Laser Hair Removal: Preparation and Aftercare
In many Western cultures, excessive body hair is considered to be unsightly and unattractive. That’s evidenced by the more than 99 percent of American women who voluntarily get rid of body hair.
Given how deeply ingrained our opinions are about body hair, it’s no surprise that the global hair removal market is predicted to be valued at $1.35 billion by 2022. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s possible to reduce unwanted hair on nearly any part of the body. Laser hair removal can certainly improve both your appearance and your confidence levels, but you’ll need to know what to expect before undergoing this procedure.
In order to obtain the best results for this, here’s what you’ll need to know for both the before and after of laser hair removal.
Preparation for laser hair removal
Prior to undergoing treatments for laser hair removal in Westchester, you’ll meet with your aesthetician or dermatologist to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have. You should be sure to inquire about potential side effects, costs, and the number of treatments that may be required to achieve your desired results. You’ll also want to inform your provider about your medical history, including any medications you may be taking.
For example, taking isotretinoin (also known as Accutane) for severe acne may be a major concern due to increased skin sensitivity. Your provider may instruct you to avoid taking certain medications (including over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicines) or you may need to reevaluate the timing of your treatment due to your medications list. If you tend to scar or have had cold sores, you’ll want to provide this information too.
Your provider will give you instructions to follow in preparation for your treatment. Typically, you need to severely limit your sun exposure for at least six weeks before this procedure and make sure to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) each day. You should not use a tanning bed or even use sunless tanning products. Some providers may recommend a skin lightener to some patients.
In addition, you need to refrain from using other hair removal techniques for at least a month before your treatment. That means you’ll have to discontinue shaving, waxing, plucking, or electrolysis to avoid disturbing your hair follicles. However, you may be instructed to trim or shave hair in the treatment area the day prior to your treatment. You may also need to discontinue your use of anti-aging products prior to this procedure, as the active ingredients in these products may cause irritation. Chemical peels and other laser treatments should also be avoided.
On the day of your treatment, cleanse the area being treated and be sure not to apply any cosmetics or lotions. You may want to wear loose fitting clothing to your procedure or garments that easily expose the area being treated.
Aftercare for laser hair removal
In most cases, you’ll require two to six treatments in total. You may have to repeat treatments in a shorter span of time if you’re targeting an area that experiences more rapid hair growth. For example, you may need to have a treatment on your upper lip every four to eight weeks, but hair removal treatment on the back may only need to take place every three to four months.
Depending on the area of the body being treated, your procedure might take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. You will need to follow the recommendations of your aesthetician or dermatologist after each treatment.
You may experience some swelling and/or redness within a few hours of laser hair removal. This is normal, but it can be uncomfortable. Applying ice or a cool compress to the affected area may reduce the swelling and discomfort. A doctor may be able to recommend a steroid cream, should you experience an immediate reaction.
Do not exercise or perform any physical exertion within two hours of your procedure. During the first week after your treatment, you should take lukewarm (not hot) showers and avoid going in hot tubs and saunas. Swimming should also be avoided for the first few days after treatment. Within the first two days following treatment, you should avoid the use of deodorant, perfumes, and/or cosmetics (depending on the area being treated).
You should continue to use your broad-spectrum sunscreen each day and avoid sun exposure from both natural sources and from tanning beds. If you need to remove hair between treatments, you can opt to shave — you should not pluck, tweeze, or wax this hair, however. You should gently exfoliate the area being treated with a washcloth or loofah sponge a few times per week to prevent ingrown hairs. For those who undergo laser hair removal on their legs, boots may not be worn right after treatments are performed.
For many people, laser hair removal is a quicker and more complete way to get rid of unwanted body hair. When this procedure is performed by an experienced provider, the results are both safe and astounding. If you’re tired of hiding your natural hair growth, talk to your aesthetician, dermatologist, or doctor about the possibility of undergoing laser hair removal treatments to restore your self-esteem and achieve your desired aesthetic.