Tired of waxing your bikini line? Sick of shaving your underarms? Fed up with plucking hair follicles from your upper lip?
If you’re ready to eliminate shaving, waxing, and plucking from your maintenance routine, it’s time to consider laser hair removal. This procedure is not like walking into a salon and getting a haircut. In fact, there are several steps that you need to take before you ever have your first session.
Schedule a Laser Hair Removal Consultation
While laser treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure, it’s best to think of it as a medical procedure. In other words, you should only have a licensed and certified expert do it for you.
Start by finding a licensed and certified laser hair removal clinic near your city. Ask friends for references or check online reviews for recommendations. Once you’ve found a place you can trust, make an appointment for a consultation.
The consultation is key, and reputable clinics require one for every patient. During your session, the laser technician will provide you with all the info you need to determine if laser hair removal is right for you.
Follow Laser Hair Removal Pre-Treatment Orders
Your laser hair removal technician will instruct you on what to do (and what not to do) before your first session. You must follow those orders closely. Failure to do so can affect your results or, in some cases, force you to reschedule your appointment for a future date.
So what are some of these pre-treatment orders? Well, the process begins about six weeks before your first session. During that time, you cannot pluck or wax. Laser hair removal works by destroying the hair follicle, so the follicle must be intact.
It’s also important that you avoid tanning and using self-tanning products for six weeks prior to your first visit. Why? Because tanning increases the melanin in the skin, it’s best to have natural levels of melanin during treatment. So, do your best to minimize sun exposure as best you can.
- Do not use any topical products that cause photosensitivity (e.g. hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide) in the treatment areas for three days before treatment. Use a gentle cleanser and lotion on treated areas.
- Avoid sun exposure to the treatment area, and do not use UV tanning beds at all for two weeks before treatment. Be sure to use a recommended broad-spectrum mineral sunblock with an SPF of 30 or above on a daily basis (rain or shine).
- Follow instructions regarding all oral prescription medications that we provided at your medical laser consultation. If you are taking any new or different medications, including antibiotics, contact our office prior to your appointment.
- Do not have Botox injections, dermal filler injections, chemical peels or microdermabrasion in the treatment area for at least 14 days before laser hair removal.
- We ask that you are freshly showered or bathed with completely clean skin, without lotions, oils, creams or fragrances of any kind before coming in.
- Any treatment areas should be shaved completely prior to treatment. Legs should be shaved around 24 hours prior to your appointment to avoid irritation. Do not wax, tweeze, epilate or use chemical depilatories for two weeks before treatment, or at all in between laser treatments. Since the laser targets the root of the hair, it must be present for the treatment to be effective. Shaving is the only form of hair removal recommended during the course of your treatments.
What to Do in the Days Before Laser Hair Removal
In the days immediately leading up to your first treatment, there are even more guidelines you’ll need to follow. For several days before each session, avoid medications such as blood thinners, NSAIDs, and pain relievers.
The day before your session, shave the treatment area. If your technician doesn’t mention this, ask them if you should. A day or two before, take pictures of the area so that you can compare before and after results. Immediately before your appointment, take a shower and clean the area thoroughly. Dry the area as you normally would, but refrain from using any lotion, sunscreen, or moisturizer. The skin must be clean, dry, and free of all skincare products at the time of treatment.
Laser hair removal isn’t completely painless, but it doesn’t hurt for most people. However, if you’re overly sensitive to pain, you should prepare yourself for some minor discomfort. Before your first session, make sure that you are 100% comfortable about getting the procedure. If you have any hesitation at all, take some extra time to think it through before going under the laser.
And if you’re ready and willing to have that hair removed forever, now’s the time to get excited. Just think about it — after a few sessions, you’ll never have to worry about waxing or shaving again!
During the Treatment day
On the day of your treatment, it is important that you are at the clinic on time so your session can be completed on time. Your clinician will welcome you to the treatment room. Here you will have full privacy whilst getting ready for your session.
You will need to undress the parts that you are having the laser treatment at. Your clinician will provide you with towels to you can cover yourself where and when necessary.
If you are having laser treatment on more than one area, or the full-body, you might prefer to get undressed partially for each area for more comfort. Your clinician will check if the growth of hair is suitable for the treatment. And then clean the treatment area.
They will mark the area with a white pen to make sure no parts are missed. Cover up the spots and beauty marks to prevent any negative effects. And if you have any tattoos, they will cover the sides so the laser doesn’t get over it.
Some areas of the body are more sensitive than others. Before your treatment, you will also be offered numbing cream. But even if you don’t want to use it, you will still be fine. As our laser experts have many years of experience they know how to make you feel most comfortable.
Before starting the treatment, you will be asked to wear special goggles to protect your eyes. You can also lie back and close your eyes if you prefer. It is important that you never look at the laser with the naked eye as it is highly dangerous. Your clinician may stop or pause during your treatment to make sure you are comfortable. They can use the cold air function of the laser to give your skin extra soothing help before and after treating the area. If you have sensitive skin, they make sure to treat the area in small patches to make the treatment go easier. They regularly clean the area with a sanitized napkin in every couple of minutes.
Your clinician may change the settings of the machine during your treatment. This is to adapt the best power and consistency to the area treated. Your expert will make sure to treat the area with the most appropriate and necessary settings. Which can differ from area to area due to the number of sessions completed, amount of hair follicles or the sensitivity of the skin.
After your Laser Hair Removal Treatment
It is normal to experience redness and swelling in the treatment area following laser hair removal. This may persist for several days. The treated area may feel like a razor burn or sunburn for a few hours after treatment. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone or aloe vera may be used to alleviate redness and irritation.
Hair in the treated area will slowly shed, typically over the course of two weeks. Patchiness of hair growth is normal and will dissipate towards the completion of your laser hair removal treatment series.
Improper post-treatment care, including excessive heat or sun exposure of the treated area, may increase the chance of scarring, pigmentation changes, and skin texture changes.
- It is imperative that you avoid excessive heat in the treatment area, such as hot tubs, saunas or working out for 24 hours after laser hair removal treatment.
- Avoid sun exposure to the treatment area, and do not use UV tanning beds at all for two weeks after treatment. Use a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or above on a daily basis (rain or shine).
- Do not use any topical products that cause photosensitivity (e.g. hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide) in the treatment areas for three days after treatment. Use a gentle cleanser and lotion on treated areas.
- Follow instructions regarding all oral medications that we provided at your medical laser consultation.
- Do not have Botox injections, dermal filler injections, chemical peels or microdermabrasion in the treatment area for at least 14 days after laser hair removal.