Tips: What To Do Before And After Laser Hair Removal
In recent years laser hair removal has grown to become one of the most popular hair removal techniques. Advancements in laser-based technologies have made the procedure a safer and better alternative to electrolysis.
Any laser-based treatment has the potential to yield undesired results. Common side effects of laser hair removal are swelling, redness, or irritation of the skin. All of which typically resolve on their own overtime without further intervention.
There are, however, simple things patients can do before and after their procedure to limit any unwanted side effects.
Before Laser Hair Removal
- Always go for an in-person consultation with your provider before committing to a treatment. An experienced provider will be able to assess your candidacy and estimate the number of treatments you may need
- During your consultation discuss the types of medications you are currently taking. Some prescriptions can cause photosensitivity, which can lead to burns.
- Stop using skincare products with strong ingredients like retinoids or alfa hydrody acid (AHA)
- Avoid all forms of tanning (i.e. tanning from the natural sun, tanning beds, spray tans, and self-tanning products) for 6 weeks prior to your treatment. Laser treatments on tanned skin can result in long-term pigmentation issues.
- Avoid plucking, waxing, or bleaching your hair for 6 weeks prior to your appointment as plucking out hair by the root will decrease the effectiveness of your laser treatment
- Shave the day before your treatment (as directed by your provider). Shaving encourages the hair follicle to enter its active growing stage which is the ideal stage for laser targeting
- Take a shower right before your appointment and clean the treatment area, making sure to remove dirt and oil from the skin. Avoid using any skincare products (including moisturizer) after you cleanse
After Laser Hair Removal
- Attend any scheduled follow-up or maintenance treatments as directed by your provider in a timely manner
- Avoid the sun (and tanning beds) and wear a high-quality sunscreen as UV exposure can irritate the treated skin and complicate the hair removal process.
- “Sun-less” tanning options like spray tans or self-tanning products can be used between treatment sessions as long as their use is discontinued 2 weeks prior to your next treatment.
- Continue to shave, instead of plucking, tweezing, or waxing, if you need to remove hair between treatments
- Gently exfoliate the treated skin 2-3 times per week using a loofah or washcloth. This minimizes the risk of developing ingrown hairs
- Take lukewarm showers for the first week after your treatment
- Avoid using perfumes or deodorants for 48 hours after your treatment