Laser Hair Removal Basics
Effective hair removal via laser requires 6-8 sessions. Why so many? Only about 30% of our hair is in “growth phase” at any given time. Because the laser only treats those “active” hairs, only 30% of hair is treated at a time. Only the visible hair can be treated with the laser at each session. After 6-8 treatments, most of the hair in the treated area has been eliminated. There is no 100% guarantee and every patient is different. Sarah will carefully note your progression and let you know if you need fewer or more treatments for full clearance.
Should I Avoid Shaving My Legs Before Laser Hair Removal?
Not at all. In fact, the treatment is best done on shaved skin. We advise that you not pluck, wax, bleach or use a depilatory (i.e., Nair) on your skin for six weeks prior to your treatment.
Should I Avoid the Sun Prior to Laser Hair Removal?
Yes! You must avoid sun exposure and spray tanning for 1 month before your laser hair removal treatment. The reason: Tan skin requires lower laser settings, which can reduce the effectiveness.
Do Laser Treatments Aggravate Cold Sores?
Individuals who tend to develop oral cold sores (Herpes simplex type 1), are often given a prescription for Valtrex or similar anti-vital drug, to avoid an outbreak that may be indirectly caused by laser treatments on the face. This is generally only an issue for patients undergoing laser skin rejuvenation, not laser hair removal. If you have any concerns about this issue, talk to Sarah and Dr. Elluru when you schedule your appointment.
Skincare Products, Lotions, Deodorants
On the day of your laser hair removal appointment, don’t use lotions, makeup or deodorant on any areas that to be treated. If you’re coming from work, you can wash off those items before the treatment. You can apply makeup immediately after your treatment, if you wish. Just be careful not to irritate your lasered skin when you remove the makeup later.
If you use Retin-A, hydroquinone and/or Retinol products, they should be discontinued 3 days prior to treatment. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you can resume their use about 3-5 days after your laser hair removal treatment.
What to Expect After a Laser Hair Removal Treatment
Although laser hair removal isn’t painful, there is a bit of discomfort during the treatment itself, and minor swelling and redness in the treated area after the procedure. The swelling usually goes away within a few hours, and the redness may linger for 2-3 days. The treated area may feel a bit like a sunburn for a few hours. Applying ice packs and/or aloe vera gel can minimize both swelling and redness, and cool your skin. Most patients do not develop blisters after laser hair removal. However, if you have very sensitive skin and you notice any blisters, notify us immediately.
During the course of your 6-8 treatments, we advise that you avoid direct sun exposure on the treated skin. Don’t scratch or pick at the skin or use any hair removal products like depilatories, waxes or electrolysis. Doing so irritates the hair follicles. You can shave between treatments, however.
To lessen the risk of irritating your tender underarm skin, use baby powder (cornstarch) under your arms for the first 24 hours after each treatment instead of applying deodorant.
When Will My Hair Grow Back?
About 1-2 weeks after treatment, you’ll notice the hair in the treated area(s) starting to shed. Just wash or wipe the area with a Loofah, sponge or wet washcloth, but don’t rub too hard, as it will irritate your skin. You will see new hair growth in the treated area(s) in about 3 weeks post-treatment. Again, it’s OK to shave this new hair, but do not use depilatories, waxes or electrolysis.
How Far Apart Should I Schedule Laser Hair Removal Treatments?
For facial hair removal, schedule your appointments at 4-week intervals. For body areas, schedule every 6 weeks. Please note that varying from the schedule will affect your results. Laser Hair Removal is an excellent option if you have unwanted facial or body hair. Call our office and schedule an appointment with Sarah to discuss laser hair removal.