The decision to undergo laser hair removal treatments shouldn't be taken lightly. While many patients, both male and female, choose laser treatments to solve their unwanted hair problems—and are very happy with the results—there are potential risks to be wary of, and treatment results won't be the same for everyone. For these reasons, prospective laser hair removal patients should take the time to research different lasers, educate themselves on possible side effects, and consult with a professional laser hair removal provider before starting treatment. Then, it's time to prepare for the treatment itself.
Preparatory steps prior to laser hair removal are necessary for patients' safety, and to facilitate hassle-free procedures and top-notch results. By following the guidelines listed below, patients can:
Once you've made the decision to undergo laser hair removal and have chosen the hair removal clinic where it will be administered, you will likely be given a set of instructions by your selected hair removal provider. The initial laser hair removal preparations can begin weeks before the first treatment takes place. These steps often involve prepping your skin and unwanted hair to make them more conducive to laser treatments.
If you normally wax, tweeze, use depilatories or bleach your unwanted hair, these methods should be discontinued in the weeks prior to laser treatment. This is mainly a precaution to ensure that the hair removal process is completed efficiently and correctly.
It's a fact that lasers are attracted to melanin in hair and skin, so if you have tanned skin or regularly apply tanning creams and lotions, these should be discontinued well in advance of your laser treatments. This also means that patients should be wary of sun exposure in the time leading up to laser hair removal—sunscreen should be applied before any prolonged time outdoors. Sunburns will also affect a patient's results, since the reddened skin will change how the lasers interact with the skin and hair follicles.
Within 24 hours of your laser hair removal appointment, it's recommended that the soon-to-be treated areas are shaved of all existing hair. The technician will likely shave the areas at the appointment if you've failed to do so beforehand. Shaving the treated areas allows the laser procedure to be completed quicker, and it will mean less discomfort and/or pain during the hair removal process itself.
If too much hair is present on the skin surface during treatment, the laser will target that existing hair as well as the follicle underneath the skin. When that happens, the surface hair will be burned by the laser, and subsequently patients' skin can be burned too.
When patients arrive for their hair removal appointment, they will ideally be shaved and clean. Additional instructions will dictate that patients skip their standard applications of lotion, makeup, perfume and deodorant on the treatment day. Any substances on the skin surface during treatment can refract the laser's energy and interfere with the laser's effectiveness.
For patients who have a low pain tolerance, or who are especially concerned about experiencing discomfort, an anesthetic cream may be applied to the treated skin to dull the sensations. If the provider advises against this, and the patient still wants to reduce their odds of discomfort, they can take a mild oral painkiller like tylenol 15-20 minutes before their laser treatment.
After the laser hair removal session is over, patients will likely notice that their skin appears red and somewhat irritated from the treatment. This is completely normal, and the best thing patients can do at this time is to keep their skin well hydrated, protected from the sun, and free from excess irritation. Some laser clinics offer post-laser lotions that can help minimize redness and sensitivity for patients who desire it.
By following these basic guidelines for laser-treated skin, patients should be able to resume daily activities immediately post treatment. The tone and feel of treated skin should be back to normal within 1-2 days. If problems or discomfort persists for longer than this time frame, patients should contact their hair removal provider.
If you've determined that laser hair removal is for you, and that you'd have no problem following these treatment preparations and laser hair removal guidelines, you should contact a trusted laser hair removal provider in your area to start the process.
An experienced provider will be able to walk you through laser hair removal preparation in greater detail, give you specific hair removal cost information, and make personalized recommendations for how you can get the most out of your treatments.