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HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GET LASER HAIR REMOVAL
Razor Blade? Laser, babe.
Laser hair removal treatments use light energy to permanently damage or destroy hair follicles—usually on the legs, back, underarms, or face—with the goal of preventing hair from growing back. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says laser hair removal effectively reduces the amount of hair you have by about 70%. While it may not remove it forever, the hair that grows back is usually much finer and less noticeable.
Because everyone is different, there’s no set rule on how many sessions you’ll need and when you’ll need them. Generally, people have six to eight laser hair removal treatments staggered every four to eight weeks to see results, plus an annual maintenance session.
Different body parts require different schedules, too. We recommend four to six weeks in between laser hair removal treatments for the face and then six to eight weeks for anywhere else on the body. This is because the hair growth cycles on different parts of the body vary.
Supersmooth advises that you stop waxing, tweezing, or plucking hair you want to remove for two to six weeks before your appointment, though shaving is fine.
Your body or facial hair should be in the anagen phase of growth, the phase where the hair is actively growing so the laser can effectively target the melanin in the hair bulb. Because of this, your sessions will be spaced at different intervals to catch just the right phase of growth.
Within 24 hours of your appointment, shave the area that’s being lasered using a clean, new blade. This helps the laser light locate your hair follicles. Stubble, on the other hand, can damage the laser and increase the chance of burning your skin, so timing is key.
You should also avoid UV exposure during the month before your treatment, including that from tanning beds and self-tanning lotions. Intense sun exposure or exposure to UV light in tanning beds before treatment could result in blistering, pigmentation disorders, or scarring. That’s because laser light is attracted to pigment, either in hair follicles or skin.
Avoid caffeine the day of your treatment if you’re prone to nervousness, and reschedule if you’re feeling sick, which can make you more sensitive to pain.
Each treatment may take up to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated. Smaller areas like the upper lip, ears, chin can be treated in less than 10 minutes, while large areas like the back or legs can take up to an hour.
First, Supersmooth will determine what setting is best for your skin and hair, as well as your goals. Tell us about any medications you’re taking, as well as any medical conditions.
The laser equipment will be adjusted to your skin color and hair thickness. You’ll need to put on special eye protection so the laser light doesn’t damage your eyes. We also use a cold gel to protect your skin and help the laser to penetrate.
During the treatment, the laser emits a concentrated beam of light to damage the hair follicle and prevent regrowth. While we methodically treat one small area at a time, you may feel mild warmth as the laser passes over your skin.
When the treatment is done, you will be required to use the aftercare provided to help soothe any irritation.
For a day or two afterward, the treated area of your skin may look and feel like it’s sunburned, so you might need to use cool compresses or a gentle moisturizer. If your face was treated, you can safely wear makeup the next day unless your skin feels irritated.
Take these tips for a smoother recovery:
- Avoid sun exposure. Any time you anticipate being out in the sun, apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.
- Shave to remove any hair between laser sessions, but refrain from threading, waxing, and tweezing. If you’ve decided not to continue with your laser hair removal for the time being, then you can go ahead and use any method to remove hair in the interim.
- For the first few days, avoid perfumes, deodorant (if you’ve lasered your underarms) and hot showers or saunas. Take a cool shower instead.
- It’s common to experience some swelling, itching, and redness after laser hair removal due to irritation of the hair follicles. You may try taking an antihistamine and applying hydrocortisone a few times a day to relieve redness and itching.
- Wait for 24 hours after laser hair removal in the bikini area for the swelling to go down before you have sex.
Most people see a significant reduction in hair after eight treatment sessions. You can expect about a 75-85% once you complete a series of 8 treatments, follow up visits may be needed to treat regrowth and to maintain the results.
With each treatment, the actively growing hair follicle is destroyed. Less blood flows to the follicle, and the hair that does grow back will gradually become weaker and thinner.
While your hair won’t always fall out immediately, it will eventually get there. Some hairs are ejected as soon as they’re lasered, while others can continue to grow and fall out over time.