If you’ve grown tired of the shaving, waxing, or plucking routine, you may be ready for something more permanent. Laser hair removal has been a popular treatment for many years because, through a simple process, it allows people to toss the razor, the wax, or whatever else they have been using to groom unwanted hair. Here, we fill you in on what you can expect before, during, and after laser hair removal sessions.
Before Laser Hair Removal
There is a little bit of prep-work that you need to do before laser hair removal. Don’t worry; it’s easy. First, we’ll want you to avoid sun exposure. Yes, you can go outdoors without having to cover your entire body. What we want to prevent is a suntan. For your laser hair removal sessions, we want contrast between your hair and your skin. We also want your process to be as comfortable as possible, and a suntan can increase the skin’s sensitivity to side effects of laser treatment.
Another instruction for laser hair removal patients is to shave the day before or the morning of their appointment. This needs to happen before every appointment because some hair may grow back. Shaving is recommended because, when hair is longer, more heat builds up in the follicles, and this can be uncomfortable.
For appointments, you should also dress in soft, loose clothes. These are easy to remove if necessary, to reach your treatment area. Loose clothing also lets your skin breathe after your session, allowing heat to dissipate more quickly and without too much sensitivity.
Laser Hair Removal Treatment
Because laser light is very intense, your provider will have you wear a special pair of goggles while your treatment is being performed. While you sit or lie comfortably on the treatment table, a small handpiece will move over your skin. This happens in a stamp-like pattern. When the applicator touches the skin, it sends laser light into hair follicles. This may feel like a snap. The skin may also begin to feel warm as the treatment continues. Depending on the size of the area being addressed, each appointment may take about an hour.
After Laser Hair Removal
The absorption of laser energy into hair follicles may cause the skin to look red and swollen. These side effects may vary from one person to another. Some people do not look noticeably red, while others look like they have a sunburn. Regardless of appearance, most people who have laser hair removal do feel as though they have a sunburn. This can last a few hours or up to a few days. Some say that this sensation gets less intense as they go through their laser hair removal process. If needed, cool compresses may be applied to soothe sensitive skin.