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A Guide to Preparing for Laser Hair Removal

Whether you seek laser hair removal to tidy up a few annoying hairy spots or are ready to throw the towel in on shaving and waxing larger areas, laser hair removal is the go-to for getting smooth, flawless skin. But before you lay down for your first appointment, there’s quite a bit of prepping for laser hair removal that needs to be done. To help clear up any confusion, because, hey, these treatments can be tricky, and there’s a lot to unpack, we’re sharing the inside scoop on what to do beforehand so that all goes well.

Understanding Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal permanently destroys the hair and its follicles so the skin is smooth and fuzz-free. It works exceptionally well for eliminating unwanted hair on the face and body from head to toe. Laser hair removal is safe for all skin types and tones, which is why both men and women choose this treatment to permanently get rid of unwanted hair. Like many other laser treatments, several laser hair removal sessions are required to eradicate the hair, and different areas need different treatment sessions. That’s because hair grows at different rates through the phases of the growth cycle, and it can be in various stages of the growth cycle at any time, so multiple sessions are necessary to eliminate all the hair in a treatment area. For the treatment to be effective, the heat emitted from the laser must stunt the hair’s ability to grow, destroying the follicle. 

Choosing a Certified Laser Hair Removal Provider

Just because laser hair removal may not be as invasive as other laser treatments, it’s still important to only seek treatment with a certified laser hair removal provider—this isn’t a service you want just anyone performing. Heat is emitted during the treatment, and the risks can outweigh the benefits if the wrong temperatures or settings are used or if you’re not an ideal candidate for the treatment. Unfortunately, side effects like burns and discoloration can occur when high settings are used, especially in the wrong patients. So, sticking with a certified laser hair removal provider is always the way to go.

What to Expect During Your Treatment

Laser hair removal destroys unwanted hair by emitting a specific wavelength of light to the skin that transfers into heat through the handpiece. As the handpiece glides across the skin, the heat selectively absorbs any pigment (melanin) in the root of the hair and destroys it to reduce hair permanently. Although the treatment is safe, effective and comfortable, the skin is protected with the Dynamic Cooling Device, which sprays the area before each pulse with liquid cryogen coolant, making the treatment very tolerable. Most patients compare the procedure to the feeling of a rubber band snapping on the skin with a tingling sensation that quickly passes. After a session, the skin may be pink or red and warm to the touch for a few hours.

Preparing for Laser Hair Removal: What to Do

There are a few things to do to prepare for laser hair removal to ensure the best results possible. 

  • Shave the area: You must shave the area that will be treated on the day of your appointment, maximum 10 hours before. The root of the hair should be visible so that the laser can pick up the pigment. Shaving reduces the chance of burns since most hair is below the skin’s surface.
  • Don’t wax, pluck, or tweeze: The follicle must be intact for laser hair removal to be effective. Waxing and tweezing the hair to prep for laser hair removal can remove too much hair and compromise the results.
  • Avoid tanning: You want the skin to be at its natural color during laser hair removal so as not to fool the device. That means no self-tanning or tanning of any kind. Artificially tanned areas of skin can lead to discoloration.
  • Stay hydrated and well rested: If you’re stressed out and nervous about laser hair removal, it will be more difficult for you to get through the treatment than if you relax. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and drink plenty of water so that the skin can recover quickly.

Another essential piece of advice in preparing for laser hair removal is to show up to your appointment with clean, bare skin without creams, lotions, perfumes, or makeup. Avoid wearing skincare products in the treatment area, too, which could compromise the results. Also, avoid using benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinol for at least two to three days before treatment (and wait a few days before using them again). 

Following the proper protocol to prepare for laser hair removal will help ensure a pleasant experience and optimal results.