What you Should do Before and After Laser Hair Removal
Planning to go in for laser hair removal and not sure what to do? You've come to the right place! Below you'll find out everything you need to know about preparing for your laser hair removal session - both the "before" and "after"
Preparing for Your Laser Hair Removal Session
Consult with Your Dermatologist
Before you can go in for your laser hair removal session, it's important that you consult with your dermatologist. He/she will be able to tell you if there is anything about your skin that could make laser hair removal a bad idea, such as sensitivity to light.
The dermatologist will review your medical history, discuss the risks and benefits of this particular type of hair removal process, and explain what you can expect during the session.
It's an important part of the prep process, so make an appointment with your dermatologist before you go for the laser treatment.
Not sure how to find a good laser hair removal clinic? You can find the answer in the following guide:
Don't Expose Your Skin to the Sun
In the days leading up to the session, it's important to stay out of the sun. When your skin is tanned, there is a higher concentration of pigment (melanin). That pigment is what the lasers will be targeting, which is why darker skin is always at a higher risk of skin discoloration.
Tip: Stay out of the sun for up to six weeks before your laser hair removal session, as that will give the melanin in your skin plenty of time to fade. Use sunscreen to reduce the risk of tanning!
Things to Avoid
You should also avoid skin-tanning products, such as sunless tanner, bronzing lotions, etc. They can have the same negative effect when undergoing the laser hair treatment.
Plucking, waxing, or another type of hair removal may not be a good idea before you undergo laser hair removal. Hair removal can actually affect the follicles, interfering with the laser treatment.
If you are treating the hair of your underarms, avoid using deodorant for the day or two leading up to the session. You should also avoid moisturizing lotion or cream in the 24 hours before your session. Anything applied to your skin could interfere with the effectiveness of the laser!
Shaving for the Effectiveness of the Treatment
On the other hand, shaving could be a good idea. Not only will it preserve the follicle and hair shaft, but studies have discovered that shaving before undergoing laser hair removal can actually make the treatment more effective.
What to Do After Your Laser Hair Removal Session
First of all, there are a few side effects that may show up within the first day or so after your treatment--including skin swelling, redness, or irritation. The laser light can irritate your skin, and there may be some irritation and itchiness for up to 48 hours after the session.
Tip: You can use soothing lotion to reduce the irritation, but if it persists, call your dermatologist!
After a week or so, you may notice that the hair is growing back - albeit more slowly than normal. Your skin will be covered in stubble or what looks like blackheads, but that's normal. Just shave regularly to keep that hair under control.
Exfoliate the Treated Area
It's recommended that you exfoliate the treated skin at least two or three times per week. You can use a loofah sponge or washcloth in the shower, rubbing your skin to ensure that your skin can properly shed the dead hair cells. Gentle rubbing can promote exfoliation without irritating your skin or causing ingrown hairs.
Don't Remove Hair From the Roots
Do not pluck or wax the hair growing in after the laser hair removal. Make sure to shave or trim, but leave the roots of those hairs intact. Your next session will take care of them!
Consult with Your Dermatologist
If you are taking medication, make sure to consult your dermatologist for any risks of drug interactions. Some drugs can lead to negative side effects when combined with laser hair removal.
Stay out of the Sun
Applying sunscreen when out and about will help you to avoid any irritation. Your skin is going to be a bit more sensitive immediately following your laser hair treatment, so sunburn will be a lot worse than it would be if your skin was normal. Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally if you spend time in the sun, and be certain to stay away from sunless tanners, tanning lotions, and other tan-promoting products.