Laser Hair Removal: 12 Things You Need To Know Before Having Treatment
Published in Jun 2021 / Updated in Sep 2021
For those considering laser hair removal, it’s critical to weigh the matter properly to avoid any illusions about what this procedure can help you achieve. It might be tempting to think laser hair removal is the ultimate solution for unwanted hair, but there are other things to consider as well.
Of course, laser hair removal has many benefits. For instance, you can say goodbye to ingrown hair and hyperpigmentation by choosing this hair removal procedure over other hair removal options available to you.
In addition, waxing and threading will not permanently get rid of hair you don’t need, but laser hair removal will.
Still, it’s important to know as much as you can about this procedure, so you understand what you are getting yourself into. A good way to know about laser hair removal is to understand some facts about this procedure, and here they are.
1. Before The Laser Treatment, You Should Trim/Shave The Area
To avoid the dreadful smell of burned hair, you should shave the area before the laser hair treatment. Ideally, you should shave the area 24 hours before the procedure.
Tweezing, waxing, and plucking the hair is not recommended. Shaving is all that’s required, and electric razors are to be avoided as the hairs they leave are usually too long.
The area should also not have been exposed to the sun 4 weeks before the treatment. Other things to avoid include using fake tanning products in the area.
Finally, laser hair removal cannot be done on an area that still has lotion, makeup, deodorant, or cream. Luckily, you can wipe these substances off before the treatment.
2. You Should Be Ready To Stay Away From The Sun
We have already seen that you should avoid the sun before the procedure. However, you should still avoid the sun even after the procedure.
That means sunbathing is out of the question once you have undergone laser hair removal for at least a few weeks.
In fact, you should check in with your dermatologist before exposing yourself to the sun again. So, before getting the procedure, make sure you don’t have a summer holiday coming up.
3. Plucking, Dying, And Waxing The Hair Interferes With The Process
The reason you are advised against plucking or dying your hair before the procedure is that these procedures interfere with the laser hair removal process.
The only hair removal procedure that does not get in the way is shaving.
4. Some Of Your Beauty Routines And Products Might Have To Change
For two days after the procedure, you should stay away from scrubs, retinol creams, and glycolic acid. Experts also recommend avoiding chemical peels and fake tan for about two weeks before and after the laser treatment.
5. It’s Not As Painful As It Sounds
Laser hair removal does not have to be a traumatizing and painful procedure. These days, they have lasers with a cooling feature that ensures the procedure is more comfortable.
The procedure works by shining a light on the target area. This light turns into heat which then damages the hair follicle and the hair bulb, stopping hair growth permanently.
That sounds pretty painful, but it’s not unbearable. You will only feel a little pain.
6. It Might Take A Few Tries
If you are most people, you will see a permanent hair reduction after undergoing the procedure. However, hormonal fluctuations can make the hair grow back.
7. Stay Away From The Gym After The Procedure
It might not feel like it, but the heat the laser generates on your skin lasts for 24 hours. That means you should not do anything that heats up the area even more as that can encourage the growth of bacteria.
The bacteria can result in spots on that area of the skin, and that is never flattering to look at.
8. Laser Hair Removal Can Sometimes Trigger More Hair Growth
Ironic as this sounds, it is very true that laser hair removal can trigger more hair growth. In these cases, laser treatment can trigger longer and thicker hair growth.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait and see how the procedure works out for you. Your dermatologist should be in a position to tell you what kind of results to expect after undergoing the procedure.
Typically, more hair growth only happens in a few rare cases. Usually, finer hair, known as vellus hairs, gets stimulated by the laser light and grows more.
9. Laser Hair Removal Goes With All Skin Tones
The skin tone does not matter when it comes to using this hair removal process. All that matters is that the hair is dark enough. In the past, the procedure was not used on people with darker skin tones, especially Black and Asian skin tones, as they suffered a greater risk of burning.
However, these days, they have long-pulsed lasers that have solved this problem by eliminating the possibility of the laser light burning the skin instead of the hairs.
The technique works by targeting the hairs based on their dark pigmentation.
10. You’ll Have To Be Patient
Don’t think you will walk out of your laser hair removal session with completely hairless skin. You will have to wait for about two to three weeks before you notice the results.
In fact, it will take about 8 to 12 sessions before you are completely hairless. The important thing to understand is that, at any one time, the hair follicles are usually at different stages of growth.
So, without regular appointments over a couple of weeks, some of these follicles might remain active.
11. There Are Numerous Benefits To Undergoing Laser Hair Removal
Although most people think the process is great at getting rid of hair for good, there are other benefits to this procedure as well. In particular, the laser can be beneficial to people dealing with ingrown hairs.
The procedure can also reduce skin irritation by encouraging hair to grow straight.
12. The Procedure Doesn’t Take Long
You might be surprised to learn that an appointment can be over within a couple of minutes. That’s a huge plus for many people.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Getting Laser Hair Removal
Before you rush to get your hair removed permanently using laser light, there are a few more things you should consider first. In addition to the above facts, here are a few other things to keep in mind for your best chances of success.
1. You Should See A Dermatologist First
Laser hair removal is not as simple as most people think. That’s why it’s recommended that you see a certified dermatologist to avoid risks such as burns.
Dermatologists are also in a better position to understand the best kind of treatment for your hair based on your skin and hair type.
2. A Test Patch Might Be Necessary Before The Procedure
Since skins can react differently to this procedure, the doctor might have to test the procedure on a small part of the skin first to see if you will end up with pigmentation problems or scarring after undergoing the procedure.
3. The Procedure Can Get A Little Expensive
Obviously, the cost of undergoing laser hair removal will vary from one place to another. Small areas such as underarms can cost between $150 and $250 a session, while large portions of the skin, such as the legs, can cost over $500 per treatment.
4. You Might Experience Some Swelling Afterwards
When you come out of the procedure, you might be swollen and look like you just had an encounter with angry bees. That’s called perifollicular edema, and it is usually a sign that things have gone well.
Some redness, itching, and stinging might last for about 48 hours. However, you don’t have to suffer until that time has lapsed, thanks to soothing solutions such as hydrocortisone cream.
5. There Are Three Types Of Lasers
The types of lasers used for this procedure are diode, alexandrite, and Nd: YAG lasers. The diode laser is the best option for light and dark skin, while the alexandrite laser is appropriate when treating large areas as it is very fast.
Finally, the Nd: YAG laser is appropriate for all types of skin, and that includes tanned skin. However, it is not as effective on fine hair.
6. You Can’t Have A Full-Body Laser Hair Removal Procedure
There is only so much laser treatment your body can handle in a single session. So, even if you are keen on ensuring that most hairs in your body undergo this treatment, it can’t be done in a single session.
7. Your Doctor Should Know About Your Medications
Some drugs, such as antibiotics, can be light-sensitive. Therefore, they can increase the risk of getting burned during the procedure.
The professionals carrying out the procedure can ask about the medications you are using before they start the process to avoid such problems.
Is Laser Hair Removal Worth It?
All things considered, getting laser hair removal is worth it if you want to get rid of unwanted hair completely. If the procedure works, you will be free from the struggle of having to shave your hair for good.
That is what makes this procedure worthwhile for most people.