With the warmer months approaching, you might be considering laser hair removal. This will make your summer a bit less hectic because you’ll find that without having to run around to weekly wax appointments, you’ll have extra time on your hands. However, unlike other skin laser treatments, hair removal requires some preparation prior to your laser hair removal treatments.
First, let’s look at how laser hair removal works. Lasers emit wavelengths that target the pigment located in the root of each hair follicle. By absorbing the light, lasers are able to destroy hair follicles without causing damage to the skin’s surface. Since each individual hair is on its own growth cycle, multiple laser treatments scheduled eight to 10 weeks apart are required for permanent removal.
There are several other ways to ensure permanent hair removal. Get the best results by taking the time to do these things before your laser treatments begin.
1. Stop Plucking and Waxing
Laser hair removal works by targeting the roots of the hair, so it’s essential that you don’t pluck or wax the treated area at least four to six weeks prior to your first appointment. Shaving is okay, as it leaves the root in place. In fact, it’s actually encouraged to shave the area being targeted by lasers prior to your scheduled laser appointment. Your laser appointments will be scheduled at eight to 10 week intervals, so you can resume waxing and plucking at that time. However, it’s not recommended and you will need to stop six weeks prior to your next appointment.
2. Shave the Area
Even though it’s suggested that you stop plucking and waxing the area being treated, shaving it 24 to 48 hours prior your appointment is essential. Even though your hair is invisible to the naked eye, the laser is still able to target the pigment located in the hair’s root. Shaving the area is required as it severely decreases the chance of burns with the hair being below the skin’s surface.
3. Avoid Sun Exposure
For two weeks prior to your laser hair removal, it’s important that the skin being treated is kept out of the sun. This includes both tanning beds and self-tanners. Not only can their use lead to skin discoloration after your laser treatment, but a sunburn can cause excessive pain and blistering. Most laser professionals won’t even treat a client with a minor sunburn and will have them reschedule their appointment. So, be sure to use sunscreen daily if the treated area can’t be covered while outside.
4. Put Down The Bleach
As mentioned earlier, laser hair removal works by targeting the root of hairs. Your hair pigment or color can be found in the root and absorbs the light produced by the laser, ultimately destroying the hair permanently. When you bleach your hair, it alters the pigment and makes the hair more difficult to target. Bleaching should be stopped six weeks prior to your laser hair removal treatment, which is enough time for the hair roots to grow back in their natural color.
5. Check Your Medications
It’s important that when you speak to your laser professional that you inform them of all of the medications that you’re taking, both oral and topical. Some medications can intervene with your laser treatments, making them less effective. Other medications can make the skin sensitive and more likely to burn or blister. You should especially inform your laser technician if you are on antibiotics, birth control, acne, and photosensitizing medications. You won’t have to stop taking your medication, but your laser professional will be able to adjust your treatment accordingly and proceed with caution. Additionally, if you begin taking any new medications you should be sure to let them know prior to your next appointment.
6. Remove Makeup or Creams
The ingredients in beauty products can sometimes affect the results of laser hair removal and should be removed prior to each of your treatments. This includes deodorant, makeup, lotions, ointments, and anything else applied topically to the area. Simply use soap and water to cleanse the skin that will be treated. If makeup remover is used, be sure to rinse the area with water afterward.
By following these recommendations, you will significantly reduce the risk of experiencing side effects caused by your laser treatments. These can range from mild skin irritation to burns or discoloration. Additionally, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your laser hair removal treatments and get results that will last a lifetime.