Laser hair removal is a near permanent method of removing hair. It takes no maintenance and can save you time and money. It is one of the only hair removal methods that reaches the hair follicle itself instead of just trimming the portion above the skin. The laser is precise and can work in small and large areas. Laser hair removal is ideal for men and women and provides the perfect no-stubble solution to no hair.
Laser Hair Removal Preparation
To prepare for your appointment there are some things you can do as the patient to ensure you receive the maximum benefits from the procedure. These are generally what is recommended to patients undergoing laser hair removal, but preparation is usually discussed by your doctor during your initial consultation. It is important to make sure the area that will be treated is ready to make your experience better and your doctor’s job easier.
- Make sure all lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, or other skin products are cleaned off the area undergoing treatment. The laser cannot reach beneath these products to remove the hair and can cause complications and reactions with your skin if it is not properly cleaned.
- Make sure the area is not sunburned and has not been tanned in the 3-4 weeks.
- Do not wax or tweeze the area prior to laser removal, or between laser removal treatments. Only shaving should be done while you’re getting treatment.
- Make sure to shave the area within 24 hours of your appointment. Treatments can be done with longer hair but it is recommended to shave to avoid smelling the burning hair during treatment.
These preparation techniques are beneficial and ensure you will get the most out of each of the laser hair removal treatments. They can help lower the amount of total treatment you are going to need.
Aftercare for Laser Hair Removal
Making sure to follow all of the instructions given to you by the physician after your laser hair removal is very important for maximum results. Since the procedure uses a laser to damage the hair follicles, the skin surrounding the area is often heating up and should be cooled off following the appointment to eliminate any pain or discomfort after a few days. If you don’t cool it off, temporary side effects may arise such as redness and minor swelling.
To cool off, some things you could try is applying ice packs or cold compresses to the treatment area or taking a cold shower/bath. You could also turn on the air conditioner on your drive home from the doctor’s office. There are cooling creams and gels that can be purchased as well if you want more cooling options. With that said, it is very important to stay out of the sun as much as possible and use sunscreen between each of your treatments since your skin will usually be more sensitive during these times. In addition to cooling off, following all of the other instructions set forth by your doctor should be followed as closely as possible. Aftercare is crucial in eliminating side effects and maximizing your benefits.
Why Do I Need More Than One Treatment?
Many people see laser hair removal as a low-maintenance alternative for hair removal. There are some men and women forced into shaving and waxing 3 or more times a week, which can take up a lot of valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. While laser treatment is lower maintenance, it is not completely without maintenance.
Hair grows in cycles no matter where it is on the body, and therefore laser treatments cannot target every hair follicle in a single treatment. The cycle includes dormant and active phases and laser removal can only target follicles in the active phase.
- Stage 1: Growing phase (Anagen)
- Stage 2: Transition phase (Catagen)
- Stage 3: Resting phase / dormant (Telogen)
- Stage 4: Shedding phase (Exogen)
With the recommended amount of treatments set forth by your doctor, each of the hair follicles will be damaged and treated multiple times to ensure there is no further hair growth in that area. While this is not a permanent solution to hair removal, the little hair that may grow back will be slower and thinner, making it easier to maintain.
When Will I See Results?
The time it takes for laser hair removal work depends on the person and their skin type and hair type. For most people they will see results within 1-2 weeks of their first treatment. Then after each of the following treatments more results will be noticeable. It is recommended to patients to receive 4-8 treatments depending on the area that is being treated as well as the coarseness of the hair.