Hair After Laser Hair Removal
Part 1Getting Ready for Your Treatment
- Make sure laser hair removal is right for you. Laser hair removal works by targeting and breaking down the melanin (the pigment that gives hair its color) in a hair follicle, which makes that hair fall out. The process, therefore, works best to remove coarse, dark hair. It won’t work as well—or may not work at all—to remove red, blond, gray, or white hair.
- Laser hair removal likely won’t work for women with polycystic ovaries disease or other hormonal problems.
- If you are taking any medications, especially new ones or a course of antibiotics, talk to your doctor before undergoing laser hair removal. Some medications can cause photosensitivity, which could lead to a bad burn from the treatment.
- Go for a consultation. A consultation with a laser hair removal technician before your first treatment will allow the clinic to assess your health. They will also administer a patch test to determine whether you are a good candidate for the treatment, and which process will work best based on your skin and hair type.
- Avoid tanning before your treatment. Once you are deemed a good candidate for laser hair removal, it’s important to avoid the sun and tanning beds in the six weeks leading up to your treatment.
- Showing up for a laser treatment with tanned skin can lead to burns and blistering.
- Don’t remove hair by the roots. In the six weeks leading up to your treatment, avoid plucking, waxing, bleaching, and electrolysis treatments. Plucking or pulling hair out by the roots means there won’t be any hair for the laser to target.
- To manage hair growth before your treatment, shave or use depilatories that only remove the hair above the skin.
- Avoid caffeine 24 hours prior to your treatment. You want to be calm and relaxed before and during your laser treatment, but caffeine can make you more agitated and tense.
- Shave the day before. When you go for your initial consultation, the technician will tell you exactly when to shave in preparation for your treatment, but most clinics recommend shaving one to two days beforehand.
- Although it may seem strange to shave right before a laser removal treatment, it’s an important step in the process: the laser targets hair in the active growing stage, and shaving encourages hair to enter this stage.
- Show up with clean skin. Before leaving for your treatment, shower and wash your skin with a gentle cleanser. You want to remove all makeup, dirt, and oil from your skin. Avoid moisturizing before your treatment.
Part 2Knowing What to Expect After
- Avoid the sun. Just as you protected your skin from tanning in the six weeks prior to your laser hair treatment, so too should you avoid the sun for the six weeks following it. Not only will your skin be sensitive, but it can also complicate the removal process and follow-up treatments.
- Expect your hair to fall out. Shortly after your treatment, the targeted hair will begin making its way out of the hair follicle, making it look like it’s growing again. But within 10 to 14 days, your hair will reach the shedding stage and begin to fall out, at which time you can gently remove it with a washcloth in the shower or bath.
- Don’t pluck or wax. During the shedding stage, your hair needs to fall out naturally, so don’t pluck, tweeze, or wax the targeted area. If there is any resistance from a hair, it means the root is still alive, and that hair will have to be targeted again in a follow-up treatment.
- You can shave after your laser hair removal, but avoid anything that pulls hair out by the roots.
- Go for multiple treatments. Laser hair removal only targets hair in the active growth phase, so many patients need anywhere between four and 10 sessions to achieve the desired results, Treatments generally occur every one to two months.
- After each treatment, you should notice less and less hair in the targeted area. The hair that does continue to grow should be finer and lighter in color.
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- Laser hair removal can be painful. Expect it to feel like a gentle pinch, or a rubber band being snapped against your skin.
- Don’t be afraid to communicate with your laser hair removal technician, especially if you experience excessive pain during your treatment.
- Be wary of discount laser hair removal practitioners. Choose a clinic that offers consultations, patch tests, and a thorough pre- and post-treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or testimonials from the clinic.