Laser hair removal is one of the most popular treatments conducted in med spas and cosmetic dermatology offices. Interesting, because this is not a treatment professionals describe as pampering. No, people do not get laser hair removal because it leaves them feeling blissed-out the way a good massage does; they get laser hair removal because they want to love the look of their skin. As we head into the cooler (ok, nearly frigid!) months, the timing for laser hair removal couldn’t be better. To prepare you for this treatment, we offer a few tips from the pros.
- Shave before each treatment. Laser hair removal professionals advise clients to shave about 24 hours before each session. This can be done with a manual razor or an electric razor. If needed, get help for hard-to-reach places. The reason for shaving is to limit how much heat absorption occurs in each hair follicle. Why do this? Because treatment will be much more comfortable!
- But don’t wax or pluck. Shaving removes hair at the skin. Plucking and waxing pull hair from follicles. We need hair in those follicles for treatment to be successful!
- Arrive for treatment with a make-up free face. That is if you’re having your face treated. Whatever area of the body that is targeted with laser energy should be free of cosmetic products. This is not something to test with your provider; leaving makeup on the skin could lead to burns and discoloration that takes months to fade away.
- See a board-certified professional for laser hair removal. Ideally, laser hair removal would be conducted by a board-certified dermatologist or RN. Laser treatments are commonly performed, but that doesn’t mean they are without risk. A highly trained professional will know just how to set the laser device to get the best results without affecting safety.
- Expect some discomfort. There’s no way to sidestep the fact that laser hair removal can be uncomfortable. Luckily, the average treatment doesn’t last long. However, knowing that there will be sharp, hot zaps that feel similar to continual rubber-band snaps on the skin, a patient has the mindset that will get them through treatment just fine. A few things about pain. One, sensitivity may increase during menstruation. Two, some areas of the body hurt worse than others. Three, most patients say that there are far fewer zaps during subsequent treatments.