Laser hair removal is considered a safe, non-invasive method of permanent hair removal. The procedure uses an intense beam of laser light to damage the hair follicle so that no more hair can grow. Like other cosmetic procedures there is a recovery process after laser hair removal. We will let you know what to expect after your procedure with a detailed timeline explaining the first few weeks after a laser hair removal session.
After the Procedure
Most patients are allowed to return to their daily activities right after laser hair removal. However, if you are concerned that you might be uncomfortable after the procedure, you can arrange to take the rest of the day off work. Keep in mind that the treated area may appear flushed directly after the procedure, much like a sunburn. If a topical anesthetic is used during the treatment, the patient may experience some burning as the anesthetic wears off. However, few patients require medication to control the discomfort.
First 24 Hours
Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid strenuous activity or Jacuzzis for the first 24 hours after laser hair removal. Perspiration or the heat of the Jacuzzi can irritate already tender skin. Your skin may appear red and slightly swollen, and may feel slightly burned. There are topical moisturizers and anti-inflammatory solutions that can be applied to soothe sensitive skin. Some doctors also recommend cool compresses or ice packs to ease the burning sensation. If necessary, an over the counter pain medication can also be used.
During the first week after laser hair removal, you may notice raised red bumps on your skin. These usually go away after two or three days. Some patients also experience a small amount of crusting or scabbing at the treatment area. This can usually be treated with petroleum jelly to keep the area moist until the skin heals completely. Patients are also instructed to keep the area clean using a gentle cleanser that won't dry or irritate skin. White bumps, intense discomfort or a significant amount of scabbing should be reported to your doctor right away. Some doctors plan to see their patient about a week after treatment to ensure the area is healing properly without complications.
Within 10 days to two weeks, you will probably begin to see hair fall out around the treated area. This is completely normal and demonstrates that the laser hair removal procedure was successful. It is very important not to interfere with this process by plucking, tweezing or waxing the area. Doctors also advise patients to stay out of the sun as much as possible during the first few weeks to avoid irritating and damaging sensitive skin. If you must go out, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 to provide your skin with adequate protection. Some patients will also experience skin lightening or darkening in the treated area, which is nearly always temporary and occurs more often in patients with darker skin or a recent suntan.
Four to Eight Weeks
The majority of patients will require follow-up treatments to achieve desired results. This is because hair grows in phases, and laser hair removal is only able to target hairs in the growth phase at the time of treatment. Some doctors recommend waiting until the skin has fully regenerated and a new hair growth phase has begun to schedule a follow-up laser hair removal session. This usually takes about twelve weeks to complete, although other doctors will perform laser hair removal sessions in four to eight-week increments. Each session will provide about a 25% hair reduction in the treated area. Hair that does grow back will usually be finer and lighter in color than previous hair.
To learn more about the laser hair removal recovery process, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a laser clinic near you, contact us today!