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Are there really treatments you should avoid during the summer?

EV experts share the hacks to help your aesthetic appointments be more sun safe and reveal which are best left until winter

It’s long been held that during sunnier – and beach holiday – months, there are some professional treatments that should be avoided for reasons that span from undoing benefits, to leaving skin susceptible to damage.

Cases in point: laser resurfacing removes the outermost layers of skin to speed up cell turnover, leaving it vulnerable to damage from UV light, while laser hair removal targets darker pigment in hair, which can make skin react too when it’s tanned. But with developments in technology and treatments is this still the case? And if so, what are the risks and are there smart tricks that can mitigate them?

We asked EV Expert Dr Eleni Liaka, Aesthetic Doctor at Vie Aesthetics and Nurse Anna Baker, EV Expert and founder of her eponymous clinic, to share their insider knowledge and best advice. Here’s a hint: sunscreen is non-negotiable.


Be it for fine lines and wrinkles, scars or sun damage, monthly microneedling appointments are popular for achieving effective results quickly with a minimally invasive approach. “Microneedling stimulates blood circulation and collagen production by puncturing skin, which means you need to protect it during the healing process,” explains Dr Liaka.

These microscopic, surface level puncture wounds stimulate the body to swoop in and fix them, making skin plumper and smoother with the arrival of new collagen and elastin fibres. In the meantime though, your wounded complexion is fragile. “Any type of resurfacing treatment has the potential to lead to hyperpigmentation when you expose skin to UV rays,” adds Dr Liaka.

“This doesn’t mean that microneedling treatments shouldn’t be done during summer. It just highlights the importance of careful, attentive aftercare. To limit your sun exposure, remain indoors after your treatment and if you do need to be outside, be sure to liberally apply sunscreen and cover your head.”

Chemical peels 

Excellent for those with acne scarring, dark spots and dullness, chemical peels work by sloughing off the top layers of skin, but this also leaves it vulnerable to the effects of the sun. “Chemical peels can be categorised into different depths, ranging from superficial to deep,” says Baker.

“Many peels can be performed all year round. However, this has to be considered case-by-case depending upon individual lifestyle and adherence to the course of treatment, among other considerations. For example, compliance to avoiding direct sun, as well as factors which can prolong healing and downtime such as using agitating or exfoliating skincare.”

Moreover, the new, fresh skin revealed is delicate and needs time to heal. So exposing it to UV rays after a chemical peel not only increases the chances of sunburn and risk of skin cancer, but can also undo the benefits of the peel itself. “SPF is critical before, during and after treatment to ensure effective outcomes and to minimise complications such as post-inflammatory pigmentation,” advises Baker.

Laser resurfacing 

“It has been questioned many times whether laser resurfacing procedures are suitable during summer,” says Dr Liaka. “The short answer is yes. Laser resurfacing is a safe procedure for any season.” This is good news for fans of using laser energy to remove surface layers of skin, speed up cell turnover and promote healing. Which subsequently improves fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

It comes with a caveat though as, similarly to chemical peels, laser resurfacing will leave new skin vulnerable to being damaged by environmental elements including the sun and pollution. “Clients are typically advised against going to the beach or standing in direct sunlight after their session as treated skin is heat-sensitive due to the laser,” adds Dr Liaka. “You risk sun damage to your skin, hyperpigmentation, burns and scarring. It cannot be stressed enough that the most effective way to prevent sun damage and the appearance of fine lines is to use a minimum of SPF30 sunscreen daily. This is especially crucial immediately after laser treatments.”

Laser hair removal 

As, on average, a course of between six and ten monthly sessions is needed to remove hair via laser, it’s likely you’ll have started the process during winter to be summer ready. But if sessions are still ongoing when the sun arrives, a tan is out of the question.

“Some individuals do not expose their skin to the sun all year round, which can mean they would be suitable for laser hair removal during summer if they do not have an active tan,” explains Baker. “This is a critical safety factor with laser skin treatments. Exposure to sunlight is not recommended one month prior to treatment as this can significantly increase the risk of sensitivity and especially burning.”

Usually, laser hair removal targets the darker pigment in hair follicles rather than surrounding skin. However if the skin is darker than normal, either from sun exposure or self tan, that darker skin pigment can be picked up by the laser too, potentially causing patchy regrowth, burning and dots of pigmentation on treated areas. When it comes to Black and brown skin - the Nd:YAG laser is best and while it's less likely to target the melanin pigment around the hair follicle - skin will still be left sensitised by sun exposure making tanning a no go. “Total avoidance to sun exposure is key, including one month prior to treatment, as well as strict adherence to post-treatment guidance and regular application of broad spectrum SPF50,” warns Baker.


For those seeking tightening and lifting effects to help improve skin that’s starting to sag, radiofrequency is perennially popular and newer iterations combine it with microneedling and microcurrent stimulation (such as EmFace) to get even more benefits when it comes to skin tone and facial contours.

As radiofrequency doesn’t disrupt the surface of the skin, it also makes the treatment immune to sunshine issues. “Radiofrequency is a non-invasive skin tightening treatment that works by using electromagnetic energy waves to heat the deep layer of the skin,” explains Dr Liaka. “The heat contracts collagen fibres resulting in an immediate tightening effect, along with collagen and elastin synthesis, meaning it stimulates their production long term. It’s possible for such procedures to take place in summer as there is no risk if the correct care is taken after treatment, including at least SPF30 daily to avoid the chances of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”

With no summer contraindications to be concerned with, booking in is really a matter of how much heat you can handle when the temperature rises. “It depends on preference, not the safety of such treatments in summer,” adds Dr Liaka. “For many patients, it’s simply more convenient during cooler weather when they’re more likely to spend time indoors,” and you're not already hot and bothered.

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