Retinol and Laser Hair Removal – When Can You Use Retinols?
At Body Details, we are proud to help our clients with a wide range of cosmetic treatments, including laser hair removal, tattoo removal, laser lipo, and skin rejuvenation. One common question that we get as we prepare for laser hair removal treatments is about retinol, and whether or not it is safe to use while going through these treatments.
Retinol is a powerful vitamin A derivative used to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. Before using retinol for the first time, you will need to go through a long list of things that you can and can’t do while using them. It is especially important that anyone using retinol knows the dangers of mixing this treatment with laser hair removal.
If you are considering laser hair removal, it’s important to understand how retinol can impact your treatment. In this article, we’ll discuss when and when not to use retinol if you’re getting laser hair removal treatment.
Retinoids vs. Retinols — Know the Difference
The terms “retinoid” and “retinol” are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Retinoids are a more powerful class of vitamin A derivatives that include retinoic acid and tazarotene.
Retinol is a less potent form of vitamin A that includes retinaldehyde and retinyl palmitate. Both retinol and the larger class of retinoids are highly effective for wrinkle reduction, and retinoids are more potent and can be irritating, especially if used in high doses. Retinols are less potent, and therefore, less likely to cause irritation.
Retinols are more commonly available as over-the-counter products because of their reduced potency, but people who are looking for maximum strength wrinkle reduction will typically use products from the other types of retinoids. Essentially, retinol is one type of mild retinoid, while the term “retinoids” is used to refer to a class of prescription-strength drugs.
How Do Retinoids Work?
Retinoids work by promoting cell turnover, which helps the skin to create new, healthy skin cells, as well as speeding up the natural production of collagen and elastin in the skin, which in turn reduces wrinkles and improves skin texture. Retinoids also help to unclog pores and reduce acne breakouts, as well as blackheads and whiteheads. They also increase blood flow to the skin, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to help keep the skin looking young and healthy.
Retinoids can be used on the face, neck, chest, and hands. However, they should never be used on sunburned skin or skin that is irritated or damaged in any way.
Using retinoids while getting laser hair removal can seriously damage your skin. Retinoids make your skin very sensitive to light, so using them while having laser hair removal can cause severe burns and scarring. If you’ve recently started using retinol and are interested in laser hair removal, it’s best to wait at least two week after your last use of retinol before starting laser hair removal treatment.
When Is It Safe to Use Retinols?
Most retinol products come with a warning to discontinue use if you experience excessive dryness, redness, or peeling. This means that it’s not safe for everyone to use retinol, and you’ll need to perform a patch test before using them on a regular basis. Generally speaking, retinol is most effective when used in conjunction with other proactive skincare ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), which are also available over-the-counter.
If you’ve never used retinol before, it’s best to start with a low concentration product and increase the strength of the product only if your skin can tolerate it. You should also avoid using any other active ingredients on your skin while you’re using retinol, including AHAs, BHAs, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.
Most experts recommend avoiding retinoids and retinol for two to four weeks before laser hair removal, as they can make the skin more sensitive to laser treatment. At Body Details, we encourage our clients to abstain from retinol for at least two weeks and preferably longer before a laser treatment, but we will be able to provide you with clearer guidelines during our free consultation. Always speak with your laser technician beforehand to get advice on what is best for you.
When Is It Dangerous To Use Retinol or Retinoids?
Retinoids should never be used on sunburned skin, as they make the skin even more sensitive to the sun. They should also not be used on skin that is irritated or damaged in any way. If you’ve recently started using retinol and are interested in laser hair removal, it’s best to wait until your skin has adjusted to the retinol before booking a treatment.
The team at Body Details will work with you to develop a treatment schedule and plan that accounts for your retinol usage while ensuring that your skin stays safe and healthy.
Lasers and Retinoids
If you’re looking for a non-invasive and effective wrinkle reducer, retinol products are a great option, but anyone planning other skin treatments must be aware of the limitations and issues that mixing this product with other treatments can cause.
Retinol should not be used in the week prior to laser hair removal treatment, as it can increase skin sensitivity and lead to adverse effects like skin redness and inflammation. If you have recently undergone laser hair removal treatment, it is important to avoid using any retinol-based products until the treated area has healed completely.
If you are planning to have laser hair removal on an area of your body where you do not apply retinol, you may be able to continue applying the products as normal, but again, it is important to discuss this usage with the Body Details team to make sure that you are taking proper care of your skin and that the necessary precautions are factored into your treatment plan.
How Does Retinol Effect Skin After Laser Hair Removal?
Retinoids and retinol are photosensitizing, meaning they make the skin more sensitive to UV light and therefore more susceptible to sunburn, and can cause skin dryness, redness, burning, and stinging. Additionally, retinoids and retinol increase the likelihood of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or dark spots after treatment. Different skin types have different tolerances and reactions to retinoids, so working with a skin specialist as you develop and fine-tune a routine will ensure that you are providing your skin with all of the care it needs to maximize your results.
All of these side effects can be exacerbated if you use laser hair removal soon after using a retinol product because exposing retinol-treated skin to a high-powered light source like a laser can cause serious side effects. Though, with an adequate amount of time between your last retinol application and your laser hair removal treatment, you will not need to worry about these side effects.
Final Thoughts: How To Safely Use Retinoids While Getting Laser Hair Removal Treatments
We understand that everyone’s skincare routine is different. If you have any questions about whether or not you should use a retinol product before your laser hair removal treatment at Body Details, please contact us for a free consultation. There are many different factors including things like your skin type, your history of using retinol, whether or not you have conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, and so on, that our team needs to take into account when developing a treatment plan for you. We want to make sure that you get the most out of your laser hair removal treatment, and that may include temporarily suspending your use of retinol products.
Remember that the only way for us to give you specific advice about how to use retinol and other retinoids is to meet for a consultation and go over the many variables that must be accounted for. However, as a general rule, it is best to avoid using retinoids in the week leading up to your laser hair removal treatment and to stop using them completely after the treatment until the skin has fully healed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you achieve the best possible results from your laser hair removal treatments and look forward to discussing your needs and goals during a free consultation.