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How to Prep Your Skin for Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a minimally invasive process in which hair follicles are destroyed with high-powered pulses of light. Done correctly, it should only cause minimal discomfort and can be far more effective than tweezing, shaving, or waxing and it is a more long-lasting solution. However, while laser hair removal is not an extensive treatment, it does require preparation beforehand to make sure it is as effective as possible. Here are what you need to do to prepare for your laser hair removal treatment.
Laser Hair Removal

Make Sure Your Body Hair’s Follicles Are Intact Ahead of Time

Laser hair removal works because the high-powered light is attracted to the dark melanin of hair follicles. This is the result of darker colors absorbing more light, and the majority of hair melanin is contained in the follicle. Destroying the follicle means removing the hair entirely.

So it’s imperative that you allow the follicles of your body hair to remain as intact as possible before your laser hair removal treatment. Avoid plucking, tweezing, waxing or electrolyzing for at least six weeks before the treatment. Each of these activities can remove the follicles and there may not be enough time for them to grow back before the treatment, rendering laser hair removal less effective.

Avoid Direct Sunlight and Tanning

The amount of time you should stay out of the sun depends on your own skin pigmentation level, but usually a patient needs four to six weeks outside of direct sunlight leading up to a laser hair removal treatment. Sunlight can darken the skin or cause sunburns, both of which can hinder the hair removal process and can lead to complications such as burns, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.

Laser hair removal has few side effects, most of which are minimal and primarily include temporary redness and possible temporary small bumps called follicular irritation in the treated area. Lasers will make you more sun sensitive, increase your chance of a sunburn and increase these side effects, therefore staying out of the sun is a vital step to successful laser hair removal.

The same rules and logic apply to tanning lotions, tanning beds, and other skin-darkening treatments or activities. If a product can change your pigmentation even temporarily, steer clear of it before your treatment.

Shave the Targeted Area before Your Laser Hair Removal

This might seem a little counterintuitive, given the injunctions against waxing, plucking, and tweezing. But laser hair removal targets the pigmentation in the follicle of the hair to destroy it, not the hair itself. If you don’t shave ahead of time, the hair might block the laser pulses from reaching the follicles, thus rendering the laser hair removal ineffective.

Make Sure Care for Your Skin Afterwards

Laser hair removal is not a one-time treatment. It requires regular appointments over the course of a few months to completely remove the hair from a target area. Therefore, it is important before you begin that you also prepare for aftercare. For example, it is advisable to avoid hot showers for at least a week after laser hair removal, and avoid perfume and deodorant for around 48 hours after.

Stocking up on sunscreen is especially important, as your skin will be more vulnerable to UV radiation for at least a few weeks after laser hair removal.

If you feel your body hair is affecting your self-confidence and you think laser hair removal might be the solution, come to the Elizabeth Roche M.D. MedSpa today. Dr. Roche or her Physician Assistant can help you determine your aesthetic goals and whether laser hair is right for you.

Contact us today to learn more and to set up an appointment!