Laser hair removal is an effective way to get rid of unwanted hair almost anywhere on the body, with the exception of the eye area. The procedure uses a beam of focused light to target hair follicles through their dark pigment; for this reason, laser hair removal usually works best on individuals with dark hair and light skin, but it isn’t impossible on other complexions.
After the laser is absorbed by the hair follicle, it essentially burns and will fall out over the next couple of weeks. Most patients require multiple sessions over the course of a few months, and see optimal results after the third month.
Laser hair removal is non-invasive and minimally painful—most patients describe the sensation of a rubber band snapping on the skin. Depending on the area(s) being treated, laser hair removal can take as little as 20 minutes; larger areas may require more time. It is important to note that laser hair removal can never be done for the whole body in one sitting; the human body can only be treated with so much laser technology at one time.
Before Laser Hair Removal
While laser hair removal improves the appearance of skin aesthetically, it is important for patients to follow certain procedures prior to treatment. Staying out of the sun is imperative, for at least four weeks before laser hair removal. Being tanned or sunburned upon treatment will result in pigmentation on the areas being treated.
Do not wax hair at least six weeks before treatment. The preservation of the hair follicle, or root, is necessary for laser hair removal to work properly. On the other hand, shaving the day before your procedure is required. Outward growing hair will hinder laser removal and make finding the hair follicle difficult for lasers (and technicians).
Additionally, do not undergo any cosmetic procedures or chemical peels before laser hair removal. These will also make the skin very sensitive. Your technician or doctor will perform a small test patch on you before treatment. This will indicate any reactions you may get, or if your skin type is susceptible to scarring.
After & Recovery
After your laser hair removal treatment, you may notice minor swelling or redness in the treated areas. Apply ice for swelling and a natural aloe gel for any itching. Use a sunscreen of SPF 20 or higher after treatment, as the skin will be very sensitive to any outside elements.
The hair will shed naturally as the follicle falls out from the skin. Hair should fall out naturally for optimal results. Encourage shedding with light exfoliation in a lukewarm shower—a simple shower cloth and mild soap will do the trick. Shaving between treatments will also help to remove dead follicles, do not wax or tweeze after your procedures.
If you see any other specialists, make sure you tell them you are undergoing laser hair removal sessions. For example, some medications or dermatological procedures should not be given to patients.
Skin and hair type will determine how many sessions each person requires for the best results. Stay consistent with your treatment sessions, about every 21 days for three to five months, for the best results. Always remain open and honest with your technician or doctor to avoid complications.
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