If you are tired of constantly shaving or scheduling waxing appointments, it may be time to consider an advanced option to reduce hair growth on the face and body. At Advanced Life Clinic in Huntsville, AL, we know that laser hair removal is an ideal treatment for people of all ages, skin types, and skin tones. Learn more about preparation and aftercare guidelines before you schedule your first appointment.
How Do You Prepare for a Laser Hair Removal Session?
To prepare for a laser hair removal session, you will need to follow several preparation guidelines to ensure your skin is in an ideal condition for your laser treatment. Essentially, this means that you are following directions to avoid skin irritation that may delay your treatment. You will need to follow preparation instructions before each of your laser treatment appointments.
Avoid Waxing and Plucking
The biggest guideline to follow is avoiding waxing, plucking, or any other hair removal method that will remove hair from the root of the hair follicle. This is important since laser hair removal treatments can only work when light energy travels down the hair shaft to shock the hair follicle. If you remove hair from the root, you are rendering your laser treatment ineffective, which will delay your results.
Limit Unprotected Sun Exposure
You will need to limit unprotected exposure to sunlight, which may also include tanning beds and self-tanning products since your goal is to avoid triggering melanin production that will create hyperpigmentation. Limiting exposure to the sun will also help you avoid potential skin irritation that will postpone your treatment session.
Discontinue Bleach and Other Products
You will not be able to use bleach and many other chemical products on your hair or skin for at least one to two weeks before your treatment. For example, you should not bleach your skin or bleach any hair in the treatment area, since this will create hypersensitivity and make the laser treatment more difficult. It’s also important to avoid chemicals that can sensitize the skin or cause dryness, which can include AHAs, BHAs, zinc, and retinol.
Shave the Treatment Area
About 48 hours before your treatment, you should shave your desired treatment area. Although your hair does not need to be long for laser treatment to be effective, you do need a small amount of hair growth so the laser system can detect your hair pigment and zap the hair shaft to deliver energy to the hair follicle.
Double-Check Medications and Supplements
You may need to double-check some of the medications and supplements you are taking. If you are using a medication or supplement that has a side effect of causing photosensitivity, you may need to stop using this medication or supplement for at least one week unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Some medications you will need to double-check can include birth control, acne medication, skin-lightening medications, and antibiotics.
Arrive With Freshly Cleansed Skin
Finally, on the day of your treatment, you should arrive at your appointment with freshly cleansed skin. This means you are not wearing any makeup, lotion, serums, or skincare products on any area you want to treat. If you intend to treat the underarms, you should also avoid wearing deodorant on the day of your appointment.
What Should You Do After Your Appointment?
After your laser treatment, you will want to do your best to follow all of your aftercare advice. For example, some people may want to apply a cool compress to the treatment area to soothe the skin during the first 12 to 24 hours. If you are using a compress, be sure to sandwich the ice between fabric so you don’t shock your skin, and do not use the compress for more than 15 minutes at a time. Other things you should do after your appointment include:
Use Prescription Creams
You may be given prescription creams to use after your laser hair removal treatment that will soothe the skin, reduce inflammation, or enhance your desired results. Not everyone will need prescription creams, so be sure to speak with your aesthetic expert about the best topical creams or ointments to use after your laser treatment.
Protect Skin From Sun Exposure
You will need to continue to protect your skin from sun exposure. This is important immediately after laser treatment since your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight and hyperpigmentation. If you have to be outside, it’s best to wear SPF 30 to SPF 50 for the best skin protection. Be sure to read the directions on your sunscreen label so you can know if and when you need to reapply your sunscreen. You may want to wear layers or hats to protect your skin.
Avoid Certain Products
You will also need to avoid using certain products on your skin to reduce the likelihood of hyperpigmentation and hypersensitivity. For example, you should not use deodorant if you have treated the underarm area for at least 24 hours. You will not be able to wear makeup for at least 12 hours and you should not use retinoids or chemicals for at least three to five days.
You will need to continue to avoid self-tanning products, AHAs, BHAs, medications for skin lightening, and other irritating ingredients on the skin. It’s also important to avoid any products that contain fragrance since fragrance is known to irritate the skin.
It’s best to limit exfoliation until at least five to seven days after your treatment. Along with chemical exfoliants, you will need to avoid any sugar or salt scrubs on the skin, rough loofahs, exfoliating soaps, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and much more. By limiting exfoliation during the recovery period, you will ensure your skin recovers from laser treatment quickly.
During your recovery, it’s best to prioritize moisturizing your skin with rich moisturizers. Ideally, you should avoid any moisturizers or body lotions that contain fragrances, dyes, mineral oil, or irritating skincare ingredients. It’s best to find moisturizers that contain shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera.
What Can You Expect From Your Laser Treatment?
Your treatments for laser hair removal will usually take 30 to 60 minutes based on how many areas of the face or body you are treating. Laser treatments are highly customizable to meet the sensitivity of your skin, so your treatment is considered well tolerated. You may have the option of using an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or topical numbing creams at least one hour before your treatment.
Where Can You Use This Treatment?
You can use laser treatments for hair removal on virtually all areas of the face and body. This may include the cheeks, upper lip, chest, back, underarms, forearms, stomach, thighs, and lower legs. Some people may also want to explore the possibility of using certain laser systems to reduce pubic hair growth, such as around the bikini line.
How Many Treatments Are Necessary for Optimal Results?
To achieve optimal results, you will generally need a series of at least three to six treatments. The number of treatments you require for optimal results will depend on several factors, such as:
- Hair color
- Hair density
- Hair thickness
- Treatment location
What Is the Best Treatment Frequency?
The best frequency for your treatments is about once every four to six weeks, depending on your age, skin sensitivity, and how well you respond to the treatment. If you skip an appointment, you will slow the progress of your optimal results, so try to stick to your treatment schedule as well as you can.
Are Results Permanent?
With enough laser treatments, you may be able to achieve permanent results. To maintain your results, you will need to have maintenance appointments every six to 12 months. Over time and after several years, this may result in permanently damaging hair follicles, which will prevent hair growth in the future. However, even without a permanent cessation of hair growth, you will be able to enjoy thinner and sparser hair growth.
Reduce Unwanted Hair Growth
Although body hair is natural, many people find removing body hair with shaving or wax treatments a cumbersome experience. Luckily, laser treatments can effectively remove up to 25% of unwanted body hair during each treatment. If you think laser treatments for hair removal are ideal for your aesthetic goals, reach out to Advanced Life Clinic in Huntsville, AL to schedule your first appointment right away.