You’ve done it! Your first session is now behind you. Everything went smoothly. You came prepared after all. And followed all pre-session recommendations. In a week or so, you will start to see results. Treated hair needs 10 days to start shedding. Now, you need to think about laser hair removal aftercare.
Aftercare is just as important as pre-session care. Why? Simply because it helps ensure the treatment is efficient. It also helps avoid potential secondary effects. Laser hair removal is a hair removal option that is FDA approved.
It is a serious procedure involving a laser. At the end of each session, the laser technician will give you aftercare recommendations. This will help achieve the best results. Below is a summary of such recommendations.
Wear loose clothing
One of the greatest things about laser hair removal? It has no downtime. You may get back to your daily routine straight away. However, it remains a serious procedure. The skin is indeed bombarded with energy.
That energy has the sole purpose of destroying the hair follicles. Thus, after a laser session, the skin is more sensitive than usual. This means that your skin is more vulnerable to external aggressors.
Tight fitting garments can irritate the area. It may also cause pain and discomfort. You can avoid chafing and redness easily. How? Wear loose clothing. You will avoid skin irritation and also let it breathe.
Avoid exposure to the sun
Avoiding the sun is a well-known pre and post-care recommendation. Doing so is crucial both before and after a session. Why before? Because sunlight incurs tanning. Tanning is a superficial melanin change. This will put the skin in an excited state that can interfere with the procedure.
Now, what about aftercare? As mentioned above, the skin is more sensitive after a session. It is much more vulnerable to UV rays than usual. Exposing your unprotected skin after a session can lead to severe sun damage. Some sun damage can be irreversible.
If you treated an area such as your legs, try to cover it for at least ten days after the session. Avoiding exposure to sunlight for areas such as the face or hands are more difficult. Yet, you can still minimize the risks of sun damage.
Apply sunscreen on the area
Let’s say you underwent laser hair removal for your face. It is not like you can cover it all the time. There will be time where it is exposed to the sun. What do you do in that case? You protect your skin and apply sunscreen.
Make sure you choose a physical sunblock with a strong SPF. It should be 30 minimum. SPF 50 is even better. As a general rule, you should always apply sunscreen. Regardless of the time of year and skincare regimen.
Laser treatment or no, sun damage is always a risk. Even more so if you go skiing or during summer. We may also lower our guard when it is cloudy outside, but that does not mean UV rays do not make it to you.
Avoid sweat inducing activities and hot showers
Did you know? The heat produced by the laser gun can stay in your skin for up to 24 hours. Bringing more heat to your skin, that is already more sensitive, can increase the risks of burning.
That is why you should avoid hot showers, sauna and hot tubs. Hot water can cause blistering. Superficial heating may also cause redness and irritate the skin. You should always take lukewarm showers in the few days following a laser session.
Avoid activities that will heat up your skin. This includes working out. Not only will your body produce heat but also sweat. Sweat contains bacteria. Those bacteria can get in newly treated hair follicles and cause skin infection.
Workout gear also usually is quite tight fitting. Excess rubbing increases the risk of scarring.
Do not wax, sugar or pluck
Laser hair removal needs two things to work. First, it needs a hair to target. Second, that hair needs to be in the anagen phase of growth. Waxing removes the hair completely and interferes with the hair growth cycle.
After waxing, the hair follicle is empty. Thus, there is nothing that the laser can target. Plus, the hair would need up to six weeks to grow back. The issue is that each laser session is six weeks apart.
For a wax to be successful, the hair must be at least 0.5mm long. It may take a week or two before that happens after laser hair removal. Then, four weeks before your next session, you wax. The hair will not be able to grow back in time for your next session.
Avoid makeup and fragranced products
Avoiding makeup and fragranced products is an aftercare recommendation that applies only for certain areas. Take the face for example. You should avoid wearing makeup for 48 hours. The hair follicles are too sensitive after a treatment.
Even the most natural cosmetic product can irritate the skin. Makeup can also clog hair follicles which could lead to skin infection.
Try to avoid scented products as well. Most of them contain alcohol, which can irritate the area. If you have treated your armpits, do not use deodorant that contains alcohol. You may want to let the area rest altogether for a day or two.
Do not touch the treated area
It is a reflex to touch our skin. Especially after a treatment. And especially on the face. The problem is, hands are dirty. They touch a lot of things and are covered in bacteria. Those bacteria can get into newly treated and sensitive hair follicles.
Touching your skin after a treatment is taking the risk that you introduce harmful bacteria in your hair follicle. That can lead to irritation or even skin infection. If you feel a bit of discomfort or irritation after a treatment, apply some aloe vera gel.
Exfoliate the area
One thing you must do before each laser session is shaving the area. It may sound counterproductive. But it is not. Long hair will reduce the efficiency of the procedure. It may also increase the risks of burning and scarring.
When you shave, the hair is still there, cut flat at the surface of the skin. Remember that the hair must be in the anagen phase of growth to be effectively treated. As 20% of hair is in that phase at any point in time, one session can only treat 20% of hair.
This is why you need several sessions. That also means that as you shave the whole area, the hair that was not treated will grow back. However, we know that shaving increases the likeliness of ingrown hair.
To prevent ingrown hair outbreaks after a session, you can exfoliate the area. Of course, do wait a few days as the skin remains sensitive. We advise you exfoliate twice a week starting a week after your session. Do not exfoliate the day before your next session.
Let your skin recover
This aftercare recommendation will sum up a few things that were said earlier. The best way to ensure the efficiency and safety of the treatment is to leave your skin alone. As beams of light bombard your skin, it is quite sensitive afterward.
It needs to rest and recover. Touching it, scratching or applying the wrong products will have the reverse effect. Fidgeting with your skin will only increase the likelihood of skin infection, pimples and redness.
You can help your skin recover by applying aloe vera gel after the session. Natural and organic moisturizers can also help hydrate the skin.
In the occurrence of side effect, call us
Laser hair removal is a cosmetic procedure. Like any other hair removal option, it has side effects. However, those are very rare. Especially if you follow pre-care and aftercare recommendations.
One key aspect of a successful treatment is open communication. You should be open about your hair removal history as well as medical history. For example, some medication increases photosensitivity. That means a laser treatment may be more uncomfortable for you.
Some other medications are not compatible with laser hair removal. Accutane for example. If you experience side effects such as burns, hyperpigmentation or scarring, do get in touch with us so that we can provide advice and guidance.