin within this timeframe. Our advice for post-microneedling skincare is as follows:

  1. Avoid putting anything on the skin for the first 24 hours, including sunscreen and moisturizer.