Once you’ve opted for laser hair removal, you’ll want to make sure you know what to expect before, during and after your treatment. These five tips can help maximize your comfort as you go through the process of laser hair removal treatments and ensure that you get the best and most long-lasting results.
1. Choose the Right Technician
As mentioned above, the first step to LHR is finding the right technician and booking your initial consultation. While many reputable laser centers offer free consultations, you shouldn’t necessarily be bargain shopping for your laser treatment. As the adage says, you really do get what you pay for, and skimping on a delicate laser procedure is not when you to learn this lesson. Before making your appointment, do your research and make sure you choose an accredited, certified laser technician.
2. Before Treatment: Shave, Don’t Wax
Your certified laser technician will give you the details of what kinds of preparations you should expect, but in general, you’ll want to shave 1 to 3 days prior to your treatment. It may sound counterintuitive to remove your hair before going in for a hair removal procedure, but because shaving promotes hair growth and lasers target hair in its growing stages, this can maximize the effectiveness of LHR. However, waxing right before your treatment is a big no-no, as it pulls out the entire hair follicle, leaving nothing for the laser to target.
3. No Tanning
Because LHR is most effective on lighter skin, you don’t want to tan right before your procedure. It also may be well worth the wait to postpone your LHR to colder months, when your skin isn’t naturally exposed to sunlight. This tip also applies to sunless tanning lotions. These skin creams have the same pigment-altering effects as tanning, which can make LHR less effective.
Keep in mind that you should still stay away from direct sunlight and tanning beds for about 6 weeks after your treatments have ended. Not only will your skin be extra sensitive during this time, but exposure to UV rays can negatively affect the LHR process.
4. Anesthetic Cream
Many new lasers actually have built-in cooling systems that help to keep you comfortable and relaxed during your laser hair removal sessions. You may want to check with your technician to find out if this feature is offered. Either way, applying an anesthetic cream one hour prior to treatment can minimize any discomfort.
5. Know What to Expect After
Following your LHR, you may start to notice what looks like hair regrowth, but this is simply the hair making its way out of the follicle. Within 10 to 14 days, you should notice the hair begin to shed from the skin. At this stage, you can lightly exfoliate the skin to remove the hair. Note that while you can shave after treatments, you should not wax or pluck hair from any area that was treated. This can counteract the process of LHR and require additional sessions.
It’s also important to remember that although there are things you can do to reduce the amount of sessions needed, LHR will require more than one appointment. Typically, 4 to 10 treatments are needed to achieve the desired results. Again, work with a certified and experienced laser technician who will help keep you on track to get the most out of your LHR and finally get rid of that unwanted hair.