What to Know Before Getting a Laser Hair Removal Procedure

Are you interested in finally visiting a laser hair removal center to try your hand at a different method of removing unwanted body hair? While you might think that this procedure can’t possibly be that complicated or require a set of intricate steps prior to and following the procedure, this is not necessarily the case.

So, what exactly are the important steps you will need to follow when preparing for laser hair removals? We’ve got all the details on what you need to know in advance of your appointment.  

Cleaning Skin and Taking Off Makeup

Before arriving for your appointment, it is very important that you have freshly showered or bathed with completely clean skin. Refrain from smothering your skin with lotions, oils, creams or fragrances of any kind before coming in.

It is also important for you to shave the treatment area completely before arriving to the treatment center. Clients are also asked to shave about 24 hours before their appointments. For cases where you are going in for hair removal that involves facial hair, you might opt for using a device that allows for close-to-skin trimming rather than a razor.

While you are asked to shave, there are hair removal methods you should not use at all – whether this is prior to, or after your session. These methods include waxing, tweezing, epilating or using chemical depilatories of any kind.

Marisa Garshick, M.D., of Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City says that while shaving is requested, “it’s essential you avoid tweezing or waxing prior to laser hair removal as the laser actually targets the pigment of the hair follicle itself, so if it’s gone the laser won’t be effective. Each session targets a percentage of the hairs at different growth cycles.”

What Should I Do Prior to And in Between Sessions?

In between your hair removal sessions, one of the most important things to avoid is any sun exposure or UV tanning bed exposure to the treatment area. You should especially avoid these things for two weeks prior to the treatment. To avoid any UV to the specified area, consider using a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or above on a daily basis.

Clients are also typically advised not to use any topical products in the treatment area that cause photosensitivity such as hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide. Instead, you can opt for a gentle cleanser and lotion on treated areas.

What Should I Expect Post-Treatment?

In the immediate aftermath of the treatment it is normal to experience redness and swelling in the treatment area. If you experience pain similar to a razor burn or sunburn you might consider purchasing over-the-counter hydrocortisone or aloe vera to help alleviate redness, pain and irritation.

Over the next two weeks, any hair in the treated area will slowly shed and may even be patchy though this will dissipate as you complete your laser hair removal treatment series. It is especially important during this time to take proper care in the post-treatment period because if you don’t this could result in an increased chance of scarring, pigmentation changes and skin texture changes.

Improper care also includes exposing the skin to excessive sun or heat by immersing the skin in hot tubs or saunas, using UV tanning beds, and working out for 24 hours in the sun after laser hair removal treatment.

While there are a number of important steps to follow as you prepare for a laser hair removal procedure, as long as you follow these necessary measures in advance of, during and following your session, you are likely to get the results you are looking for.